September 2013

Relay at “The Joe!”

On Friday night, we hosted the Rensselaer County Relay For Life at “The Joe” as we joined in the fight against cancer!

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Over 369 people participated in the festivities, raising a total of $56,000 in the fight against cancer!

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The festivities began at 6:30pm with the introduction of the Relay committee members, who put in a number of tireless hours to make the night possible.

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Pat Spain, a cancer survivor born and raised in Wynantskill, NY, was the guest speaker. Spain was the host of National Geographic Channel’s “Beast Hunter” back in 2011.

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(Photo from Relay For Life of Rensselaer County Facebook page)

Following Spain’s impactful speech was the survivor lap, where all the cancer survivors in attendance walked around the warning track, and were greeted by their family and friends.

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Tons of activities took place throughout the night including Zumba, a scavenger hunt, water balloon toss, poker lap, trivia, musical chairs, frozen t-shirt contest, and more!

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At 9:30, the Luminaria Ceremony began. Following the reading of a few different inspirational poems, bags symbolizing those who lost their lives to cancer were lit up along the warning track in remembrance. Then, all participants took a lap around the warning track as a music slideshow of pictures was played on the video board remembering those who lost their lives.


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Activities continued throughout the overnight hours, until things wrapped up at 6:30am with breakfast and then the closing ceremonies. Here are a couple great sunrise shots:

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We are glad to have been part of such a great event, and look forward to hosting Relay For Life 2014!

Celebrations Continue!

It’s been just over one week since the ‘Cats hoisted the New York-Penn League Championship Trophy high above their heads after a thrilling victory in the final game of the New York-Penn League Championship Series.

Many fans have asked why the players don’t stick around for a celebration with the hometown fans. The reason is because there are a handful of players who have to report to the Astros spring training complex in Kissimmee, Florida, just two days after the season ends.

Those players that are selected, are going for something known as the Instructional League, commonly referred to as “instructs.” The goal is to enhance the skills of the recent draft picks under close instruction from Astros coaches and coordinators. Other players who may attend include those who are rehabbing injuries, learning new positions, preparing for the Arizona Fall League, etc.

The others are anxious to get back home. Some haven’t seen their family and friends for nine months, other than for maybe a few days in-between the end of their college season and when they were assigned to the ValleyCats.

While all of the players and coaching staff have left, the ‘Cats front office is busy showing off the championship trophy!

Uncle Sam Parade

How convenient that the Uncle Sam Day Parade in Troy occurred just two days after the ‘Cats championship victory! What a great opportunity to show off the new hardware!





Now onto a celebration of a different kind. This past Wednesday, the Ninety Nine Restaurant location on Wolf Road in Colonie, celebrated their 10 year anniversary! It was the first Ninety Nine Restaurant location to open in New York State.

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We have had a tremendous partnership with the Ninety Nine for the past three seasons, and it was our pleasure to be part of the celebration!

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John Buntich, Operations Director at Ninety Nine Restaurants Upstate NY (L), and Charlie Noyes, Vice President of Operations, Ninety Nine Restaurants (R).

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10 percent of the net sales from that day was donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Albany.

Each season, the ‘Cats partner with the Ninety Nine Restaurants on a Kids Eat Free promotion. During the season, the day after a ValleyCats win, all kids eat free at the Capital Region’s six Ninety Nine Restaurant locations!

We can’t wait until next June to kick off this promotion once again!


Finally, many fans have also inquired about championship gear. Our championship t-shirts will be available online and at “The Joe”, on Tuesday, October 1st! We’re also in the planning stages of a complete trophy tour, and will have more championship merchandise in the weeks and months ahead.

The ‘Cats are Champions! Photo Recap

The ‘Cats 2013 season came to a fantastic ending on the night of Thursday, September 12 in State College, PA! The ‘Cats defeated the State College Spikes 4-3 in the winner takes all Game 3 of the New York-Penn League Championship series, to capture their 2nd league title in four years!

The series was an epic battle of the league’s number one team on paper, the State College Spikes, versus a ValleyCats team that boasted two of the top league ERA leaders in Michael Feliz & Kyle Westwood, along with the league’s best defense.

With State College having the best record at 48-27, they had home field advantage. That meant that Game 1 would take place at “The Joe”, and Game 2 and 3 in State College.

'Cats manager Ed Romero and Spikes manager Oliver Marmol meet with the umpires at home plate.

‘Cats manager Ed Romero and Spikes manager Oliver Marmol meet with the umpires at home plate prior to Game 1 at “The Joe.”


The Spikes are introduced.


The ‘Cats look on, as their new Championship Series intro video is played.

Grills gets the ball in Game 1, and gave up just one earned run on two hits, striking out six Spikes batters.

Evan Grills gets the ball, giving up just one earned run on two hits, while striking out six Spikes batters.


Conrad Gregor was one of the best ‘Cats hitters in the playoffs with a .316 avg, two home runs and three RBI in five games.


Gregor also made some great defensive plays at first, including this diving tag to steal a base hit away from the Spikes.


Catcher, Brian Holberton was sent to the ‘Cats from Greeneville for the Championship Series, following an injury to Jake Rodriguez.


Holberton, the Astros 2013 9th round draft selection out of the University of North Carolina, hit a sac fly to put the ‘Cats up 1-0 in the 2nd inning of Game 1.


Brett Booth did the catching for the ‘Cats, and he was fantastic. Here, he saves a run by tagging out Steven Ramos, who tried to knock the ball away but was unsuccessful.

The Spikes took Game 1 of the Championship Series 2-1, in a close extra inning game that came down to a couple of mistakes. Grills made one bad pitch all game long, allowing a home run to Spikes outfielder Mason Katz. Then, in the 11th inning, ‘Cats relief pitcher Edison Frias threw the ball past first base on a sacrifice bunt attempt, allowing the go-ahead and eventual winning run to score.

Following the tough loss, the ‘Cats boarded a bus and headed to State College with hopes of taking the next two ballgames.

Prior to Game 2, the ‘Cats were loose and ready to go. Even though the Spikes held the best home record in the league at 30-8, and had never lost two games in a row at home all season, the team had confidence in their ability to overcome the tough task ahead of them.


Rain was in the forecast for both days, but the ‘Cats/Spikes were able to get both games in. Here, the tarp covers Medlar Field at Lubrano Park in State College, PA prior to Game 2.

'Cats pitcher Troy Scribner throw a football around in the bullpen prior to the game.

‘Cats pitcher Troy Scribner throws a football around in the bullpen with his teammates, prior to the game.

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‘Cats pitchers Evan Grills, Kevin Comer, Andrew Thurman and Troy Scribner pose for a group photo.


‘Cats warming up prior to Game 2.


‘Cats ace and league ERA champion, Michael Feliz warms up prior to his Game 2 start.

'Cats during the National Anthem.

‘Cats during the National Anthem.


Feliz threw 5 2/3 innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, while striking out five Spikes.

Conrad Gregor hits home run

The ‘Cats pounded out 14 hits in Game 2, including a big solo home run from Conrad Gregor, which proved to be the difference in the ballgame.

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Gregor arrives at home plate following his solo blast in the second inning to put the ‘Cats ahead 1-0.


‘Cats reliever, Tyler Brunnemann entered the game for Feliz with runners on first and second and two outs in the 6th inning. He got the final out of that inning, and got the ‘Cats through the 7th.

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During the 6th inning, ‘Cats left fielder Jon Kemmer saved two runs with an over the back catch near the left field wall.

Cats Celebrate

‘Cats closer, Gonzalo Sanudo came on for the 6-out save, which would send the series to a championship deciding Game 3 the following night.

Following the tough loss in Game 1, the ‘Cats victory in Game 2 was a huge confidence booster, as they now stood one game away from being New York-Penn League Champions.

The 2013 ‘Cats were now looking to turn the tables on what happened to the 2012 ‘Cats. Last year, they won Game 1 of the championship series against the Hudson Valley Renegades, but lost the next two.

This year, the ‘Cats were sending Kyle Westwood to the mound for Game 3, who has a better ERA (0.81) than Michael Feliz (1.96), but was a few innings short of the minimum needed to qualify for the league ERA title.

With Westwood on the bump, the team knew they had an excellent shot!

ValleyCats Staff lend a hand

The rain moved out of the area just in time for Game 3. Here, members of the ValleyCats staff assist members of the Spikes staff in rolling up the tarp.

The 'Cats once again were loose prior to the game, engaging in some friendly tussling.

The ‘Cats once again were loose prior to the game, engaging in some friendly tussling.


The football, which seemed to work prior to Game 2, was broken out prior to Game 3 as Evan Grills hikes the ball to pitcher Zachary Dando.


Michael Feliz, Gonzalo Sanudo and Tyler Brunnemann pose for a group photo. All three were instrumental in the ‘Cats championship run.


‘Cats hitting coach Russ Steinhorn leads the way as the ‘Cats stretch prior to Game 3.


Kyle Westwood threw six innings of one-run baseball, giving up six hits while striking out four Spikes.

Chan Moon

The ‘Cats scored four runs in the 6th inning, all on hits that didn’t leave the infield. A few bunts, and some costly Spikes mistakes led to the outburst. Here, Chan Moon attempts a sac bunt, and is safe at first.

Jack Mayfield

‘Cats second baseman Jack Mayfield was inserted into the lineup for Games 2 and 3, and he didn’t disappoint. Mayfield went 4-for-8, with two doubles and a RBI.

Chan Moon came around to score the 'Cats second run in the 6th, the go-ahead run, on a wild pitch from Spikes relieve Victor De Leon.

Moon came around to score the ‘Cats second run of the 6th inning, the go-ahead run, on a wild pitch from Spikes reliever Victor De Leon.


The ‘Cats would turn to their reliable closer Gonzalo Sanudo once again, to attempt the second consecutive 6-out save of the series.

Sanudo would get through the 8th inning easily, but ran into trouble in the 9th. With a 4-1 lead, Sanudo gave up a two-run home run to Mason Katz, and then allowed a single.

A sac bunt would move the tying run into scoring position with one out, but Sanudo proceeded to strike out the next two batters to capture the New York-Penn League Championship for the ‘Cats! It was their second league title in four years.

Here are some photos of the final out, followed by a fitting celebration on the field!


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Jon Kemmer & Conrad Gregor pose with the trophy.


Gonzalo Sanudo.

So that wraps up another season of ValleyCats baseball, an unforgettable season! Championship merchandise will be available very soon, so keep checking our website, for team store updates. To purchase these photos, or from a selection of many others, please visit

We’ll also update you on the latest gear through our Facebook and Twitter pages. A trophy tour is also in the works, so we’ll keep you updated on that as well!

Thanks again to all the fans who came out to “The Joe” this season! We couldn’t have achieved this success without your support!

Championship Workout

The ValleyCats held a brief workout on Monday afternoon, in preparation for Game 1 of the New York-Penn League Championship Series on Tuesday night at “The Joe.” The ‘Cats will face the State College Spikes, affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, in a best-of-three series to determine who will take home the NYPL Championship Cup.

First pitch is set for 7:05pm, and the ‘Cats will send LHP Evan Grills to the mound to face Spikes RHP Arturo Reyes. The ValleyCats and Spikes faced off against each other three times during the regular season, in State College. The ‘Cats were swept 3-0 in the series, but that was a much different team than they are now. The ValleyCats have since added pitchers that include closer Gonzalo Sanudo, set-up man Tyler Brunnemann, Chris Munnelly, Troy Scribner, Justin Hess, Zachary Dando and Krishawn Holley. Position players added include third baseman Tyler White, outfielder Ydarqui Marte and infielder Yonathan Mejia.

Most recently, the ‘Cats have been assigned catcher, Brian Holberton from the Greeneville Astros. Greeneville lost in game 3 of their league championship series, and Holberton had already been home. But when ‘Cats catcher Jake Rodriguez was injured in the game against Aberdeen on Saturday night, Holberton was added as an extra catcher. He looks to be inserted into the Game 1 lineup at designated hitter. Holberton was the 9th round draft selection of the Houston Astros this season out of the University of North Carolina.

The ‘Cats send their ace, Michael Feliz to the mound for Game 2, and if necessary, Kyle Westwood for Game 3.

The workout on Tuesday afternoon was very light, and the team was very loose. They are ready for the challenge that awaits them. Here are some great photos:

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Gonzalo Sanudo & Michael Feliz

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‘Cats pitchers L-R, Edison Frias, Gonzalo Sanudo, Federico Tiburcio, Evan Grills, Michael Feliz, Kevin Comer

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Newest ‘Cats catcher, Brian Holberton

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Hitting coach Russ Steinhorn and manager Ed Romero.

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Michael Feliz

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James Ramsay

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‘Cats veteran infielder Ryan Dineen

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Conrad Gregor

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Gonzalo Sanudo

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Ronnie Mitchell

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Hitting coach Russ Steinhorn looking on as James Ramsay takes BP

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Manager, Ed Romero throws to Group 1

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Dineen, Mitchell, Gregor

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Holberton in the cage

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‘Cats catchers Brian Holberton and Brett Booth

‘Cats are heading to the championship!

The ‘Cats defeated the IronBirds 3-0 on Saturday night at “The Joe,” sweeping the semi-final series of the New York-Penn League playoffs. The ‘Cats now advance to the championship series for the second year in-a-row.

Here are game and celebration photos, shot by team photographer Greg Fisher ( / Check out his webpage for more photos, or to purchase the copies of those below.

Lineup Introductions


Moon SouthPaw High Five


Kyle Westwood had a dominant starting performance.

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Ryan Dineen and Chan Moon turn a crucial double play

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Tyler White Big Play

Third baseman Tyler White with a huge defensive play

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Mitchell Big Double

Ronnie Mitchell led-off the 7th inning with a double

Mitchell Big Double Advances to Third

Mitchell advanced to third on a throwing error

Kemmer Big Double 2

Jon Kemmer came through with a clutch double to left in the 7th inning, scoring Mitchell, and the first run of the game.

Kemmer Big Double

Sanudo Pitching

‘Cats closer, Gonzalo Sanudo came on for a 2-inning save.

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Sanudo celebrates the victory!

Sanudo Group Embrace

Moon Gregor Champagne






‘Cats Clinch on Tuesday!

The ValleyCats clinched their second consecutive Stedler Division Title with a victory on Tuesday night.

Evan Grills turned in a clutch performance in limiting the Cyclones to just two runs in six innings of work. Grills recorded a season high eight k’s and did not issues any free passes.


The ‘Cats broke it open in the third inning as they plated three to take a 6-2 lead. Ronnie Mitchell led the way with two hits, including a big R.B.I. triple. The offense also displayed some patience working seven walks against the Cyclones pitchers.


Gonzalo Sanudo’s eighth save of the season closed it out and paved the way for a celebration in front of the home crowd!

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Tuesday night was also our first ever Oktoberfest Celebration at the ballpark. Coined “Brats, Beer, & Baseball”, fans were greeted by Herb Liebenhagen playing some traditional German tunes on the accordion.


The Picnic Pavilion was turned into a German Beer Garden with an Oktoberfest-style menu!

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The ‘Cats closed out the season with “Fans for Life Night” on Wednesday. Stay tuned for that recap shortly . . .

In the meantime, Playoff Tickets are on-sale now as the ‘Cats prepare to host Game 2 at “The Joe” on Saturday night!


Magic # is 1

The ‘Cats kicked off a crucial three-game set against the Brooklyn Cyclones at ” The Joe” on Labor Day!

After giving up an early run, Kyle Westwood dominated scattering three hits over seven strong innings. The bats came alive with a big eighth inning rally. Tyler White led the way with three hits including the game winning R.B.I. double. 20130902_cats_vs_cyclones-1082 20130825_cats_vs_yankees-1241

The ValleyCats lead is now 1.5 games and they have a chance to clinch the Stedler Division with a win tonight! Evan Grills is on the mound as we get an early start on the Oktoberfest festivities. Tonight’s game is a 6:00 PM start and tickets are available here:

Labor Day also marked our 2nd annual celebration of the Capital Region’s Biggest BBQ with two separate buffets taking place in the Picnic Pavilion and at the Top of the Hill.

The BBQ theme featured some backyard-style competitions including a wiffle ball home run derby, with the finals taking place on the field. Congratulations to Zachary Mackey who won the derby and earned a ceremonial first pitch!



Our friends from Fresh Brewed provided the entertainment with a great set of blues and classic rock on the concourse.


Kids ran the bases following the game to complete the Sunday Funday feel on Labor Day.

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Preview: Final regular season homestand

The ValleyCats return home on Labor Day to take on the New York Mets affiliate, Brooklyn Cyclones from 9/2 – 9/4. The ‘Cats are making a push to reach the playoffs for the 2nd straight season!

Monday, September 2- @5pm  POSTGAME FIREWORKS!

  • Labor Day at “The Joe!”
    Spend your day off with friends and family enjoying the fun and excitement of ValleyCats baseball!
  • Capital Region’s Biggest BBQ! (3:00pm – 5:00pm)
    Join us for an all-you-can eat BBQ dinner from 3:00pm – 5:00pm at either our Picnic Pavilion or Top of the Hill Bar & Grill! Starting at $20, entrance includes a one-hour pregame all-you-can-eat buffet and a reserved box seat for the game. Will be sold individually or as a group. (pending availability) FULL DETAILS / PURCHASE TICKETS>>
  • Wiffle Ball Home Run Derby!
    Want to be part of our wiffle ball home run derby? We’ll be taking registration for participants beginning at 3pm at the softball field beyond the right field fence. The final round of the derby will take place on the field prior to the game!
  • Pregame Concert by The Fresh Brewed Band!
    Enjoy LIVE music performed by The Fresh Brewed Band from 3:30pm – 4:30pm!
  • 4pm: Pregame catch on the field!
    All kids and their parent/guardian will be allowed on the field from 4-4:15 for a pregame catch!
  • Postgame Kids Run the Bases!Following the game, all kids will get the chance to run the bases!
  • Postgame FIREWORKS!Enjoy a spectacular postgame fireworks display courtesy of Price Chopper!

Tuesday, September 3- @6pm (Gates open at 4:30)

  • Brats, Beer & Baseball!Join us for our own German festival at the ballpark!

  • Oktoberfest Celebration: $20 Ticket & Dinner Package!Enjoy an Oktoberfest dinner beginning at 4:30pm with a menu that includes brats, mini potato pancakes, red cabbage, sauerkraut, pretzels and peanuts! Also receive three 12 oz. beer tickets to enjoy a great selection of craft beers that includes Sierra Nevada, Saranac, Lake Placid Brewery, Peak, Ommegang, Captain Lawrence, Saratoga, Long Trail, Shed, Switchback and Founders! You will also receive a Reserved Box ticket to enjoy the game! FULL DETAILS / ORDER TICKETS>>
  • College Student 2-for-1 Ticket Special!
    Show your college ID at the box office to receive a FREE ticket with the purchase of another at equal or lesser value.
  • Pregame LIVE music!
    From 4:30pm – 5:30pm there will be LIVE music next to the Brown’s Beer Stand.
  • Two For Tuesday!
    Enjoy 2-for-1 beer specials! (Excludes Brown’s and import beers)

Wednesday, September 4- @6pm  POSTGAME FIREWORKS!

  • Fans for Life Night!
    We pay tribute to our fans, the best fans! Tons of giveaways all night long!
  • New York Lottery Take 5 Coupon Giveaway
    The first 500 adults through the gates will receive a buy one get one Take 5 drawing coupon.
  • FINAL FIREWORKS SHOW OF THE SEASON!Enjoy one final spectacular postgame fireworks display of the 2013 season, courtesy of Price Chopper!

Why Sunday is a must-win for the ‘Cats

Forget the fact that the ‘Cats had a four game lead over the Lowell Spinners and are now sitting in second place, a half a game behind. Forget the fact that the ‘Cats have lost five games in-a-row. Tonight, more than any game played this season, is the night that the ‘Cats need a victory. They need to put the past behind them and look at the big picture.

Yes, mathematically the ‘Cats can still reach the playoffs if they happen to lose tonight and fall 1.5 games behind. Can they afford that? Not a chance.

Following the game tonight, the ‘Cats return to Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on Monday for the final series of the regular season, a three-game set with the Brooklyn Cyclones. If the ‘Cats enter that series 1.5 games behind Lowell, they will need to win at least two of three from the Cyclones, and hope the Spinners lose two of three from the IronBirds in Aberdeen. That’s hardly the situation you want to present itself.

The IronBirds & Cyclones are also battling for the McNamara Division title, and a berth into the playoffs, so both of those teams will be fighting to keep their season alive.

Let’s now turn to the flipside. If the ValleyCats beat the Spinners in Lowell tonight and come back to Troy in first place with a 1/2 game lead, they will then control their own destiny. At the very worst, they will need to match Lowell’s results in Aberdeen. That’s a much better situation to be in.

Tonight, the ‘Cats have an ace in the hole, literally, in starting pitcher and league ERA leader Michael Feliz. Feliz will need to shut down the Spinners and give the ‘Cats offense a chance to score some runs and take the first lead. They can’t afford to fall behind, as the offense is already tense as it is, and they don’t need that to increase by falling behind, putting more pressure on them.

The ‘Cats defense and baserunning will also have to help out Feliz by not committing any errors or mental mistakes. Over the course of the past five days, there has been a lot of that, and they can’t afford it tonight.

Another thing to consider, who will step up for the ‘Cats and be the vocal leader of the team? They need that person now, as desperately as they need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.