Candaele Tabbed as 22nd Manager in Buffalo Bisons' History
Photo Courtesy of the Buffalo Bisons
BROCKPORT, N.Y. --- For Buffalo Bisons fans, the name Casey Candaele should sound familiar. The 60-year-old was a key player for the Bisons back in the late 1990s, winning the 1997 AA Championship over the Iowa Cubs. But the nine-year veteran is back with the herd, as he was officially named the 22nd manager in team history Thursday afternoon.
Candaele opened Thursday's press conference by reminiscing on his time in Buffalo, which he says was a rewarding experience.
"I had a great time in Buffalo and was treated tremendously. I have not been back in a while, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and I'm looking forward to getting back and being the manager of the Bisons," Canadele said.
Looking at the history of the team, Canadele will look to bring new energy to Buffalo. The Bisons have struggled as of late and have not made the playoffs since the 2005 season. But Canadele hopes to flip the script and turn the Bisons into a winning atmosphere.
"It is about developing players and getting them to the big leagues, but we have great players, and it's our job to develop them into winning players also," he said.
Canadele knows about success in a Bisons uniform. In 1996, Candaele was named an American Association All-Star, after hitting .311 with 66 runs scored in 94 games. But the former utility player says he remembers Buffalo like it was yesterday.
Candaele during his playing days with the Buffalo Bisons (Photo Courtesy of the Buffalo Bisons)
"I enjoyed hanging out with Buster Bison a lot. But the fanbase and people that were backing the Bisons was great, and it was such a friendly atmosphere," Candaele said with a chuckle.
Once the season starts, a piece that needs some fine-tuning is Buffalo's pitching staff. In 2018-2019, Buffalo's pitching staff was fifth in runs allowed (738) and tied for third in walks (529), according to MiLB.com.
Paired with not having last season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be tough sledding for all minor league ball clubs. But the former big-leaguer knows his pitching staff is full of professional athletes who are honest.
"We are just trying to get them back in the groove and build them up their stamina to get on the mound. We monitor these guys and talk about what they are doing in the offseason,.and hopefully, they are straight up and honest with us," Candaele said.
Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the newly formed Triple-A East will start a month later than expected. If all goes to plan, Candaele will make his Bisons managerial debut on May 4th against the Worcester Red Sox.