February 2012

SouthPaw & the Siena Seniors!

Sunday was Senior Day/the last home game of the regular season for the Siena men’s basketball team, and we were thrilled to be able to be apart of it!

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SouthPaw roamed the stands to mingle with the fans, threw some t-shirts and took part in some on-court promotions. Special thanks to Bernie for sharing the day with his buddy SouthPaw. (Cats and dogs do get along!)

SouthPaw Bernie

Here are a bunch of photos from the day:

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Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings

SouthPaw DArgenio

Siena Athletic Director John D'Argenio

Table

Sign Ups

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Siena senior Kyle Downey takes a shot. Downey had a career high 28 points in his final home game.

SouthPaw Basketball

SouthPaw trying to be like Downey

SouthPaw Shoots

SouthPaw misses basket

No luck...SouthPaw needs more practice!

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SouthPaw ValleyCats Fan

SouthPaw 5050

SouthPaw Albany PD

SouthPaw in the crowd

SouthPaw sits with fans

SouthPaw TU Security

SouthPaw with kid

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SouthPaw DogPound2

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FOX23 Sports Director Rich Becker

FOX23 Sports Director Rich Becker

SouthPaw Kids Screaming

SouthPaw TShirts 2

SouthPaw TShirts 1

SouthPaw cheerleaders

SouthPaw BigHead Seniors

Siena RJM Interview

ValleyCats GM Rick Murphy interviewed by Time Warner Cable Sports

SouthPaw MJ Interview

SouthPaw felt left out, so he was next!

SouthPaw Friar

SouthPaw conducting

SouthPaw trombone

Spring is in the air!

Spring Baseball

Spring is in the air and that means baseball! With the beginning of Spring Training and the unseasonably warm weather, it makes a bit extra exciting to start thinking about everything we have in store for our fans in 2012, and there is a LOT to be excited about.

Affordable fun, exciting promotions, great food, professional baseball and much more! Not to mention that the Houston Astros have the #1 pick in this year’s Major League Baseball Draft, and that pick has a very great chance to become a ValleyCat.

Opening Night is on Wednesday, June 20 against the defending Stedler Division champion Vermont Lake Monsters. We believe every year that opening night marks the beginning of summer, but this year it’s official! It will be a great night at “The Joe” as we welcome back the “Boys of Summer!” Like tradition, post-game fireworks will follow the game! As always, our friends at Price Chopper will be sponsoring all 14 fireworks shows during the season.

Another very hot ticket during each ValleyCats season is the Fourth of July. This year the ‘Cats welcome in the State College Spikes for a special 6pm first pitch. It will be a great Independence Day celebration, complemented by a spectacular fireworks show.

2011 4th of July at “The Joe:”

Photo Day will be held on Saturday, July 7th and team posters of the 2012 ValleyCats will be handed out to all fans through the gates. Fans will have the chance to take pre-game pictures on the field with the team.

A special element to this night is that the ValleyCats will be wearing Relay For Life jerseys. These custom purple jerseys will be auctioned off following the game with proceeds going to benefit American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life.

The 2012 Relay For Life of Rensselaer County will be held at “The Joe” on Friday June 9- Saturday June 10. Click here for more information.

We’ll be giving away two bobbleheads this season, with the first coming on Monday, July 9. The identity of this bobblehead has not yet been revealed and the only thing we can say at this moment is that it is “We Love New York Night.

The second bobblehead will be given away on Monday, August 20 as the ‘Cats host the Staten Island Yankees, affiliate of the New York Yankees. The night is being called Capital Region Baseball Heritage Night, presented by Berkshire Bank, and will celebrate the great history of professional baseball in our area. The ‘Cats will be giving away bobbleheads (to the first 1,500 fans through the gate) of Derek Jeter as a member of the 1994 Albany-Colonie Yankees.

You can guarantee that you receive a Jeter bobblehead by purchasing our Heritage Mini-Plan. This plan includes tickets to six of our best games during the season (including the Jeter bobblehead night). A perk of this plan is that you are GUARANTEED the bobblehead. Click here for more information.

With that said, there has been some confusion as to whether that is the only way to get a bobblehead. No it is not. We will still be giving away the bobblehead to the first 1,500 fans who walk through the gates that night. So if you want to wait until individual tickets go on sale April 4, you may do so. Just make sure you arrive early on August 20!

Want your kids to get in FREE at “The Joe?” Then come to the ValleyCats game on Saturday, July 21! The ValleyCats have teamed up once again with GE to be part of their GE-Kids-In-Free-Days promotion. All children 12 & under will get in FREE with a paying adult.

Since this is a blog post and blogs are considered a part of social media, it’s only fitting that we mention a new series of promotions during each ValleyCats Monday night home game. On Social Media Mondays, the ValleyCats will ask for fan participation on their mobile devices during the game. We will be asking fans to tweet/post on Facebook a picture of themselves at the game that night. Select pictures will be shown on our video board during the game for all of our fans to see! There will also be contests  to win cool ValleyCats prizes.

Just days after the Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, we’ll be holding Summer Olympics Night at “The Joe.” The date is Thursday, August 2 and the night will feature some new on-field promotions that will incorporate elements from different Olympic events. We’ll also have trivia and cool facts about the history of the Olympic Games.

A completely new promotion for 2012 is Half-Way to Valentine’s Day on Wednesday, August 15. The ‘Cats host the Brooklyn Cyclones, affiliate of the New York Mets, beginning at 7pm. We are inviting married couples to come to the game and renew their vows. Or maybe you just want to spend the night with that special baseball fan in your life. Either way…there will be love in the air AND post-game fireworks!

Also very exciting is the Blizzard in August on Friday, August 17. We thought that with the lack of snow during this winter, we would create white-out conditions in August! Of course there will be no snow, but there will be free white-t-shirts given to the first 2,000 fans that enter the stadium. All fans are encouraged to wear white to help create the “white-out” atmosphere.

New to us in 2012 is a home game on Labor Day, Monday, September 3.  Almost everyone has that day off from work and we want you to spend your day with us! We thought…what do people like to do on Labor Day? Barbeque! So we’ve decided to create the Capital Region’s Biggest Cookout. More details will released as the season gets closer, so stay tuned!

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Odds & Ends

Attention Season Ticket and Mini Plan holders: If you haven’t renewed your seats for the 2012 season, don’t forget that you only have until April 1st to guarantee your same great seats.

Individual Tickets: Will go on sale Wednesday, April 4 at 10am.

Siena Basketball: SouthPaw and our staff will be at the final home game for the Siena Mens Basketball team this Sunday. They face Canisius at 2pm on Senior Day at the Times Union Center. We’ll have a table set up on the concourse handing out 2012 promotional schedules, calendars, ticket information and more. We’ll also have a sign-up to win tickets to Opening Night on June 20. SouthPaw will be roaming the arena visiting with fans and helping to throw t-shirts into the stands.

Siena is offering the Saints Family Four Pack, which includes four game tickets, four popcorns and four yearbooks.  You can purchase your Saints Family Pack at the Times Union Center Box Office in advance, night of the game or through the following link: Click Here

St. Patrick’s Day Mini-Plan: Be on the lookout for the release of the ValleyCats St.Patrick’s Day Mini-Plan package. It will have many of the same great benefits as last year including tickets to six of the best ValleyCats games highlighted by Irish Night on September 4  with a pre-game concert by Hair of the Dog. Also included is a food voucher for corned beef and cabbage, a $10 gift certificate to the South End Tavern in Troy, a free t-shirt and more!

Pocket Schedules: Many people have been asking for the 2012 ValleyCats pocket schedules. We will have them the first week of March and will be distributing them to locations throughout the Capital Region. If you are interested in having pocket schedules at your place of business or have any ideas, please send an e-mail to info@tcvalleycats.com.

Spring Training: ValleyCats Media Relations Manager Chris Chenes will be heading down to Astros Spring Training at the end of March. He will be talking to many of the former ‘Cats, taking lots of picture and blogging about his trip. If you have any ideas or requests for Chris, you may e-mail him at chrischenes@tcvalleycats.com.

Busy time of year!

It may be February, but the weather has made it seem like spring already! Not only that, but our front office has been out and about in the community and have many things planned in the next few weeks.

Here’s a brief rundown on what’s been going on and what’s coming up!

In the past few weeks, SouthPaw has attended Cohoes Little League’s Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser and the MDA Muscle Walk, and Rowdy was at Clifton Park Center for the Aéropostale Teens for Jeans drive, which helps aid homeless youth.

Last Saturday, SouthPaw, Rowdy and the rest of the ValleyCats crew were at the Big Red Freakout RPI hockey game and honored 2011 Mayors Race champion and former Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian on-ice during intermission. Former Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton and current Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings where there to show their support.

Here are some pictures from the night:

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This Saturday, February 11, SouthPaw will once again visit Clifton Park Center from 11am-1pm for their Clifton Park Winterfest festivities. Click here for more information on all the Winterfest events.

On Friday, February 17, the ValleyCats mascots will be back in Troy at the RPI hockey game. The Engineers face off against Quinnipiac beginning at 7pm.  Click here for ticket information.

Sunday, February 26 we’ll be at the Times Union Center for Siena Basketball! It’s the last home game for the Saints and they will honor their senior members as part of the Senior Day festivities. Tip is scheduled for 2pm.

SienaSaints

Siena is offering the Saints Family Pack which includes four game tickets, four popcorn’s and four yearbooks.  You can purchase your Saints Family Pack at the Times Union Center Box Office in advance, night of the game or through the following link:  Click Here

SouthPaw & ValleyCats staffers will be tossing t-shirts into the crowd and the ValleyCats will have a promotional table set up on the concourse area. Stop by, say hello and register to win great ValleyCats prize packs including tickets to the upcoming 2012 season!
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Finally, we’ve been wrapping up discussions for our 2012 promotional schedule and will be announcing that within the next couple of weeks. Pocket Schedules should be available by the 26th of February, so we’ll have them at the Siena game as well as begin distribution throughout the Capital Region.

Currently Season Tickets, Flex Plans and Mini-Plans are all available for purchase. Season tickets come with many great benefits and include the guarantee to receive all premium giveaway items.

Season Ticket Information>>

(Click here for a list of creative ways to use Season Tickets)

We have two choices for Mini-Plans, Uncle Sam or Heritage. Each plan includes tickets to six of our best games of the season, two fireworks shows and one guaranteed premium giveaway item.

Mini-Plan Information>>

Individual tickets will go on-sale April 4.

18 week until opening night

Time to Recognize Capital Region’s Baseball History!

Our entire staff was so thrilled this week to announce that we’ve partnered with Berkshire Bank to begin a brand new series of bobbleheads that will honor those who have played professional baseball in the Capital Region. The plan is to add a new bobblehead to the collection each season.

Let’s delve into the history books shall we?

Professional baseball in the Capital Region extends as far back as the late 19th century with the Troy Haymakers (1871-1872) and Troy Trojans (1879-1882).

Troy HaymakersTroy Trojans

Members of those teams include Hall of Famers such as Roger Connor, Dan Brouthers, Tim Keefe, Mickey Welch and Buck Ewing.

We also need to mention that Hall of Famers Johnny Evers (famously known to modern day fans as the pivot man in the “Tinkers to Evers to Chance” double play combination) and Mike “King” Kelly were both born in Troy, NY.

Johnny Evers

Mike King Kelly

Michael "King" Kelly

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Aside from the Haymakers and Trojans, another team in town were the Albany Senators (1885-1959). Over the span of their existence, the Senators were affiliated with the Pirates, Yankees, Reds, Red Sox and Athletics. Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner played his first professional season with the Senators in 1941.

Albany Senators

They played their home games at Hawkins Stadium in Menands:

Hawkins Stadium Albany

Hawkins Stadium, Menands, NY, 1934 (digitalballparks.com)

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The Schenectady Blue Jays (affiliate of the Philadelphia Philles) began their existence in 1946, playing their home games at McNearney Stadium until disbanding in 1957.

Schenectady Blue Jays

Tommy Lasorda, before going on to become a major league player and Hall of Fame manager, was a member of the 1948 Schenectady team:

Tommy Lasorda Schenectady Blue Jays

Tommy Lasorda, 1948 Schenectady Blue Jays

Did you know that retired NBA player and coach Pat Riley is from Schenectady, NY? His father, Leon Riley, played minor league baseball for 22 years and had a brief stint in the Majors with the Phillies in 1944.

In 1947 Leon Riley managed the Schenectady Blue Jays to a Can-Am League Championship. Riley is pictured below in the front row, third from the right.

47 schenectay blue jays_Lee Riley

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Then you had the Amsterdam Rugmakers (New York Yankees affiliate) from 1938-42 and 1946-51.

Amsterdam Rugmakers

The Yankees actually payed a visit to Amsterdam in 1949, playing an exhibition game against the Rugmakers. Joe DiMaggio hit a home run in that game.

Pictured below from left to right is Bill Dickey, Casey Stengel, Rugmakers Manager Mayo Smith and Yankees coach Bill Turner:

smith-stengel

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Professional baseball made its return to the Capital Region in 1983 when the Oakland A’s moved their Double-A team from Connecticut to Heritage Park in Colonie, NY. For one season they were known as the Albany A’s and in 1984 the name was changed to Albany-Colonie.

Albany Colonie Athletics

The affiliation with the A’s would last just those two seasons before Albany-Colonie would become affiliated with the New York Yankees in 1985.

AC Yankees

The Albany-Colonie Yankees run would last for ten seasons (1985-1994), and served as the path for many of the former and current stars we are very familiar with today. Deion Sanders, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter to name a few.

Andy Pettitte

Bernie Williams

deion sanders

Jeter AC Yankees

Derek Jeter

Jeter, the most recent addition to the 3,000 hit club, will be the inaugural member of the Heritage Series Bobblehead Collection. He played 34 games with the Albany-Colonie Yankees in 1994 before going on to become Captain of the New York Yankees, a 12-time All-Star and five time World Series Champion.

ValleyCats VP/General Manager Rick Murphy had this to say about the inaugural bobblehead:

“There is a long-standing tradition of professional baseball here in the Capital Region and we feel this is a great way to honor a future Hall of Famer whose path to Cooperstown will have run through our local community.”

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Following the A-C Yankees departure, professional baseball took a hiatus from the Capital Region until 2002. That year the Pittsfield Astros of the New York-Penn League  moved their team to Troy, NY and became known as the Tri-City ValleyCats.

TC ValleyCats

It was a great moment for the Capital Region and historic for the city of Troy, who hadn’t fielded a professional baseball team since 1916.

In the ten years since arriving in Troy, the ValleyCats have had 24 players reach Major League Baseball. Most notably All-Stars Ben Zobrist and Hunter Pence.

ZOBRIST Low Res

Ben Zobrist, 2004 ValleyCats

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Hunter Pence, 2004 ValleyCats

Looking back, it’s safe to say that the Capital Region has a very long tradition of professional baseball. We shouldn’t have too hard of a time adding to this unique collection of bobbleheads.

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