BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A TikTok user and sports fan, who investigates obscure sports clips that appear in the background of TV shows and films, recently discovered that a scene from a season five episode of “The Office” features a clip that is likely from a 1992 Buffalo Bisons-Louisville Redbirds game.
Ian Araujo creates TikTok videos about sports and has gained recognition for breaking down his step-by-step process of determining where these “background” sporting events took place.
He has investigated a variety of sporting events in shows including “Daredevil,” “Suits” and “The Sopranos.” He’s also sleuthed the origin of a soccer game that appeared in the movie “Black Widow” and a basketball game from a Buffalo Wild Wings commercial.
The “Office” episode in question for his latest video is season five, episode one, “Weight Loss.” In a scene showing John Krasinski’s Jim visiting Jenna Fischer’s Pam at art school, Jim watches baseball in the common room of Pam’s dorm, while Pam consoles a fellow resident.
The game displays Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks in the score bug, but that was determined to be a detail that was added in by people working on the show, rather than a legitimate detail from the original clip.
Stephen Nesbitt of The Athletic joined Araujo to document the rigorous process he uses to investigate these niche sports moments for his page.
Araujo and Nesbitt first picked apart what they knew: from the logos on the hats, to the numbers on the players’ jerseys, to the all-red seats in the stands.
After a long investigation, Araujo determined it was a June 2, 1992 game between the Bisons and Redbirds at what was then Pilot Field. The Bisons were the Pittsburgh Pirates’ AAA affiliate at the time, while the Redbirds — who now go by the name Louisville Bats — were the St. Louis Cardinals affiliate.
The Redbirds prevailed in that game, 4-1.
At the end of Araujo’s analysis, Araujo said he was 99% confident it was the right game, according to Nesbitt. Though Nesbitt said he still wanted to exhaust every option to prove or disprove it was the game.
Long sleeves, bunting on the walls and players’ heights were called into question, but at the end of Nesbitt’s extended investigation, in which he consulted Michael Schur, producer for “The Office,” among others, it was determined the Bisons-Redbirds game in ’92 was likely still the right answer.
Araujo concluded the TikTok by asking the Bisons, the Bats and/or Minor League Baseball to release the footage — if they have it.
The Louisville Redbirds replied to the TikTok. “Unfortunate news…we don’t have the tapes,” they said.
The Bisons told News 4 Araujo’s breakdown of the footage was impressive, and also commented on the TikTok, saying, “brb going to check the archives.”
Even the account belonging to “The Office” replied with a shocked face emoji.
The Bisons also confirmed the team was part of a program that made content available for network shows to use, meaning it is entirely likely it could be a Bisons game.
We already know Jim owns a Wegmans Shoppers Club card (S7, E24) and got married at Niagara Falls (S6, E 4-5), but watching a Bisons game might just solidify the character as a Western New York enthusiast.