ValleyCats GM Rick Murphy and Assistant GM Matt Callahan are in Florida this week for the New York-Penn League meetings and their day on Wednesday was spent at the MiLB Offices in St. Petersburgh for “Minor League Baseball University.”
Matt Callahan provided this recap of the day with pictures to follow:
The Minor League Baseball home office provides support for each of the 160 minor league affiliates that make up the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues. This support includes providing informational resources on the trademarks, licensing, rules/regulations and the history of Minor League Baseball. The MiLB home office also focuses heavily on maintaining and strengthening the relationship with Major League Baseball.
Minor League Baseball University is an educational program for club executives. Today’s session included topics such as Rules & Regulations, Baseball Operations, Professional Baseball Umpire Corp, Licensing & Trademarks, Communication, and Marketing.
Presenters included Pat O’Conner, President of Minor League Baseball, Tim Purpura, Executive VP and COO of MiLB, Scott Poley, Sr. VP Legal Affairs, and Tina Gust VP Business Development.
Each of the 14 N.Y.P.L. teams had at least one representative on hand to take the course. We also received a tour of the facility. It was a great opportunity to share ideas and also here about some of the challenges that other MiLB teams are facing.
This morning, ValleyCats Business Development Manager Joel Pagliaro was a guest speaker during the Rensselaer County Youth Summit at the Italian Community Center in Troy. He spoke in front of local youth groups from different middle and high schools around the county. County Executive Kathy Jimino was the MC for the event, which included guest speakers such as captain of the RPI Hockey team John Kennedy and Fly92 radio personality Brian Cody.
School groups from Averill Park, Algonquin Middle School, Berlin, Catholic Central, Doyle Middle School, East Greenbush, Hoosick Falls, Lansingburgh, Rensselaer and Schodak all had presentations as well.
The message was simple…you can still have fun without the need to drink and do drugs.
Here is Jimino’s introduction:
RPI Hockey Captain John Kennedy:
Joel spoke about a new program the ValleyCats will be helping with called “Join The Crowd”, a drug free awareness program that will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
The Troy Record put together a video piece on the event as well:
Preparations are underway to host the San Francisco Giants 2010 World Series Trophy here at “The Joe” next Thursday, May 5 (Cinco De Mayo!). It will be on display from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. just inside the main gates. We encourage everyone to get here early in order to guarantee a photo with the trophy.
Keeping with the ‘Cats tradition of fun, there will plenty to see other than the World Series trophy, including old artifacts representing the roots of the Giants franchise. Musical entertainment and refreshments are also in the works. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.
The San Francisco Giants will be in New York playing the Mets leading up to the trophy visit and we were told the trophy will be with the team, in their clubhouse, before heading up to Troy on Thursday. Following the Troy stop, the trophy will then head to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It will be on display there from May 7-8.
With the ’4 in 24′ project completed, back to the “Up On The Farm” reports. Let’s fill you in on what’s been going on the past week.
One of the big headlines came when 2010 ‘Cats Chris Wallace and Telvin Nash, the Legends 3 and 4 hitters, combined to go 10 for 12 with 3 homers a piece. You can read the complete story here.
The Lexington Legends (7-6) defeated the Savannah Sand Gnats by a final score of 2-0.
Brian Streilein (’10) threw 3 innings in relief to get this first save of the year. He only gave up one hit and struck out three.
Notable statistics for the last ten games:
Chris Wallace (’10): .405, 4 HR, 16 RBI
Telvin Nash (’10): .333, 4 HR, 8 RBI
Adam Bailey (’10): .355, 3 HR, 8 RBI
Tyler Burnett (’10): 6 for 18, HR, 2 RBI
Ben Orloff (’09-’10) has seen limited playing time so far this season, but in the four games he has seen action, Orloff is 4 for 14 with a double and three runs scored.
Carlos Quevedo (’10) has his second appearance of the year this past Saturday and improved to 2-0 on the season, despite somewhat of a shaky start. Quevedo’s line: 5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, BB, 2 K
Last night, the Lancaster Jethawks (7-6) won their second straight game scoring in the double digits both times.
Robert Donovan (1-1) (’09) got the win throwing 6 innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 earned runs while striking out nine.
Jake Goebbert (’09), Austin Wates (’10) and Ben Heath (’10) all drilled home runs in Lancaster’s eight-run 7th inning. Goebbert’s was a two-run blast, Wates’ a three-run shot and Heath a two-run homer. Goebbert and teammate Kody Hinze are now tied for the league lead in home runs with five. In his last ten games, Goebbert is batting .324 with 12 RBIs.
Last Friday, Jake Buchanan (’10) had his second stellar start of the season and is now 2-0 on the year. Buchanan’s line: 8 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 5 K
The Corpus Christi Hooks (4-8) defeated Northwest Arkansas 5-3.
James Van Ostrand (’06) went 2 for 3 with a double and a RBI. Andy Simunic (’08) had a triple in the game.
J.D. Martinez (’09) leads the Texas League in RBIs with 18 and is currently batting .341 with 2 HRs.
Wladimir Sutil (’05) currently leads the Hooks staff with a .418 batting average. Amazingly enough, that’s only good for 4th in the league.
The Oklahoma City Redhawks (4-8) lost 6-2 last night against the Astros former Triple-A affiliate Round Rock.
Tommy Manzella (’05) was a perfect 3 for 3 and in his last ten games is batting .382 with 8 runs and 7 RBIs.
Koby Clemens (’05) has 8 RBIs and 2 HRs in his last ten games.
J.B. Shuck (’08) is 14 for his last 33 (.424).
Jordan Lyles (’08) had his third start of the season on Monday and fell to 0-2. His ERA currently stands at 7.07. Lyles’ line: 6 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, HR, 2 BB, K
“Up In The Bigs” Report:
Last night the Houston Astros (6-11) defeated the New York Mets by a final score of 6-1. Hunter Pence (’04) was 0 for 4 and Chris Johnson (’06) was 0 for 5. Johnson is only batting .189 so far this season.
Bud Norris (’05) gets the start against the Mets in the second game of the series tonight. Norris had a very impressive performance in his last outing where he threw six innings, gave up only two hits and struck out seven.
From the archives: 2006 New York-Penn League Finals-Tri-City ValleyCats vs. Staten Island Yankees.
Cutting out the entire infield grass, raking and grading the dirt, leveling the playing surface, laying out brand new grass and rebuilding the entire pitchers mound and home plate areas. That was the just the major work done as part of our 4 in 24 project. Other work included raking, painting, weed whacking, bullpen work, and laying stabilizer on the infield dirt.
All of that…done to four fields…in 21 hours. A remarkable feat.
Part of our mission as the Capital Region’s professional baseball team is to act as a steward for the game. The 4 in 24 project was a great way to further this initiative by giving back to the community that has supported us since 2002. It was an amazing team-building experience for our staff and we could not have completed this ambitious undertaking without the help of our corporate partners, Price Chopper, CDTA, Friendly’s, and the Brickman Group.
The biggest challenge that we faced was the sheer size of this project. The ValleyCats organization has renovated a number of fields over the years but completing four within twenty four hours required a well-coordinated effort and a lot of coffee. Each of the leagues and sponsors provided volunteers that were crucial in moving things along. They assisted with the sod as well as other projects ranging from raking leaves to painting the dugouts.
Even the kids who would be playing on these brand new fields chipped in. It was such a humbling sight to see so many people come together, work together and make such a huge difference.
We broke our staff up into two different crews that started the project simultaneously at 5:00 AM in Westland Hills and Ballston Spa, respectively. The first step was to remove the old turf in the infield with a sod cutter. Once that was up, the infields were graded and leveled before the new sod was laid. This will provide the players with a safer and more consistent playing surface.
While this was going on, other members of our staff began re-building the pitchers mound and home plate areas to league specifications. This included installing new clay to get these areas up to professional standards. The bases were also remeasured and set with new anchors.
The crew at Westland Hills had some equipment issues that slowed things down but ultimately finished up around 5:00 PM and made the trip to Collins Park in Scotia. The Ballston Spa group arrived at Northside Little League, their second field, a bit earlier and began work there at 3:00 PM.
Fatigue became a major factor at the second fields. There was a lot of hard work put into the first fields and people were becoming physically exhausted. It was impressive to see everyone push aside the aches and pains to complete the project. The weather cooperated during the day but was chilly when we started at 5:00 AM on Friday and even colder when everything wrapped up after 2:00 AM Saturday morning.
Ultimately, it was a very rewarding experience and exciting to think about how many young ballplayers will benefit from these upgrades.
’4 in 24′ by the numbers:
Four fields, 21 hours, over 100 volunteers, 15,200 square feet of new sod, 8 wheel barrels, 16 flat shovels, 16 pointed shovels, 16 scoop shovels, 20 infield rakes, 12 leaf rakes, 12 stone rakes, 12 tamp’s, 12 string lines, 4 pitch forks, 8 hoses, 8 hammers, 8 sheet rock knives, 2 light towers, 3 skid steer’s, 2 rollers, 2 aerator’s, 4 edgers, 2 roto tiller’s, 4 sod cutters, 2 laser levels, 2 compactor’s, 4 homeplate tarp’s, 4 mound tarps, 4 homeplates & 4 pitching rubbers.
In closing, Time Warner Cable’s TW3 will be featuring the ’4 in 24′ project in an upcoming mini-documentary special called “In & Around Our Towns”, and FOX23 will feature it on an upcoming episode of “In the Spotlight.”
Below are the before & after pictures of each field, followed by more memorable photos from throughout the 21 hours and a link to the entire album of pictures. Special thanks goes out to Dan Carubia for snapping some of the great photographs.
Snapshots from throughout the day & night:
For the complete ’4 in 24′ photo album, please click here.
The time has finally arrived….’4 in 24′ is here! Beginning at 5 a.m. Friday morning, the renovation will begin across four youth baseball fields in the Capital Region and will all be completed within 24-hours.
ValleyCats staff members, volunteers from each league and from our four sponsors, Friendly’s, Price Chopper, CDTA and The Brickman Group, will all pitch in throughout the course of the day.
Below is the timeline of scheduled events…We will be providing updates around the clock at Twitter.com/ValleyCats.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Friday, April 15:
5 a.m. - Crew call at Westland Hills in Albany & Ballston Spa Jr. Baseball League.
5:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. - Work will begin and includes removing old sod and laying new sod, leveling the infield, square and straightening the baselines and rebuilding the mound and home plate areas.
11:00 a.m. – Press Conference at Westland Hills in Albany
Rick Murphy, VP/General Manager, Tri-City ValleyCats
Matt Callahan, Assistant General Manager, Tri-City ValleyCats
Ryan Panarese, Branch Manager, The Brickman Group
Jonathan Scherzer, Director of Marketing, CDTA
Bill Chiccarelli, Field Marketing Manager, Friendly’s
Mona Golub, VP of Public Relations/Consumer Services, Price Chopper
Michael Patnaude, President, Westland Hills
2 p.m. – Crew call at Northside Little League in Schenectady and Scotia-Glenville Little League in Scotia.
2:30 p.m.– Completion- Work will begin and includes removing old sod and laying new sod, leveling the infield, square and straightening the baselines and rebuilding the mound and home plate areas.
Saturday, April 16:
5:30 a.m. - Finishing touches will be made to Northside Little League in Schenectady. ValleyCats staff members and league and sponsor volunteers will wrap up renovations on the fourth and final field.
Last night the Lexington Legends (3-4) split a doubleheader with Hagerstown, while watching first round draft pick Bryce Harper smash his first professional home run.
Kike Hernandez (’10) made his first professional starts in the outfield on Wednesday night, playing left field in both games. Hernandez has played the outfield before, but not professionally…so it will be interesting to see how he adapts to a new position. Kike went 1 for 3 last night with a double, a run scored and three walks.
Tyler Burnett (’10) smacked his first home run of the season, going 3 for 5 with a double and the HR.
David Martinez (’10) threw a scoreless inning in the first game and Jorge De Leon (’10) notched his first save of the season in game 2.
The Lancaster Jethawks (4-3) won in walk-off fashion last night, as Kody Hinze singled in Jake Goebbert for the winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning.
Austin Wates (’10) went 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored.
Andrew Robinson (’10) started his second game of the season and had a very good outing, but did not receive the win.
Here’s his line: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. His ERA now stands at 4.09.
The Corpus Christi Hooks were off last night. The Oklahoma City RedHawks (2-5) scored an early unearned run for a 1-0 lead, but committed four errors in their loss to the Nashville Sounds.
There really are no notable performances in this game, as the Redhawks had only 4 hits on the night. One things worth mentioning was the relief pitching of Shane Wolf (’08) who threw two innings giving up one earned run while striking out three.
“Up In The Bigs” Report:
After hammering Wandy Rodriguez for five runs in the first inning, the Chicago Cubs defeated the Houston Astros (3-9) by a final score of 9-5 despite an Astros rally in which they scored five runs of their own in the sixth inning.
Hunter Pence (’04) was 0 for 4 with a strike out.
Fernando Abad (’07) threw one inning in relief, giving up two hits, one of which was a home run, and one earned run.
Click the links below for the full stats on all former ‘Cats in the Astros system.
From the archives: 2008 ‘Cats David Miller, Shane Wolf and Ashton Mowdy pose for a picture on the field before the game.
We’re very excited to announce a new blog topic known as “Up On The Farm,” which will highlight the results of Houston Astros affiliates from the High A division through Class-AAA. We’ll provide results and keep you updated on former ‘Cats progress throughout the season. Let’s begin with Tuesday nights games: After being rained out on Monday night, the Lexington Legends (2-3) lost to the Hagerstown Suns by a score of 5-1. Notable performances: Daniel Adamson (’10) had a triple, double and single in the game, and had a chance to hit for the cycle, but struck out in the ninth inning. Adamson is batting .455 on the season. Murillo Gouvea (’10) had his first outing of the year: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K Jason Chowning (’10): 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K __________________________________________________________ The Lancaster Jethawks (3-3) evened their three-game series with the San Jose Giants last night, defeating them by a final score of 8-5. Notable performances: Jake Goebbert (’09) went 2-3 with a HR. Jose Altuve (’09) did not have a hit, which is surprising since he is 10-22 so far this season with four extra base hits. Erik Castro (’09) went 2-4 with a 2B and a RBI. Coming on in relief, Colt Pitkin (’09) gave up a grand slam to give the Giants the lead. Pitkin was credited with a blown save, but after getting out of the sixth without any further damage, Pitkin threw two scoreless innings and eventually earned the win. __________________________________________________________ The Corpus Christi Hooks (1-5) dropped their third straight game as they were swept by the Northwest Arkansas with a 14-4 loss on Tuesday night. Wladimir Sutil (’05) continues his hot hitting, going 2 for 5 with a RBI. Sutil is 14 for 29 on the season with four doubles and four stolen bases. Brandon Barnes (’07) went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI. Barnes is currently batting .385. J. D. Martinez (’09): 1-3, 2B, R, RBI Jon Gaston (’08): 1-3, 2B, R, RBI Andy Simunic (’08): 2-4, 2B, R, ___________________________________________________________ The Oklahoma City Redhawks (2-4) rallied from a 5-0 first inning deficit for a 7-6 win in eight innings in game one of a Tuesday doubleheader, before falling 2-1 in game two against the Nashville Sounds. Notable performances: Tommy Manzella (’05) went 2 for 3 in game one with a HR and 3 RBI. J.B. Shuck (’08) went 3 for 4 with a run scored in game one and also had a pinch hit RBI double in game two. Shuck is batting .409 on the season. Collin DeLome (’07) went 2 for 3 over the two games and is 5 for 10 on the season with a double and a home run. Astros top prospect Jordan Lyles (’08) took the mound for his second start of the season, pitching four innings giving up six hits and two earned runs while striking out four. Lyles received his first loss of the year. ___________________________________________________________ Now for the “Up In The Bigs” report: The Houston Astros (3-8) pounded out 16 hits and 11 runs, defeating the Chicago Cubs by a final score of 11-2. Hunter Pence (’04) is on a tear and went 3 for 5 with 4 RBI. Pence is 9 for his last 23 and is currently batting .326 on the season. ___________________________________________________________ From the archives… Here are a few photos from August 5, 2009 when ‘Cats catcher Rene Garcia was plowed over by a Mahoning Valley Scrapper…he was clearly out, but was called safe by the home plate umpire.
We’ve received the first images of our Hunter Pence ValleyCats bobblehead that will be distributed to the first 1,200 fans prior to the game on “Joe to the Show Night”, Monday, July 18 against the Staten Island Yankees. Click here to purchase tickets.
The images are of the mud mold that is formed into the correct shape, and once approved, will be painted.
Some things are right on and some things are a bit off. Can you notice any discrepancies compared to the real Hunter Pence?
66 Days Until Opening Day!
In an effort to keep everyone updated on our former ‘Cats progress throughout the Astros system, below are links to current stats as of Monday, April 11th.
-Carlos Quevedo (’10) earned his first win of the season with Class-A Lexington on Sunday afternoon. 6 IP, 7 hits, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K.
-Alex Sogard (’10) earned his first professional save in relief of Quevedo. Sogard pitched 3-innings giving up two hits allowing 1 ER. He struck out 2 and walked none.
-Mike Kvasnicka (’10) is on fire for Lexington, going 8 for 17 with a triple, double and 6 RBI in his 4-game stretch to start the season.
-Bobby Doran (’10) gets his first start of the season tonight for the Lancaster Jethawks.
-Hunter Pence (’04) is off to a strong start in 2011, leading the “offense” for the 2-7 Astros. Pence is hitting .324 with 3 2B, 1 HR and 5 RBI.
-Ben Zobrist (’04) on the other hand, is struggling so far this season. Through 9 games Zobrist is 5 for 34 with 3 extra base hits, including 1 HR. He’s struck out 10 times.
On a side note, 2010 ‘Cat Oscar Figueroa is no longer with the Houston organization.
67 Days Until Opening Day!
First it was Major League Baseball who celebrated their Opening Day and today marks the official beginning of the Minor League Baseball season– as many long season clubs will begin their 144-game schedule tonight.
On the local front, the Hudson Valley Community College baseball team kicked off the first baseball action of the spring here at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, as they hosted Fulton Montgomery in a double header.
Here are photos of the first game action at “The Joe” since last September 11th when the ‘Cats defeated the Brooklyn Cyclones in game one of the New York-Penn League Championship Series.
All the Houston Astros long-season minor league affiliates begin play tonight. Many 2010 championship ‘Cats are playing for the Lexington Legends and some for the Lancaster Jethawks. You will also recognize former ‘Cats with Class-AA Corpus Christi and Class-AAA Oklahoma City.
For a list of where former ‘Cats are playing, you can refer to this blog post. One thing worth noting…Telvin Nash has been placed on the disabled list.
The ’4 in 24′ Field Renovation project is almost here! In honor of this breakthrough event, the ValleyCats are offering the ’4 in 24′ Celebration Package for Youth Baseball Night on Friday, June 24th, as the ‘Cats host Red Sox affiliate Lowell Spinners. 4 grandstand tickets, 4 hot dogs and 4 sodas all for just $24! It’s also our Field Renovation Celebration Night, presented by Friendly’s, Price Chopper, CDTA and The Brickman Group. On this night, the ‘Cats will recognize local youth baseball leagues around the Capital Region and will highlight the ’4 in 24′ Field Renovations.
You can also purchase this special offer by calling the ValleyCats front office at
(518) 629-2287 or in-person at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium Box Office located on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College. For more information, please e-mail Jessica Kaszeta at email@example.com. Offer ends on Sunday, April 17.
We know everyone is excited for our Charlie bobblehead giveaway on Bat Boy Appreciation Night Wednesday, August 10th. The first images of the bobblehead have arrived…they are the cast mud mold that is made before they get produced and painted. The “300″ ball Charlie is holding commemorates his 300th game as bat boy for the ValleyCats, a milestone he will achieve during this season.
Pictures are below…what does everyone think?
Today our full shipment of 2011 ValleyCats pocket schedules arrived!
There were a total of 99 boxes that were pulled from the back of the truck and carted into the front office. That’s 200,000 pocket schedules! Everyone pitched in to help out and we are excited to have them. They are very popular and everyone has been asking about them.
Now time to distribute! Look for them throughout the community in the coming weeks, including at participating Stewart’s, Subway, Recovery Sports Grill and 99 Restaurant locations. We’ll also be handing them out at every community event we attend up until opening day on June 17.
If your business would like to have ValleyCats pocket schedules, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange a shipment. You can always stop in our front office at “The Joe” on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College.
Here are a few photos of the office teamwork to bring in the pocket schedules:
Here’s the finished product:
The Houston Astros have released their preliminary 2011 Minor League rosters for their four long-season affiliates. Many former ‘Cats are scattered throughout the list. I’ve broken each team down listing just former ValleyCats.
The rosters below are subject to change and will not be officially finalized until MiLB Opening Day on April 7th.
Class-A Lexington Legends
Jason Chowning (’10)
Jorge De Leon (’10)
Murilo Gouvea (’10)
David Martinez (’10)
Carlos Quevedo (’10)
Alex Sogard (’10)
Brian Streilein (’10)
Chris Wallace (’10)
Tyler Burnett (’10)
Kike Hernandez (’10)
Mike Kvasnicka (’10)
Jhonny Medrano (’09)
Telvin Nash (’10)
Ben Orloff (’09-’10)
Daniel Adamson (’10)
Adam Bailey (’10)
Class-A Lancaster Jethawks
Wander Alvino (’09)
Jake Buchanan (’10)
Bobby Donovan (’09)
Bobby Doran (’10)
Zach Grimmett (’09)
Michael Ness (’10)
Colt Pitkin (’09)
James Robinson (’10)
Rene Garcia (’09)
Ben Heath (’10)
Jose Altuve (’09)
Erik Castro (’09)
Jacob Goebbert (’09)
Austin Wates (’10)
Class-AA Corpus Christi Hooks:
David Berner (’09)
Kyle Greenwalt (’08)
Dallas Keuchel (’09)
Shane Wolf (’08)
David Flores (’08)
Andrew Simunic (’08)
Wladimir Sutil (’05)
Jimmy VanOstrand (’06)
Brandon Wikoff (’09)
Brandon Barnes (’07)
Jon Gaston (’08)
J.D. Martinez (’09)
T.J. Steele (’08)
Class-AAA Oklahoma City RedHawks
Douglas Arguello (’05-’06)
Jordan Lyles (’08)
Koby Clemens (’05)
Tommy Manzella (’05)
Brian Bogusevic (’05-’06)
Collin DeLome (’07)
J.B. Shuck (’08)
A few things worth noting:
-J.B. Shuck was one of the final cuts from the Astros Major League roster, and could see playing time with the big club at some point this season.
-You’ll notice that 2010 ‘Cats Jake Buchanan, Bobby Doran, Mike Ness, James Robinson, Ben Heath and Austin Wates all skipped a level. Not that you can read into this too much, since a lot has to do with making sure each player gets their fair share of playing time, but it could mean the Astros are pretty high on these guys…and rightfully so.
-You may notice that there are some guys missing that played with the ‘Cats in 2010 including Joan Belliard, Travis Blankenship, Adam Champion, Ryan Cole, Ryan McCurdy, Jacke Healey, Garrett Bullock, Oscar Figueroa and Marcus Nidiffer. We know for sure that Nidiffer was cut and picked up by the Anaheim Angels organization. The others will most likely stay back in Kissimmee for Extended Spring Training and be assigned to a team at a later date. One or two of them might even end up back with Tri-City in June. When the official Extended Spring Training roster is released, I’ll be sure to post it.
Today officially marked the beginning of CDTA’s new BusPlus service. BusPlus, CDTA’s version of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), is a limited stop service along the 17-mile stretch of Route 5 between downtown Albany and downtown Schenectady. BusPlus combines benefits of commuter rail with flexibility and cost advantages of buses, offering limited stop operation which move customers quickly and efficiently.
The Tri-City ValleyCats mascots helped usher in the new service by entertaining those riders waiting at different bus stops along Route 5.
For more information on this new service, click here.
Here are some photos snapped throughout the day: