November 2012

Latest news & happenings from inside the ‘Cats front office

First, we hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! The calendar is turning over into December, and the holiday season is here. It truly is “the most wonderful time of the year.” Well, maybe second to the months of June-September.

We’ve been pretty busy around the front office, making sure we get out into the community & interact with our fans. On Black Friday, Ketchup, Mustard & Relish were located right next to Johnny Rockets in Crossgates Mall handing out 2013 schedules.

Hot Dogs Backdrop Mall

SouthPaw strolled through the mall and posed for pictures with some fans. Well, those who weren’t in a rush to get to the next store.

SouthPaw group of kids

SouthPaw with Family

SouthPaw ATT Store

He even stopped by other areas that caught his interest.

SouthPaw Whiskers ABL TableSouthPaw Pet Store 2SouthPaw Pet Store 1

This past Wednesday we visited School 14 in Troy to perform our brand new anti-bullying skit. Next week we will unveil the performance, so stay tuned to ‘Cats Corner for that.

This morning, some of us cooked breakfast at the Ronald McDonald House in Albany. It’s something we truly enjoy to do each year.

FruitJess SausagesCooking Wide ShotSweeney BaconJess Potatoes
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Now that our 2013 schedule has been released, we are working on finalizing the dates for our fireworks. We’ll have our new 2013 calendars just in time for our holiday party here at the office. Here’s a sneak peek at the cover:
2013 Calendar Cover

There will be many different ways to get your hands on one of them. We’ll keep you posted.

Next week is the Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, TN, and while the major league side of the business is busy discussing trades, the minor leagues will be focused on trade shows, seminars, networking and a whole lot more.

For in-depth coverage of the minor league baseball portion of the meetings, Ben’s Biz Blog is a great place to read daily updates.

Our General Manager Rick Murphy, Assistant GM Matt Callahan, Fan Development Manager Michelle Skinner and Account Executive Michael Johnson are all attending the meetings. We’ll recap their trip once they return.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out our starting lineup of great ValleyCats gift ideas, make sure you do before December 19. Leading off is our Mystery Gift Card Mini-Plan Package. With the purchase of a 2013 six game mini-plan package now through the 19th, you will receive a mystery gift card ranging in amounts from $5 to $25. Click here to view the starting lineup>>

Season of giving: From Coney Island to India

The air has turned brisk, the days are getting shorter and we are already starting to hear Christmas music on the radio. That can only mean one thing. The season of giving is upon us. Thanksgiving is next week and we should all be grateful for everything we have in life, while also helping those in need. Which is the theme of this week’s blog post.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast at the end of October, the destruction that followed was unfathomable. The northeast is not used to these types of storms. We’ve seen what hurricanes can do in Florida, New Orleans and Louisiana, and what earthquakes can do in California, but this one hit home.

Our area was spared for the most part, but our friends only a few hours south of us were left with their homes and businesses destroyed, loved ones lost and a tremendous recovery effort ahead of them.

Many of our front office staff members have friends and family in parts of New York City, Long Island and New Jersey, or have vacationed there growing up. Each year our team visits the Brooklyn Cyclones in Coney Island and the Staten Island Yankees. Both areas that were hit hard from Sandy.

Like so many others, we felt a need to help in any way possible. First we sent down generators, extension chords and gasoline along with the Hudson Valley Renegades, to the homes of our friends who were in need.

Then we asked the Capital Region community to donate clothes and supplies that we would take down to Coney Island. Our community came through in the clutch! We filled almost half of our box office in three days, loaded it all in a van and headed down to assist with the recovery effort.

Here’s the van all loaded up and ready to go:

The drive down wasn’t too bad, but once we arrived in Coney Island, we witnessed first hand what a natural disaster can do. We pulled into the parking lot at MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, where FEMA and the Red Cross were stationed. Lines of people waited for hot food and warm clothes.

The volunteers handing out clothing and supplies were thrilled to see us arrive, and about ten people helped us unload the van and sort the items to be given out to the lines of people waiting. Once an item was placed on the table, it wasn’t more than 30 seconds before it was taken.

After the van was unloaded, we parked and took a walk around MCU Park and the boardwalk. Many of the sights we saw, have been featured all over the internet and television.

We proceeded to Tom’s Restaurant on the boardwalk to first eat lunch and then sign in to help volunteer. We were assigned to a deli located about three blocks from the boardwalk to help clear the back courtyard of the store from all the debris and ruined food/supplies from the shelves.

Obviously it was a huge mess, and something that would take weeks to clean up, but we did our best to clear out a whole section.

The National Guard has units stationed throughout the area, and at this time they were heading to a residential apartment building.

As we finished up at the deli, Pablo (the owner) thanked us for our work and we headed back to the van. One thing that was a common theme throughout the visit was the overall sense of neighbors helping neighbors. As we walked through the streets, churches were handing out clothes and hot food, groups of people were cleaning out stores and houses, and everyone was in good spirits with a “we’re in this together” attitude. The trip was extremely rewarding and we were just glad to be able to do what we can for an area in desperate need of the help.

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Now we take you on a journey from New York, to a place halfway across the world: Hyderabad, India.

Dan Carubia, one of our ushers and a long time employee, is a board member of the Friends of Christ in India organization, and he made a trip to a less-fortunate area of Hyderabad.

Dan visited the “School of Wheels,” which is a school bus that comes to the area every day for two hours to provide food & drinks and teach the children English.

Before Dan left, we gave him a box full of ValleyCats hats to hand out to the children. How about that, ValleyCats fans in India!

Dan standing in the middle behind the group of children:

He then stopped at a youth hostile, and handed out hats there also.

Next time your at the stadium this upcoming summer, be sure to say hello to Dan and ask him about his trip.

We hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Operation Sandy Relief: Coney Island

Today we are headed down to Coney Island in Brooklyn to bring all of the items donated by members of the Capital Region community to those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The amount of donations we received in just three days is unbelievable! It shows just how great members of the Capital Region community are, and how much they want to help their neighbors to the south.

Check out this cargo van full of donations!!

‘Cats Fan Development Manager Michelle Skinner helping to load the van to Coney Island.

We are honored to be transporting all of the items, and will also be volunteering our time as part of Coneyrecovers.org (#ConeyRecovers).

Coney Island is home to our New York-Penn League friends & neighbors, the Brooklyn Cyclones. A FEMA mobile command unit has been stationed in their parking lot since the storm ended.

We are excited to be heading down & can’t wait to help out! Some of the best help can come through cash donations. ConeyRecovers has set up a fund to helping Coney Island recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.  They are accepting cash contributions to help Coney residents, businesses, and community groups in their time of need.  100 percent of these funds will go to storm relief and recovery efforts.

Click here for more information on how you can help.

2012 ValleyCats Mayors Race Poll

It’s time to take a break from the Presidential election and focus on our 2012 ValleyCats Mayors Race! We want YOU to vote for your favorite Mayors Race of 2012! We’ve narrowed it down to five, now we need your help deciding the winner!

One lucky voter will win four tickets to a 2013 ValleyCats game as well as a team autographed baseball!

Watch the video below, which is broken up into five different races. Then vote for your favorite in the poll box under the video.

Fill out the form below to be eligible to win four tickets to a 2013 ValleyCats game as well as a team autographed baseball!

Capital District Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, golf outing and a helping hand!

On Sunday 10/28, members of the Capital Region baseball community gathered together to celebrate the history of baseball in this area while inducting a new class into the Capital District Baseball Hall of Fame.

The event was held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy. The room was decorated with memorabilia, photos & jerseys.

24 were inducted, seven of which are deceased. The list includes Baltimore Orioles prospect and Troy native Joe Mahoney, former minor leaguer/scout/New York State Governor Mario Cuomo, former Albany-Colonie Diamond Dog/Adirondack Lumberjack/current UAlbany baseball head coach Jon “Bam Bam” Mueller, long-time Capital District umpire Brendan Ryan, scouts John Stewart and John Stokoe, among many others.

Mahoney couldn’t make the induction ceremony because he had to fly back to Baltimore ahead of Hurricane Sandy, but his father and sister graciously accepted the award on his behalf.

Former Governor Mario Cuomo couldn’t attend either, but he did send a nice letter thanking the nomination committee as well as congratulating all of the inductees. His son/current NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo also sent a letter congratulating the inductees.

Here is a photo of the former Governor, Mario Cuomo as a member of the St. Johns University baseball team:

The night was filled with storytelling and tears from memories of the past. It perfectly exemplified how baseball is such a tight-knit community where friendships are formed, and last forever.

It also proves that the Capital District has such a long history with the game of baseball. From the Troy Haymakers and Albany Senators, to the Albany-Colonie Yankees and Tri-City ValleyCats.

On this night, our President/Principal Owner Bill Gladstone was honored with the Johnny Evers Community Contributor Award. Bill was also unable to attend due to the storm, but sent a letter of thanks that was read by Master of Ceremonies Rodger Wyland. ValleyCats General Manager Rick Murphy graciously accepted the award on his behalf.

The final inductee of the night was UAlbany baseball head coach Jon “Bam Bam” Mueller. A native of Stillwater, Mueller played professionally in the minor leagues from 1994-2000 in the Northeast and Northern Leagues with the Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs, Adirondack Lumberjacks and Marshall (Minn.) Mallards.

His speech provided the most entertainment of the evening and stirred up many laughs from the over 300 in attendance.

Overall, it was a special event and a very interesting evening. None of it would have been possible if it were not for the efforts of Rene LeRoux, the Executive Director of the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame. Rene puts in countless hours doing research on possible candidates, as well as planning the induction ceremony.

Here are a few more photos from the event:

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Last week we also had our annual Front Office Golf Open at the Stadium Golf Course in Schenectady. The venue was a perfect tie-in, as the grounds used to be home to McNearney Stadium and the Schenectady Blue Jays.

Here is a photo of the old stadium and the 1947 team, hanging on the wall inside the clubhouse:

As well as the certificate of membership into the Eastern League:

As for the golf, the office was split up into four teams, playing a scramble format. It was a tight competition, as the winning team won by just one stroke (-3).

The winning team consisted of Client Service Assistants Scott Hildreth and Greg Dietz, GM Rick Murphy and Media/Production Manager Chris Chenes.

Here’s a group shot from just off of the 18th tee:

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Last, but certainly not least, we are all aware of the devastation that Hurricane Sandy caused to our friends downstate. One of the hardest hit areas was Coney Island in Brooklyn.

The homes of some front office staffers from the Cyclones were severely damaged, so the Hudson Valley Renegades organized a group of volunteers to go down and help them out.

We assisted by sending a truck full of extra generators, air blowers, extension chords and gasoline down to the Renegades to take with them to Brooklyn.

The New York-Penn League is a tight community, and although our teams may be rivals on the field, our front office teams are very close off the field. Our thoughts are with all those effected, and we hope for a speedy recovery.

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