Thursday, December 20, 2007


After a mere 11 years, the city of Buffalo finally is starting to figure out how to get rid of Memorial Auditorium.

It announced that some of the blue seats will go on sale to the public next summer, as well as some other, to be determined items. The place has been sitting empty since HSBC Arena opened in the fall of 1996. Now that the Bass Pro development apparently is set (note the word apparently), our city fathers have decided it is safe to tear the place down within the next two years.

And that raises a fundamental question. Should I buy a couple of the seats?

Hmmm. That's a tough one.

I grew up as a sports fan in Memorial Auditorium. I saw the Buffalo Braves there. The Buffalo Sabres. Canisius College basketball. The Buffalo Stallions soccer team. I saw Roberto Duran fight there, Ernie Ladd wrestle there, John McEnroe volley there. Heck, I saw Joanie Weston take part in a Roller Derby match there.

And that doesn't even cover the concerts: Bruce Springsteen, the Police, U2, Genesis, Rush, Yes, INXS, Bob Segar, Huey Lewis and the News, Elton John, Billy Joel, Diana Ross (sister's idea), Emerson Lake & Palmer (my idea), etc. One time on my way out of work, Roger Waters was rehearsing for that night's concert. So I sat down at 10th row center ice and watched the band go through a complete version of "Money" from "Dark Side of the Moon." I was an audience of one.

And I even worked there for six years. After 16 years of attending and covering events there, I worked for the Sabres and had a key to the side door. (Interestingly enough, the Sabres never asked for the key when I left. I was honest enough to leave it on my desk while departing.) Then I went back to journalism, and covered games there for four more years.

So owning seats to the place would be, at the least, fun. But, another question quickly follows.

What would I do with them? I don't have a classic rec room where they could be displayed. They would sit in the basement, unused and unseen. That would be a bit of a waste of money.

So I think I'll sit out of the Aud souvenir sale. But I do have one item from the place stashed away. The press box had little plastic squares with seat numbers on them, as there were no individual chairs up there. On the night of the last hockey game in the Aud, which I covered, I brought a screwdriver and took my seat number, #35, with me.

Has the statute of limitations run out for that little bit of larceny yet?