Few people walking into Coca-Cola Field are as excited as Pat Malacaro.
“There’s nothing like standing in a silent, empty ballpark,” said Malacaro, looking out at the tarp-covered diamond at Coca-Cola Field. “This was always the goal.”
This South Buffalo-born guy is making himself right at home in the Bisons’ broadcast booth.
“For me, this is my major leagues,” said the newest voice of the minor league team. “Growing up here, this is something I aspired to and wanted.”
Malacaro has been called up to call games for the Buffalo Bisons. He started his career in Batavia, calling for the Muckdogs. His time with the Bisons began long before the homeopener, though. He served as a batboy for the team in 1999, interned for them when he was a student at Syracuse University. Both of those experiences helped him fall in love with both baseball and broadcasting.
“I like to tell stories. When you listen to games on the radio, you feel like you’re a part of the booth; like you’re there with the play-by-play caller and color commentator. That’s what I like most”
The herd’s newest broadcasting member heads into the ballpark and booth hours before the first pitch is thrown out. He spends about four hours each day preparing for the game, writing up game notes, making time to mingle with the players, making sure he knows the stats and stories for every team member.
“When you get a job in this capacity, there are a lot of expectations.”
He knows he has big shoes to fill. The former Bisons PBP caller, Ben Wagner, is now the voice of the Toronto Blue Jays. Wagner and Malacaro have been friends for a while.
“I think we’re closer now than ever.”
He says he isn’t sure what’s next – he likes to make goals and this was his big one. For now, he’s focusing his energy and attention on this ballpark, team, and season.
“To be able to tell stories, talk to fans – that’s what I get nervous about; [about] not bringing the best broadcast forward and hoping to do that every game.”