May 2011

Interns are in! What’s the Top of the Hill?

Monday was the first day for almost all of the ValleyCats 2011 intern class, and the annual orientation was held in one of the HVCC campus classrooms.

All of the full-time staff and interns introduced themselves to the group and each gave a nugget of information that some people may not know about them. Among the crowd are a few good bowlers, basketball players, volleyball players, those who love to golf, more than one who have played against Jimmer Fredette and there’s also a skydiver in the group.

There are 25 total interns hailing from cities around the Capital Region and also around the country including Alabama, Wisconsin and Texas. Colleges that interns have attended or are currently attending  include West Virginia, Texas A&M, Syracuse, Coastal Carolina, St. Cloud State, Michigan State, Princeton, University of Alabama, University of Wisconsin, Springfield, Endicott, St. John Fisher, SUNY Oneonta, Skidmore, St.Rose, Siena, RPI and HVCC.

As the season goes on, you will get know more about all of our interns and their roles. They are an intrical part of the ValleyCats organization and are held in the same regard as all of the full-time staff members.

Can you believe there are only 24 more days until Opening Day?? WOW!

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Top of the Hill from afar

As you’ve notice over the years, we are always trying to improve the ballpark each season with added group areas and enhancements. Last year a brand new granite bar was installed on our Top of the Hill Bar & Grill.

If you’ve been to a ValleyCats game and have never ventured to the “top of the hill” in left field, you are missing out on a great view and great experience.

Maybe it’s because it’s a bit of walk or maybe it’s because you haven’t noticed it or thought it was private. The truth about the Top of the Hill Bar & Grill is that if a picnic is booked in that area, it is private until an hour and fifteen minutes after game time. So if the game starts at 7pm…Top of the Hill is open at 8:15.

Family night out!

Some nights, the Top of the Hill will not be booked and will be open to the public beginning when the gates open. Look for new signage this year next to the scoreboard to fill you in on the Top of the Hill hours that night. We’ll also fill you in via Twitter/Facebook on game days.

Granite bar

Group at the bar

Picnic area

You have three options for food…one is to choose the same menu as the Picnic Pavilion. That is buffet style which includes chicken wings, sausage & peppers, hot dogs/hamburgers, french fries/onion rings, chips, peanuts/kettlecorn and beverages.

You also have the option of choosing a BBQ style menu that includes bbq chicken, pulled pork, hot dogs/hamburgers, potato salad, chips, watermelon and beverages.

Thirdly you can choose the Top of the Hills Surf n’ Turf menu which includes steak, chicken spiedes, clams, salt potatoes, corn on the cob, hot dogs/hamburgers, potato salad, chips, watermelon and beverages.

Buffet style meal

Group

Granite Bar

The Top of the Hill is currently available for Opening Day on Friday, June 17th. If you have a group between 50-120 people that would like to spend your night at the Top of the Hill Bar & Grill, call (518) 629-2287 to book your outing.

Here are a few more photos:
Plenty of room

Picture perfect!

Catchin' some game action!

Pre-game meal

Food & baseball!

Having a great time

Right around the corner…

That ‘Cats season is right around the corner and this is definitely the busiest time of the year for everyone here in the front office. Everyone has numerous things on their plate to get everything ready for Opening Day on Friday, June 17.

Let’s go through a departmental report and fill you in on the latest happenings:

Food & Beverage

With a new season comes new surprises when it comes to food variety at the ballpark. This year we are adding a very special kiosk down the left field line, called “Left Field Louie’s” for our long-time employee and buddy Lou Tricarick who passed away in March. Soon we will announce what great new food items you can purchase at that stand. The Cat-tle Ranch group area will have some new enhancements in 2011 and we’ll be featuring some great new offerings at the concession stands. Stay tuned for more info on all the new food coming to “The Joe.” Gian, our food & beverage coordinator, has been going through the process of staffing each position needed throughout the stadium. He has the most employees by far! They all do a great job and enjoy working in the great atmosphere.

Stadium Operations

Op’s manager Keith Sweeney will be extremely busy leading up to the opener…as he and his two interns Derek and Phil will be responsible for putting up all the signage around the ballpark, cleaning the stadium, putting nameplates on all of the season ticket holders seats, arranging the parking situation for 2011 and hiring all of the game day staff.

Media/Production

Currently being worked on is the ValleyCats 10th anniversary game magazine, which will feature three different commemorative covers. One in June, July and August. This years program will have some great content including “Get to know Stubby Clapp”, “Ten Seasons at “The Joe!”, “The Championship Season: A Recap of the 2010 ValleyCats Season”, “Charlie’s 300th Game” and more. Along with different sections such as “Wingfest 2011″, “Women In Business”, “Dining Guide” and “Craft Brewers Festival 2011.”

As you have all been made aware, the ‘Cats new on-air voice will be Capital Region native Erik Elken. Erik recently graduated from Syracuse University and will be a great asset to the ‘Cats.

The broadcasts in 2011 will once again be featured online at tcvalleycats.com. New in 2011, something we first mentioned right here in ‘Cats Corner months ago, will be the ValleyCats Mobile Application for iPhone and Android smartphone users. The ‘Cats radio broadcast will be streamed right through this app, which is FREE to download! Now you will be able to hear the ‘Cats wherever you have your smartphone. Very exciting and more information will be released in the coming weeks.

Also very exciting is the return of tcvalleycats.com beat reporter and ‘Cats Corner blog specialist, Kevin Whitaker. Kevin will be providing more great coverage of the ValleyCats in 2011. It all begins with the 2011 MLB first-year player draft June 6-8.

Promotions

2011 is going to be the best on-field promotional year ever. There are so many exciting new things that are going take place in-between the innings along with staples such as the “Tri-City Hall Mayor’s Race”, dugout dancing, t-shirt tosses and the hot dog race. So get ready to have more fun than you have every had at “The Joe!”

As far as giveaways go…the 2011 ValleyCats Bobblehead Series will feature former ‘Cat and Houston Astros star outfielder Hunter Pence and ValleyCats longtime bat boy Charlie. Other exciting giveaways include a replica NYPL championship trophy and a commemorative 10th anniversary giveaway item.

Merchandise

Step into “SouthPaws Den” this year and you will find a wide array of new items, including a great supply of championship and 10th anniversary items, new replica ValleyCats jerseys, great new t-shirts and also merchandise for infants and babies. Right now, the ValleyCats are participating the Minor League Baseball’s “15 for 15″ initiative, where 15% of all online merchandise sales from the ‘Cats team store will go to  help at least three Minor League Baseball communities that were recently affected by storms, tornadoes and flooding in the Southeastern United States. Click here to visit the ValleyCats official online team store

Community Relations

Chances are good that you have seen SouthPaw or one of the other ValleyCats mascots at some point during the offseason. We’ve participated in more community events than ever before and that’s extremely important to us as an organization. We’re committed to the Capital Region and will continue to support the great events and causes that take place here. Our fans deserve it after being so supportive of ValleyCats Baseball for the past ten years.

This season, the ‘Cats are bringing back the “Street Team” and will attend many events during the summer with the ValleyCats speed pitch machine and prizes to give away. The Street Team’s first event will be Summer Jam at SPAC on Saturday, June 4th.

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In closing, below are some helpful links for ValleyCats fans:

Spend Father’s Day at “The Joe!”
The ValleyCats have announced a special Father’s Day Premium Package that includes a brunch followed by a catch on the field, personalized photo souvenir, and a Sunday Funday ticket to be used for that night’s game or any other Sunday home game. Sunday Funday ticket includes a hot dog and soda voucher!

Win an Authentic ValleyCats Championship Ring!
There’s still time to register to win an authentic ValleyCats 2011 championship ring. The winner will be announced on opening night.

MVP Health Care Youth Tip: With the ValleyCats new manager Stubby Clapp
Each week during the season, the ‘Cats will feature a new MVP Health Care Youth Tip from the Pros. Sign-up to have these pro tips sent straight to your inbox as they are released.

ValleyCats Kids Club!
If your son/daughter is not a member of the ValleyCats Kids Club, now’s the time to register. Registration is FREE and includes a free grandstand ticket to any home game, Junior ‘Cats membership card, birthday card from SouthPaw, 10% discount on all merchandise, coupons and prizes from ValleyCats sponsors and a special autograph session with the ValleyCats players and mascots.

2011 ValleyCats Baseball Camps
The ValleyCats Academy Camps are filled with professional baseball instruction, exciting games, drills and more. The ‘Cats professional instructors, including the professional ballplayers, will provide each camper with a wealth of knowledge that they will benefit from the moment they reach the field.

2011 Capital Region Craft Brewers Festival

2011 Promotional Schedule

Tickets for Opening Day are going to be gone very soon…click here to order tickets and be sure to witness the great opening night festivities!

Four Finalists

Below are the four National Anthem audition finalists. Today they were recorded at Albany Broadcasting’s studio and will be featured on fly92’s website beginning Wednesday morning. The winner will sing the National Anthem at a premier ValleyCats fireworks night with over 5,000 fans in attendance!

Click the Fly92.3 logo below to VOTE beginning on Wednesday!

Name: LIVHARMONIC

Ages: 11-14

Hometown: Niskayuna

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Name: Dana

Age: 26

Hometown: Grafton

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Name: Heather

Age: 9

Hometown: East Greenbush

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Name: Cassendra

Age: 14

Hometown: Niskayuna

Anthem Audition!

The ValleyCats first ever National Anthem audition took place Saturday morning at Crossgates Mall. Fans came from all around the Capital Region for their shot to sing the Star Spangled Banner during a ValleyCats game at one of our premier fireworks nights!

Fly92’s Chrissy Cavotta was the MC and the top four finalists will be featured on Fly92.com  for fan voting to decide the winner. All finalists have the opportunity to sing at one of the ValleyCats 38 home games.

Stay tuned to tcvalleycats.com and our Facebook page for the link to the finalist voting page. Voting should begin at some point on Tuesday.

Below are a few pictures and a video from the audition:

City of Champions!

Today was a special day for the City of Troy. Nearly 500 people showed up to Joseph L. Bruno Stadium to see in-person the San Francisco Giants 2010 World Series Trophy. You had the die hard Giants fans and casual baseball fans all looking to get a glimpse of a championship trophy the Giants organization has been waiting for since they moved to San Francisco from New York back in 1958.

The team in New York, when it began in 1883, was compromised of nearly half of the players that played for the Troy Trojans. The Trojans were disbanded after the 1882 season. In 1883 the New York Gothams took the Trojans’ place in the National League.

Ironic enough, the only current professional baseball team in Troy is the ValleyCats…who also captured a championship in 2010. Thus the “City of Champions!” title.

On Thursday night, fans had the opportunity to take their photo with both the ‘Cats New York-Penn League Championship trophy and the Giants World Series trophy.

Even more ironic , the Hudson Valley Community College baseball team hosted the RPI JV team during the event. Two Troy baseball teams, playing on the same field as Troy’s professional baseball team, in the same city where the Giants franchise has their roots…Classic.

For more information on the history of the Giants and Troy…click here.

And without further ado…here are some photos:

World Series Trophy with "The Joe" in the background

Trophy arrives and the photographs begin

ValleyCats Principal Owner Bill Gladstone during the press conference

The line extended out into the parking lot

Priceless!

ValleyCats VP/GM Rick Murphy, ValleyCats Principal Owner Bill Gladstone, County Executive Kathy Jimino, Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian

ValleyCats front office staff

"City of Champions!" NYPL Championship trophy with the World Series trophy

Video of the trophy getting packed up as it heads to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown!

Troy Record photographer J.S. Carras took some great photos of the event as well. Click here to view.

Play Ball! Local Little League’s Hold Opening Ceremonies

This past weekend the ‘Cats attended numerous opening ceremonies at Little Leagues all across the Capital Region. The mascots are a hot commodity this time of year, that’s for sure. SouthPaw, Pappy SouthPaw and Rowdy all made their presence known. Here was Saturday’s schedule:

8:30 AM- Rowdy at East Greenbush

9 AM- Pappy SouthPaw at Westland Hills Inc.

9:30 AM- SouthPaw at Albany National

10 AM- SouthPaw at Northside

10:30 AM- Rowdy at North Colonie

12 PM- SouthPaw at Waterford

6 PM- SouthPaw at Ballston Spa Jr. Baseball League

Here are some photos taken throughout the day:

SouthPaw and Northside Little Leaguers

Northside Little League...Field looks great!

Pappy SouthPaw at Westland Hills in Albany

Pappy & Assistant GM Matt Callahan

Rowdy in East Greenbush

Pappy at North Colonie

Ballston Spa Jr. Baseball

The photos below were sent in from ‘Cats fans:

Nassau Baseball Association

Pine Bush Baseball in Guilderland

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