BUFFALO, N.Y. — There’s been plenty of talk about the Buffalo Bisons’ new mascot before the Herd had their home opener Thursday, but that wasn’t the only new star at the stadium.

Up in the broadcast booth, Pat Malacaro called his first home game as lead announcer.

A passion born nearly 20 years ago, when a high school kid from South Buffalo landed a summer job at the ballpark, this job is a dream come true.

“I had an aunt who worked in the front office. She put in a call and they needed an extra bat boy. So I bat boy'ed a couple of games. And that turned into every game the following couple of summers,” Malacaro said.

From bat boy to the broadcast booth.

There were internships with the Herd during college and seven years working on the radio team before he got the call this spring when Ben Wagner was called up to the big leagues in Toronto. Now Malacaro is working with Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Duke McGuire.

“It's not crazy because I've worked so hard for it. It's crazy because the journey's finally concluding,” Malacaro said of his journey.

Or maybe it's just getting started.  Malacaro is the fourth play-by-play man in the Bisons modern era. The previous three are all currently broadcasting for major league sports teams.

“This is sort of my big leagues because I grew up here and I take on that responsibility,” he said.

A homerun for the hometown kid.