The ValleyCats had a special guest for Saturday’s game as baseball great, Tommy John joined us for a fundraiser to benefit ALS. He mingled with guests and signed autographs in the Diamond Club for this special meet & greet. This event was in conjunction with the Strike Out Lou Gehrig’s Disease program, an official initiative of Minor League Baseball Charities.
Kathy Leahy, Executive Director of the ALS Association of Upstate New York, was on hand to help educate our fans about this terrible disease. Did you know that men and women who have served in the military are twice as likely to develop ALS?
Madeline Kennedy, a local woman who is fighting ALS, also delivered a stirring speech about her battle with this disease. Madeline was one of the driving forces behind Iron Horse Ale, a limited release specialty beer brewed by our friends at Brown’s. This is part of a national fundraising project called Ales for ALS with a portion of the proceeds donated to the ALS Therapy Development Institute. This beer is available exclusively at “The Joe” while supplies last.
Tommy John also spoke and explained his connection to the disease through his good friend, the late Catfish Hunter. While Hunter was famous for pitching nine innings, he called upon Tommy and others to be his bullpen in the fight against ALS.
‘Cats manager, Ed Romero, and Tommy John were used to facing each other on opposite sides of the Red Sox/Yankee rivalry but caught up for a friendly chat on the field prior to the game.
Saturday night was also our annual Superheroes/Community Heroes Night. Speaking of superheroes, we were joined by a local legend, Joe Sinnott with Spider-Man and Black Widow accompanying him. Joe has been a comic book artist for over sixty years with work on the original Fantastic Four and the current Spider-Man comics in newspaper. Joe honored us with a ceremonial first pitch and fans donned their favorite superhero costumes adding to the atmosphere throughout the ballpark.
This game was also a way to pay tribute to those who protect and serve throughout the Capital Region community. Thank you to all the police, fire, and first responder personnel for the work that you do. If you know a community hero, make sure that you nominate them for the Home Run Community Heroes award presented by E. Stewart Jones Law Firm and the ValleyCats. Nomination forms here.
As always, the Mayors and Drag Teams joined the fun and enlisted a little help from their super friends.
On the field , the ‘Cats were three outs away from a victory, until the Spinners connected for a grand slam in the top of the 9th that proved to be the difference in a 4-3 loss for the ValleyCats. Andrew Thurman and Michael Feliz combined for 8.1 IP with just one earned run and three hits. Michael Martinez hit his second home run of the year for the ValleyCats, who dropped to 13-7.
The ‘Cats welcome the Aberdeen Ironbirds to town for a 5:00 PM start on Sunday Funday. This game will feature another installment of our Summer Reading program along with a pre-game catch for kids at 4:00 PM and an opportunity to run the bases post-game. The team will also be wearing specialty jerseys to be auctioned off to benefit the American Cancer Society. Join us at “The Joe” for a chance to bid on a game-worn jersey from your favorite ValleyCats player!