It was the ballpark that truly opened the retro era in ballpark, presaging Oriole Park by five years: Coca-Cola Field, home of the Buffalo Bisons (Class AAA; International League), turns 25 this season.
Oriole Park will get a lot of press this season, marking its 20th anniversary and rightly being hailed as the first retro ballpark in the major leagues, the inspiration for many new ballparks built in the modern era. But before Oriole Park Populous designed a gem of a ballpark in downtown Buffalo, a facility that took its design inspirations from the past and updated a brick-and-mortar feel for the modern era. Cradled in a downtown niche and looking like it had been there for 100 years, Pilot Field was a breathtaking, groundbreaking ballpark, one that both saved baseball in Buffalo (remember dreary days at War Memorial Stadium?) and served as a blueprint for baseball design for the next quarter decade.
Since then, Coca-Cola Field has been updated to meet the expectations of fans — between suite updates, new scoreboards and a party deck, the place is still a major attraction for baseball fans and casual observers as well.
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