October 2012

ValleyCats President to be honored at Capital District Baseball Hall of Fame Induction

The entire ValleyCats family is excited about this Sunday, as Bill Gladstone, our President/Principal Owner will be honored with the Johnny Evers Community Contributor Award at the Capital District Baseball Hall of Fame induction dinner in Troy.

The award is presented to a person who has made a significant contribution to the community and the game of baseball. We pride ourselves as an organization for being active members of the Capital Region community and couldn’t be more thrilled for Bill.

For those of you who aren’t too familiar with Bill’s background, he is an extremely active member of the baseball community. He is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Board of Directors, serves as chairman of the Board’s Development Committee and is a member of the Board’s Finance Committee.

He is also a member of Minor League Baseball’s Board of Trustees, is the Chairman of the Minor League Baseball Finance Committee, a member of the Governance and Structure Committee and the PBA Committee.

Bill also serves the New York-Penn League as a director and as a member of its executive committee.

He plays an active role in the ValleyCats continued relationship with the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, which brings artifacts from it’s museum to “The Joe” each season.

Bill Gladstone speaking to the Frank and Peggy Steele Interns from the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Bill is not only the President of the club, but one of it’s biggest fans. He is at almost every single home game sitting in the same seats behind homeplate. He often gets up to buy an ice cream for him and his wife Millie, while also mingling with fans to talk about the team. The performance of the team is very important to Bill, and will not be shy in letting you know about it.

Bill with the 2010 New York-Penn League Championship trophy.

With the new Houston Astros ownership/leadership group, we are all very excited about the continued success of the ValleyCats. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow has put a staff into place that looks to have very successful draft classes, which was evident with the success of the 2012 tea. Despite losing in the final game of the Championship Series, the ’12 ‘Cats won a franchise best 51 games.

Bill grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and has amassed a huge collection of baseball art & memorabilia. This weekend he will add another piece to his collection, and we are all very proud to have him as our President.

For more more information on the Capital District Baseball Hall of Fame, and a list of 2012 inductees, visit their website at www.cdbaseball.com.

Mound Visit

The Community Grounds Crew, presented by BlueShield of Northeastern New York, visited McQuade Park in the Village of Coxsackie on Monday to help re-build the pitchers mound. The height was raised to spec and the table was re-built with a new foundation of clay bricks. A brand new four-sided rubber was installed to replace the old step down and new infield mix was used to grade out the rest of the mound.

Here are some before & after photos:

Before:

During:

After:

As the weather gets colder, it’s important to keep your mound and plate areas covered with tarps. This will help keep the moisture in and prevent the clay surfaces from cracking.

The Community Grounds Crew looks forward to another great season in 2013!
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On a side note, one of our great helpers around the office, Billy from the Rensselaer County ARC, spent his last day with us on Tuesday. GM Rick Murphy took some time to play him in his favorite game, checkers.

Billy was victorious and therefore took home the “b-e-l-t” as he calls it. Thanks again for all of the help Billy!

Calling all ‘Cats fans: Input Wanted

As mentioned on our recent posts, last week we held our annual strategic planning meetings to review the 2012 season and brainstorm for 2013.

During this two day session, we went over the 2012 promotional schedule and gave our input on the good, the bad and the ugly. We discussed what should be done again and what should be scrapped. We also came up with a number of new ideas, some our own and some that were brought back from the Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar.

Here are some ideas/topics that were discussed:

  • Arts at the ballpark
  • 90’s Night
  • Oktoberfest/German Night
  • Faith Night
  • 1K Beer Run
  • A specific movie theme night
  • Visits from former MLB players
  • Bobbleheads
  • Giveaway items
  • In-game entertainment/promotions
  • Video ideas
  • Yearbooks/Gameday programs
  • Additional picnic areas
  • Suite design
  • Merchandise
  • Game worn jersey auctions
  • Mini-plans

Now we’re looking for input from our fans. What would you like to see done at “The Joe” in 2013? What didn’t you like from last year? What bobbleheads/giveaways/promotions should we do? Music requests? Any and all input will be greatly appreciated!

You can either comment below, post on our Facebook page, tweet @ValleyCats, e-mail info@tcvalleycats.com , or call us at 518-629-2287. We’d love to hear from you!

‘Cats honored, promo seminar recap & more!

The ValleyCats were honored by the Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce at the Van Rensselaer Awards Dinner in late September. The ‘Cats were recognized for their contributions to the Capital Region community as the recipient of the Van Rensselaer Small Business Award.

Anders Thomson, President of Capital Bank presents Rick Murphy, ValleyCats VP/General Manager with the Van Rensselaer Small Business Award. (Photo by Joan Heffler, http://joanhefflerphotography.com)

This was a tremendous honor for our organization as they were joined by CAP COM Federal Credit Union and Neil Golub, Executive Chairman of the Board for the Golub Corporation, who also received awards for their commitment to improving the quality of life in the region.

Below are a few more photos from the event. Additional photos may be found at the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce Facebook page by clicking here.

SouthPaw with Hudson Valley Community College President, Drew Matonak.     (Photo by Joan Heffler, http://joanhefflerphotography.com)

Replica ValleyCats batting helmets and bags of Peanuts & Cracker Jacks used as decorations (and snacks!). (Photo by Joan Heffler, http://joanhefflerphotography.com)

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Community outreach was also a topic of discussion at the MiLB Promo Seminar in Reno as ‘Cats AGM, Matt Callahan, moderated a round table discussion about the importance of MiLB teams remaining active in their communities. Callahan shared details about the team (and BlueShield’s) Community Grounds Crew which was also a key to the ‘Cats Van Rensselaer Award.

The view from the seminar hotel looks out across Reno, the famous Golden Nugget Casino, and the mountains.

Each morning, attendees were welcomed to a Trade Show Breakfast with exhibitors displaying software solutions, promotional items, mascot costumes, and entertainment acts. This is a smaller scale than the Baseball Winter Meetings but still offers a good chance to learn about some of the new items/technology available to the industry.

Every club in Reno was asked to share their best promotion or theme night as part of the “Around the Horn” segment. This always produces some interesting ideas such as “Salute to Bacon Night” and a helicopter candy drop . . . some promotions are easier to implement than others.

The seminar also included smaller presentations by team executives or panels and clubs nominated for promotional awards had the opportunity to state their case prior to the winners being selected on Thursday morning.

The Reno Aces, Triple A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, were the host club and proudly showcased their ballpark with a reception for their peers on Thursday night. Aces Ballpark is a 6,500 fixed-seat stadium that was completed in 2009. Located in downtown Reno, the stadium is flanked by an active railroad and the beautiful Truckee River . . . both visible from the park’s 360 degree walkway.

Downtown buildings and mountains help frame the ballpark, which has several unique picnic areas , including this patio located above the wall in left field.

. . . and a sunken Dugout Club section located directly behind homeplate.

The Freight House District was added adjacent to suite level as “Phase II” in 2010. This area boasts several unique bars that are even open to the public on non-game days. MiLB Execs were treated to food, drinks, and entertainment in this area which was one of the social highlights of week.

Overall, the MiLB Promotional Seminar is an outstanding learning opportunity that allows clubs to discuss best practices as well as promotions or themes that fans may enjoy in their individual markets. It’s also a great chance to catch up with colleagues and friends following the MiLB season.

Speaking of promotions…that was a big topic of discussion at the ValleyCats annual strategic planning meetings last week. Tomorrow’s post will outline some new ideas discussed, and we’ll be asking for input on what you would like to see happen at “The Joe” in 2013!

Awards & Offseason Potpourri

It’s been exactly one month since the 2012 regular season came to a close, and over three weeks since the ‘Cats lost in the final game of the NYPL championship series to the Hudson Valley Renegades.

There were many great moments throughout the season. One of them occurred on the road in Brooklyn when ‘Cats MVP first baseman Jesse Wierzbicki came through in the clutch during the top of the 11th inning. Wierzbicki belted a two-run go-ahead homer to give the ‘Cats the victory.

There was something else very significant about that homer. It completed the cycle for Wierzbicki, becoming the first in ValleyCats history to accomplish that feat.

That game has been nominated for Game of the Year by MiLB.com’s MiLBY Awards. Click here to vote now>>

We’ve also learned that Assistant General Manager Matt Callahan has been honored with this year’s  Sam Nader Male Executive/Staff Member of the Year Award by the New York-Penn League. Congratulations Matt!

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“So what do you guys do now?”

It’s a recurring question that all of us in the front office begin to hear at the completion of each season. The last few weeks has been a time to regroup, re-energize and decompress from the daily grind of the season. It’s nice to be back on a regular work schedule.

Our staff is currently working on putting together seasonal reviews known as “POP’s” or “Proof of Performance’s for our 2012 partners. We will meet with them and go over what they liked or may want to change in 2013.

GM Rick Murphy & Assistant GM Matt Callahan spent this past week in Reno, NV for the Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar. It is known as “the stomping grounds for many of the most creative minds.” The three day Seminar allows professionals from all across the sports industry to come together to share and exchange ideas on topics ranging from sales to marketing to stadium operations, amongst many others.

Rick & Matt will bring back plenty of ideas that we will all be able to discuss during our own Strategic Planning meetings next week at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy. During this time our entire front office staff will sit down and discuss finances, food and beverage, community & media relations, stadium operations, marketing strategy, promotions and much more. Each department will report on the successes and shortcomings from this past season, and brainstorm for 2013.

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The month of October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a few weeks ago, ValleyCats representative Chris Dawson presented the Women’s Health Center at Samaritan Hospital with a check for $2,628. That is total amount raised from our pink jersey auction held during our Breast Cancer Awareness Day in July.

(Regina Fendorak, Manager, Women’s Health Center at Samaritan Hospital, Chris Dawson, Tri-City ValleyCats Account Executive)

Meanwhile, improvements to the stadium’s concourse are underway. Although you wouldn’t be able to tell, the stadium is approaching 12 years old. We pride ourselves on having a clean and safe environment for our fans, and these renovations stick with that philosophy.

Crews have removed old concrete from our concourse, which is being replaced with a new level surface.

While improvements are being made, our stadium operations and food & beverage crews have been busy taking down all signage, packing up the kids zone, cleaning the suites, food kiosks and concession stands, and winterizing everything for storage.

SouthPaw’s Den transformed into the offseason lounge.

The Kids Zone is HVCC’s parking lot during the offseason.

The Hudson Valley Community College baseball program has also taken over use of the facility, and is conducting fall tryouts.

Hanging on the bulletin board in the clubhouse:

Media Relations Manager Chris Chenes has been cleaning the press box, and stumbled across a bunch of old Major League Baseball Media Guides.

Stay tuned early next week for photos from the Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar!

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