‘We could have built something special’: Revisiting the rise and fall of the Buffalo Braves through the eyes of two legends

Ernie​ DiGregorio​ feels right at​ home​ at​ the Holiday Inn​ Express in​ downtown Buffalo. As he moves​ from​ one end​​ of the lobby to the other, he shouts a boisterous “hello” at the security guard at the front entrance, and then chats briefly with a member of the cleaning staff. By the time the 67-year-old former Buffalo Brave, known fondly as “Ernie D,” makes his way over to the table and sits down, he’s beaming.

“I love Buffalo,” he says, needing to explain his giddiness. “The people here are so warm and so friendly, and they love their athletes. Buffalo is like my second home.”

In between sips of black coffee and bites of an English muffin, DiGregorio says he comes back to Buffalo quite often. Sometimes, it’s to make an appearance and sign autographs at a local sports memorabilia store. Other times, it’s to scout basketball talent from Western New York-area colleges for his side gig with R1 Sports Mgnt, a local sports agency.

“I love it,” DiGregorio says of his work as a scout. “When you do something that’s fun and you know it really well, you enjoy it. And I know the game.” He slides his half-eaten English muffin aside, brushes off his hands and grins.

“Alright,” he says. “Let’s talk about the Braves.”

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