The Tri-City ValleyCats kicked off their 11th year in the Capital Region last night with a festive atmosphere at “The Joe.” Despite record temperatures and unseasonable humidity, a standing-room-only crowd of 5,186 fans packed the ballpark to usher in the 2012 season.
The pre-game festivities welcomed Colonie Little Leaguer, Joey Mendrick along with Officer Brian Curran. Joey’s heart stopped beating when he was struck with a ball during an April game at Cook Park. League members and Office Curran helped stabilize and revive Mendrick, who is expected to make a full recovery.
ValleyCats Team President, Bill Gladstone, welcomed the fans prior to the game, and also introduced Senator Joseph L. Bruno, who fired a strike for his annual ceremonial first pitch.
Quinn and Cantara from the PYX 106 Morning Show were on hand to help out with some pre-game entertainment and on-field contests.
Wednesday night saw the ‘Cats debut the brand new Field of Dreams picnic area which is designed to look like a baseball field with turf on the ground and outfield-fence-style walls. The Albany County Covention & Visitors Bureau hosted the first event in this space with a pre-game picnic for their volunteers.
The New York 529 Program’s Puzzle Challenge highlighted one of the new on-field promotions.
Patio Enclosures was the game sponsor on opening night with a great display between the pillars and New York Life was on hand offering a free Child ID Program.
Schedule Magnets, courtesy of Garelick Farms, where distributed at the gate along with the brand new Homeplate Central News Daily Programs.
Between the lines, the ‘Cats returned from Vermont with a 1-1 record. They overcame an early 2-0 deficit with an R.B.I. double by Andrew Aplin and safety squeeze from Austin Elkins in the bottom of the 5th. The score remained tied into the 7th but Vermont pulled away late to hand the ValleyCats a 7-4 defeat.
The ‘Cats are home again tonight for Game Show Night, presented by Trustco Bank. Brian Holmes will take the mound for the home team in this 7:00 PM start. Tickets are still available, post-game fireworks to follow.
Here are some more photos from opening night: