January 2013

Happy Birthday Jackie!

Today would have been Jackie Robinson’s 94th birthday, which gives us the opportunity to revisit Sunday, July 18, 2010. That night we celebrated the legacy of Jackie Robinson – the first African-American in the modern era to play in the major leagues.

As part of  “Jackie Robinson Tribute Night” at “The Joe,” in conjunction with the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the first 4,000 fans through the gates received a Jackie Robinson Hall of Fame plaque postcard.

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The Hall also brought Robinson’s original bronze Hall of Fame plaque that hung in the Museum’s famous Plaque Gallery from 1962 – the year Robinson was elected to the Hall of Fame – until 2008. In ’08, the below plaque was replaced with an updated one that further documented his lasting legacy on the game.

Jackie Robinson Original Plaque

Jorge De Leon poses with the original Jackie Robinon Hall of Fame plaque.

Jorge De Leon poses with the original Jackie Robinson Hall of Fame plaque.

As you notice above, the team all wore #42 Dodger-style uniforms.

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The jerseys were auctioned off during the game, with proceeds going to the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation to use for local field renovation projects.

Ben Orloff presenting his game-worn jersey.

Ben Orloff presenting his game-worn jersey.

The grounds crew even painted a red star on the field with “42” in the middle.

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Minor League Baseball President Pat O’ Conner was in attendance and threw out a ceremonial first pitch.

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Staff from the Hall of Fame’s Education Department was on hand with information about the Museum’s outreach and membership programs, along with information about Jackie Robinson and key lessons from the Hall of Fame’s cultural diversity education programs.

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As for the game, the ValleyCats appropriately hosted the Brooklyn Cyclones.

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The ‘Cats lost the game 7-6 in 10 innings. This was just about the point in the season where the ‘Cats turned it around and began the special run towards their New York-Penn League Championship title. The ‘Cats went on to sweep Brooklyn in the championship series.

A New Recovery!


The blueprints for the new Recovery Sports Grill restaurant in Guilderland are extensive and complicated, but they are the start of something special.

Living in the Capital Region, sports fans are all aware of the Recovery Sports Grill restaurants that provide both kids and adults a great place to grab a bite to eat, relax and watch a game.

They most recently opened a new location in Queensbury, bringing their total number of Capital Region locations to seven. That number won’t last for long though, as they plan on opening their eighth location in Guilderland just in time for the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.

One of the unique features about all of the Recovery restaurants is the abundance of sports memorabilia and photos that hang from ceiling to floor. If you’ve been to the Troy location, you have seen plenty of ValleyCats items scattered throughout the restaurant.

On Monday in Guilderland, they began to lay the floor graphics, and ‘Cats Media Relations Manager Chris Chenes stopped by to help pick a great spot for the ValleyCats logo!



And with that, the logos of other local and pro teams, as well as graphics of different sports were placed on the rest of the available space.





Once all the graphics (made of a light paper mesh material) are laid, another clear layer will be placed on top. The entire process takes about one week to complete.

The next step in the interior development process will be to hang photos and memorabilia on the wall. Look for a ValleyCats jersey, shown below being framed.

Jersey being framed

Then the ceiling, which is empty for now, will have numerous items hanging from every beam.


The man behind the entire design process is John Palmeri, Sports Information Director for BBL Hospitality. John is a huge sports fan, rooting adamantly for the New York Giants, New York Mets and the Tri-City ValleyCats!


Each Recovery Sports Grill has a special theme for the local sports team(s) that are closest to it. Since this location is right down the road from UAlbany, an entire wall is painted purple and gold. Of course, John is careful to make sure their cross-town rival Siena has a spot as well.


Check out this great panoramic photo of the interior (Click the photo to view it’s full size):


We’ll keep you updated on the progress as it moves along!

Four former ‘Cats on World Baseball Classic rosters

On Thursday, all 16 provisional rosters for the upcoming World Baseball Classic were revealed. Four former ValleyCats will represent their country. Murilo Gouvea (’10) with Brazil, Jimmy Van Ostrand (’06) with Canada, Antonio Noguera (’08, ’09) with Spain and Ben Zobrist (’04) with USA.

In addition, ‘Cats ’11-’12 manager Stubby Clapp will be a member of the coaching staff for Canada.

Special mention should go out to four other former ‘Cats who represented their country during the qualifying rounds, but failed to reach the first round. Douglas Arguello (’05-’06) with Nicaragua, Dayan Diaz (’11) with Columbia, Alex Sogard (’10) with Czech Republic and Ben Orloff (’10) with Israel.

The tournament begins on March 2 when Brazil faces two-time defending champion Japan in Fukuoka, Japan.

Team USA begins play on March 8 facing off against Mexico at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ. They are a member of the Arizona bracket that also includes Canada and Italy.

MLB Network will broadcast all 39 games. The championship series will take place March 17-19 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Happy New Year! Think baseball!

Happy New Year ‘Cats fans! With the turn of the calendar comes the official countdown to Spring Training and then our 2013 summer season! Sure it’s going to be a cold next two months, but with the thoughts of baseball in our minds, it will warm us right up!

With that said, as of January 11 there are just 32 days left until pitchers & catchers report to Spring Training and 157 days until the ‘Cats home opener at “The Joe!”


‘Cats coaches feature fresh faces

Field Staff 2013 Media Wall

The Houston Astros announced the ValleyCats 2013 field staff this past week, and it includes new faces. Replacing Stubby Clapp as ‘Cats skipper is Ed Romero. Romero will be the ‘Cats sixth manager since they arrived in Troy in 2002.

Stubby has left the Houston organization to join the Toronto organization. He will serve as hitting coach for the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League, taking him back to his Canadian roots. Clapp played one season with the Blue Jays Triple-A team in 2004.

Stubby on the move:

“I’m going back to hitting. I liked managing, but hitting is my passion with the game. To be part of the Toronto system again and maybe have an opportunity at some time down the line to get back to Toronto would be great.”

Doug White replaces Rick Aponte as pitching coach. White comes to the ValleyCats from the St. Louis Cardinals’ system. Last year he was the pitching coach for the Johnson City Cardinals, their Rookie League team.

Russ Steinhorn is the ‘Cats new hitting coach, joining the Astros organization from the college ranks. He was an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator for Delaware State. The only returning member of the field staff will be athletic trainer Michael Rendon.

Here’s Romero’s bio from the Houston Astros 2012 media guide:

The 2012 season will be Ed Romero’s second as the manager of the GCL Astros. He previously served as the manager for Rookie Level Greeneville in 2010, bench coach for the Astros big league club in 2009, and as the Astros third base coach during the 2008 season.

Romero previously spent three seasons with the Florida Marlins (2005-07) as the organization’s roving infield coordinator. Before his tenure with the Marlins, Romero spent eight years as a minor league manager and instructor with the Milwaukee Brewers organization, including stints as a manager for Double A El Paso (1998), Double A Huntsville (2001) and Triple A Indianapolis
(2002). He led Huntsville to the Southern League co-championship in 2001. Romero spent five of those eight years with Milwaukee as its minor league infield instructor (1997, 1999, 2000, 2003-04).

Romero’s 21-year coaching career also features a six-season tenure with the San Diego Padres, including five seasons as a Class A manager and one as a minor league infield coordinator (1991). He also managed seven seasons in the Puerto Rican Winter League (1994, 1996-98, 2000, 2003 and 2004).

In 730 career Major League games from 1977-90, Romero hit .247 (473×1912) with eight home runs and 155 RBI. He played in the Majors for four clubs: Milwaukee (1977-85, ‘89), Boston (1986-89), Atlanta (1989) and Detroit (1990). A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Romero played in four American League Championship Series; with Milwaukee (1981-82) and Boston (1986-88). He also played in the World Series for the Brewers in 1982 and for the Red Sox in 1986. Romero is married to Ivonne and the couple has two children, son Eddie Jr. and daughter Ariana K.

Doug White’s 2012 St. Louis Cardinals media guide bio:

Doug White is in his fifth season as a Cardinals minor league pitching coach and fourth at Johnson City. In 2008, he was pitching coach for the New York-Penn League champion Batavia MuckDogs.

White’s 2011 staff led the Appalachian League in walks+hits/innings pitched (WHIP) and combined for the second-best ERA en route to back-to-back Appy League championships.

White has extensive experience as a pitching instructor and is the founder of “Passion for Pitching” clinics he runs out of Southern California.

He recently served as a pitching instructor for a Major League Baseball International sponsored clinic in Peru. He was the pitching coach for manager Jack Clark at Mid-Missouri of the Independent Frontier League in 2004. White also was the extended spring training and Gulf Coast League pitching coach for the Expos in 2003.

White is a 2002 graduate of Arizona State University in Broadcast Journalism and is a certified personal trainer. He made an appearance on the ABC reality TV show “Dating in the Dark” during the summer of 2009.

Russ Steinhorn’s 2012 Delware State bio:

Steinhorn returns to Delaware State after spending the 2011 season at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  Steinhorn serves as recruiting coordinator and plays a key role in directing the team’s offensive and defensive strategies.

In 2011 at UNCG Steinhorn, was in charge of the outfielders along with assisting with pitchers and hitters.  UNCG had a 34-20 overall record and was second in the Southern Conference with a  22-8 mark in league play.   Off the field Steinhorn was the camp coordinator, assisted with recruiting, academic advisement, travel and scheduling.

In 2009, Steinhorn’s first year at Delaware State, the Hornet pitching staff showed a marked improvement from the previous year. The pitchers lowered the overall team ERA 3.29 runs under his direction. Two Hornets pitchers were selected to the 2009 All-MEAC First-Team All Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference honors, including Dan Perkins, who was voted as the league’s  Pitcher of the Year. Perkins was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 2009 Major League Baseball draft. .

Prior to coaching at Delaware State, Steinhorn served as the pitching coach for the Allegany County Nitros in the New York Collegiate Baseball League. He also coached one year at his alma mater Edgewater High School in Orlando, Fla.  At Edgewater he coached seven players that signed NCAA Division I scholarships and four players who were taken in the MLB First-Year Player Draft.  Overall, Steinhorn has coached over 15 players that have been drafted or signed free agent contracts to play professional baseball.

Steinhorn graduated from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla. A pitcher and utility player, he helped lead the team to four NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association) National Championships. During his final season, he was 5-1 with a 2.70 ERA on the mound, while hitting .373 at the plate.

Steinhorn graduated from Southeastern University in May of 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in middle grades mathematics education and a minor in religious studies.  In May of 2011, Steinhorn graudated from Delaware State University with a Masters Degree in Sports Administration.

ValleyCats Media Relations Manager Chris Chenes will be making his annual trip to Spring Training in March and will interview all the ‘Cats new coaches as well as some former players. All content will be posted on ‘Cats Corner during his daily blog posts from March 22-25.


Children’s Hospital Visit

Throughout the offseason, SouthPaw enjoys making visits all around the Capital Region, but one in particular is very special to him. That’s the visit to the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center. He enjoys cheering up the children and their families!

SouthPaw Childrens Hospital Sign

SouthPaw Childrens Hospital Child Visit


Strike Out Bullying!

Sticking with the theme of children, the ValleyCats mascots have been asked to perform their anti-bullying skit in front of students at Schodack Elementary School. This stems from their recent performance at School 14 in Troy. In case you missed it, here’s the video:

For more information on the ‘Cats Strike Out Bullying campaign, visit the page below:

ValleyCats Strike Out Bullying!


Community Grounds Crew: ‘4 in 24’

Community Grounds Crew Wall

With spring fast approaching, the ‘Cats front office is busy putting together all the logistics for this years ‘4 in 24’ field renovation, the kick-off event for the 2013 Community Grounds Crew program. Official information will be announced in the coming weeks and the application will be available on the ValleyCats website.

Click the link below for more information on the ValleyCats Community Grounds Crew program and the history of their field renovations.

Community Grounds Crew page


Promo Planning

Get ready for an exciting experience at “The Joe” in 2013! Right now we’re putting together all of the pieces for the 2013 summer promotional schedule.

This will be the 12th season of ValleyCats baseball and we’ll be welcoming in our 1.5 millionth fan through the gates at some point in early July! It seemed just like yesterday that we welcomed our one millionth fan.

Here are a few things you can expect during the 2013 season: 14 fireworks nights, two bobblehead giveaways, improved postgame launch-a-ball, new & exciting in-between inning promotions, new & improved concession items and much more! We expect to release the full promotional schedule in mid-February.


Internship Interest

Internship Program_Catathalon Wall

This time of year our front office staff is sifting through internship applications from college students throughout the country. As we stress each season, interns are a key cog in our operation during the summer months. Aside from receiving valuable work experience, our internship program emphasizes professional development with internal competitions, guest speakers and professional networking.

Are you a college student interested in working in professional baseball?? Check out our Internship Page for more information on available positions for the 2013 season.


Own a piece of history!

Away Jersey Auction Wall

In order to provide our 2013 team with brand new road jerseys, we’re selling the old ones. That’s right, you can own the very same jersey worn by your Tri-City ValleyCats on the road from 2005-2012. That’s three Stedler Division Championship teams, one New York-Penn League Championship team and a record setting 2012 team.

2006 NYPL Championship in Staten Island.

2006 NYPL Championship in Staten Island.


2010 New York-Penn League Champions

2012 Stedler Division Champions, record breaking 51 regular season wins.

2012 Stedler Division Champions, record breaking 51 regular season wins.

All of the jerseys are being sold for just $100.

Supply is limited and going fast. Click here to see which jerseys are left.


‘Cats Calendars!


If you’re a ValleyCats season ticket, mini-plan or flex-plan holder, stop by Joseph L. Bruno Stadium during the month of January and we’ll give you a 2013 ValleyCats wall calendar, complete with their 2013 home schedule! Supply is limited.

We’ll complete this week’s blog post with the calendar photo for the month of June. A beautiful shot during the National Anthem, with the ValleyCats standing at attention facing the U.S. Navy Color Guard. All of the photos that appear in the 2013 calendar were shot by Greg Fisher with http://www.sportsthroughthelens.com/

Navy Players Anthem