BUFFALO, N.Y.- Life can seem empty at times, but when you fill it with friends and family, "home" is where the Herd is.
In the words of Buffalo Bisons second baseman Jim Negrych: "If I'm playing in the minor leagues, there's not a better place for me personally to play than here."
Negrych has played in front of thousands of Minor League fans over the years, but for the first time since high school, the Buffalo native has another form of home field advantage.
"I know my family's gonna be here almost every night."
"It's nice for his sisters Stacie and Darcy and all the grand children. We have eight grand children and they attend a lot of the games," adds Jim's father, Jim.
"They're out there with their Negrych shirts on and cheering 'come one uncle Jimmy'," says Jim's mother, Verna.
Section 102 has its eyes on number five and Negrych has his eyes on the prize.
"You're so concentrated on what you have to do that you don't really think about anything else."
Negrych was a 2-time all American at Pittsburgh before the Pirates drafted him in 2006. Since then, he's battled injury, self-doubt and multiple stints in the Minor Leagues.
"I think there's a reason why he's still playing baseball," recalls Jim's father. "Why he didn't give up. There's plenty of times he could've gave up. He had surgery. He got hurt a couple times."
As Negrych puts it, "Sometimes you're just like, 'Is this ever gonna work out? What am I doing?'. Those thoughts come and go, though. Usually, it's when you're not going good on the field. You're like, what is going on. Then you have a good game and you're like, 'Ah, alright, I can do this."
Negrych ended up back in Buffalo after Blue Jays spring training, but he still waits for that one all too elusive phone call.
"I think I can play at that level, but I don't know how close I am."
Hard to imagine someone can play much better. Through the first six weeks of the season, Negrych had a batting average near .430.
Negrych says his hitting coach at Spring Training slightly altered his swing. Now, it's up to him to alter his future.
"You can't change the past. You can't see the future, so I'm gonna live right now and go out there and try to be the best player I can today and tomorrow I'm gonna try to be the best player I can be tomorrow."