Nightly Recaps: July 4th and July 5th
The excitement started early on Thursday as the #1 overall pick in the MLB draft, Mark Appel, was welcomed to Tri-City with a pre-game press conference in the Diamond Club. Mark met the Capital Region media with his family in attendance and was introduced by ValleyCats Vice President/General Manager, Rick Murphy, before team President, Bill Gladstone, gave him his #28 jersey. Manager, Ed Romero, was also on hand to talk about Appel joining the team.
A packed house of 6,384 fans created a patriotic atmosphere as we celebrated Independence Day at “The Joe” on Thursday night. The homestand, kicked off with a bang . . . literally! Fireworks were the theme of the night and punctuated a great anthem rendition by Lucy Gladstone.
Sunmark FCU was the game sponsor with representative Jay Singh throwing out a ceremonial first pitch.
The Tri-City Mayors got into the spirit with patriotic garb and a throw down to James Brown’s “Living in America.” Nice moves fellas! Hot dog eating champion, Joey Chestnut, had room for one more hot dog as he took off with relish during the Helmbold’s Hot Dog Race.
On the field , the ‘Cats fell to the Lowell Spinners, 4-2. It was the second straight loss for the ‘Cats, who struggled getting the timely hit. The ValleyCats fell to 12-6 on the season after the Lowell victory.
Following the game and the 25 Silver Ball Launch, we had our annual July 4th fireworks display set to a soundtrack of patriotic music. As always, the Price Chopper fireworks were a hit!
The ‘Cats were back at it on Friday for the much anticipated professional debut of Mark Appel. Authenticators from Major League Baseball were in the house to verify and collect an assortment of game used items; including: baseballs, lineup cards, dirt from the pitchers mound, and of course Mark’s hat and jersey. It was interesting to see this process unfold as they preserved this memorabilia in the dugout and clubhouse.
Friday’s game was presented by CSEA and was also our annual Veterans Night. The Albany & Stratton VA Medical Hospital was on hand for a “Welcome Home” celebration and provided 1,000 tickets for veterans of all eras.
The pre-game ceremonies began with the unveiling of a seat in Section 100 that was dedicated to military personnel who were taken as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action. This seat will never be sold and will be symbol of those who sacrificed their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy. ‘Cats VP/GM, Rick Murphy, was joined by Army veterans (and ValleyCats ushers), Mike Pickett and Joe Carl, for the dedication.
Donald Stuart, Associate Director of the VA, was joined by several other veterans employed by the VA, as he welcomed the veterans in attendance and invited them to stand. ValleyCats fans gave them a wonderful ovation to thank them for their service to our nation.
Students from the Music Studio also performed a tribute to veterans on the field as part of the festivities.
Sergeant First Class Glenn Read, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, was honored with a ceremonial first pitch. Airman First Class, Lauren Minholz, in the 109th Airwing, was also recognized and fired a first pitch strike of her own.
Prior to the National Anthem, the Patriot Guard Riders entered the field and formed a flag line on the warning track. They rode on to a standing ovation and made for a phenomenal visual. The Army National Guard presented the colors and Vietnam veteran, Freddie Ingleton, invited the crowd to join him in the singing of our National Anthem.
The tribute to veterans continued throughout the night with Airman Minholz doing her best to drill the Tri-City Mayors into shape. Another veteran, E.J. Haley, provided a stirring rendition of God Bless America during the 7th inning and the post-game fireworks once again featured a patriotic soundtrack.
On the field , Appel went two innings in his debut, allowing two runs on three hits. After the game, he said that overall, he was pleased with the outing. The ‘Cats came back three different times against the Spinners, and won the game in the 10th inning on a wild play. With a runner at third, ‘Cats catcher Luis Alvarez swung and missed at a two-strike pitch, but it the pitch was wild, and went to the backstop, allowing the winning run to score, as the ValleyCats won, 5-4!