All Aboard! ‘Cats to North Creek!

Tuesday was the first day off for the Tri-City ValleyCats baseball team since the season began on Monday, June 18. That’s 22 straight days without a break (aside from one postponed game in Connecticut on Friday, June 29).

While many of the players stuck around town to kick-back, relax, watch TV or a movie and play video games, others had different, more adventurous plans. A few took a trip to New York City and manager Stubby Clapp went hiking.

For pitchers Joe Bircher (from Nebraska), Brady Rodgers (from Texas), Vince Velasquez (from California) and pitching coach Rick Aponte, the trip was a chance to experience some of the great outdoors that New York State has to offer. It was a trip aboard the Saratoga & North Creek Railway for a scenic train ride through the Adirondacks and up to Gore Mountain.

The train departed from Saratoga Springs at 10am and Velasquez thought he would play the piano to kill some time before they left. Let’s just say he should stick to baseball.

Once the train departed and everyone settled in their seats (including SouthPaw!), Aponte got really excited for the trip he was about to embark upon (including a nice breakfast).

Pitching coach Rick Aponte enjoying the ride!

Taking pictures of the scenic route through the Adirondack Mountains.

There were even some ValleyCats fans on-board, and the players took some time to sign autographs and take a few photos:

The ride from Saratoga Springs to North Creek lasted a little over 2-hours, plenty of time to take in the sights, and something the players took advantage of.

Vince Velasquez getting the best view!

The train arrived in North Creek right around noon, and before getting on a bus to Gore Mountain, everyone browsed the gift shop, making one slight change to one of the displays (nice work guys!):

Posing for a picture before heading up to Gore Mountain.

After about a 7-minute bus ride, we arrived at Gore Mountain. The itinerary had us taking a gondola ride to the top of the mountain, but we first made a brief pit-stop at one of the frisbee golf holes.

Following an unsuccessful 15-minutes of trying for a “hole-in-one,” the most breathtaking part of the trip was about to take place. A ride on a gondola to the summit of Gore Mountain, an elevation of 3,600 feet.

After a 10-minute ride to the top of the mountain, and about a 20-degree drop in temperature, the view of the beautiful Adirondack Mountains was about to come in full-view.

Snapping photos in unison.

Joe Bircher, Brady Rodgers and Vincent Velasquez

Aponte was trying to explain that this ski slope was the easiest on the mountain.

That was before he came across this sign:

SouthPaw felt right at home!

We left just in time for the arrival of the brief period of rain.

Overall, it was an off-day well spent, and one these guys will not soon forget. Let’s hope all that nice air freshens them up for next 20 straight days of baseball!

Here is a highlight video of the trip:

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