October 2013

‘Cats still active as baseball season ends

The Boston Red Sox are 2013 World Series Champions, marking the end of the 2013 baseball season. However, the ‘Cats still remain active in the Capital Region, and have some great plans to unveil regarding youth baseball.

First, we have another Community Grounds Crew update. In our previous post, we detailed the major renovation of Troy Central Little League. Following the completion of that field, we spent some time at Coxsackie-Athens High School to rebuild their pitcher’s mound and home plate/batters box areas. Here are some photos prior to, and during the renovation.

Community Grounds Crew Web Header

Mound Before

Homeplate During

Mound During

Mound Dug Up

Once again, none of this work would be possible without the support of BlueShield of Northeastern New York, our Community Grounds Crew partner!

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We are excited to announce that we have started an offseason Baseball Bootcamp program for children ages 9-13 that lasts four weeks, and will take place in the team clubhouse and batting cage. We’ve already sold out our first two sessions, and have created a third that will run from November 18 – December 9.

Twice a week, Monday and Wednesday nights from 7:15-8:15pm, participants will take part in a program designed by ValleyCats coaches and trainers to improve their baseball skills and fitness level.

Campers will work on baseball mechanics to improve their fundamentals for hitting, fielding and throwing. They will also work on cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance and flexibility. Nutritional guidance will be given throughout the program, along with other essential aspects of baseball fitness.

Registration is limited and filling up fast. Click here for more information>>

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Along with the offseason camps, the ‘Cats are also offering rentals of the clubhouse, indoor batting cage and full weight room. The space is ideal for groups looking to take advantage of a sectioned batting cage with multiple hitting sections. The cage provides the ability to hit off of batting tees, conduct soft-toss, or take live batting practice. The net can also be lifted to allow for basic infield drills and mechanics. Click here for more information>>

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Finally, the ‘Cats officially kicked off their New York-Penn League Championship Trophy Tour at the Recovery Sports Grill in Troy this past Monday. Season ticket holders and loyal fans alike gathered to celebrate the ‘Cats second NYPL title in the past four years. Those who attended, took pictures with the trophy, enjoyed some free appetizers and 50 cent wings.

Here are a few photos from the night:

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To view more photos, click here to view the Recovery Sports Grill photo album on Facebook.

We’ll be sure to keep you posted on upcoming events!

Community Grounds Crew Renovation Recap: Troy Central Little League

The Tri-City ValleyCats and BlueShield of Northeastern New York’s Community Grounds Crew Program just completed renovation on Frank Welch Memorial Field at Troy Central Little League. This specific renovation hit home with the ‘Cats, as it took place in their hometown city.

Troy Central  has been in the community since 1955, and this past season the league saw its membership increase to 125 players across 11 different teams.

As the league continues to grow, it is necessary to provide them with a playing surface that is safe, and in the best condition possible to ensure that the youth ballplayers enjoy the learning experience.

Here are a few photos before the renovation:

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The first step was to remove the old infield grass:

Photo Oct 17, 9 35 06 AM

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While that was taking place, the pitcher’s mound and home plate were both removed:

Photo Oct 17, 8 44 19 AM

Both the pitcher’s mound and home plate areas were rebuilt to the correct specs:

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Photo Oct 17, 9 34 58 AM

The work on this field, and all others renovated through the Community Grounds Crew, wouldn’t be possible without the support of BlueShield of Northeastern New York. Kaitlyn from BSNENY spend some time in the morning helping us out! Here she is with ValleyCats Assistant General Manager, Matt Callahan.

Photo Oct 17, 9 59 26 AM

Once the old grass had been torn up and taken away, new dirt was raked into the infield to make the playing surface as even as possible.

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Photo Oct 17, 10 41 36 AM

Then, brand new sod was laid:

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Photo Oct 17, 1 54 47 PM

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Once all the new sod was laid, the baselines were torn up to remove the weeds, and new dirt was raked in. The pitcher’s mound and homeplate areas were completely rebuilt, brand new bases were put in, and the field was raked one final time.

Here are some great after shots of the brand new infield!

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Troy Central Complete Infield

Troy Central Complete Infield2

By now, the grass has begun to grow nicely into the dirt, and will be in perfect shape once spring rolls around! We can’t wait until Troy Central’s Opening Day in April!

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ABOUT THE COMMUNITY GROUNDS CREW:

The Community Grounds Crew is a collaborative effort between the ValleyCats and BlueShield of Northeastern New York, to undertake field renovation projects on youth fields throughout the year. The ValleyCats’ field renovations have been an annual tradition since 2003 when the first field was officially renovated by the ‘Cats in South Troy. Each year since, they have expanded upon its success.  In 2011 the ‘Cats created the ambitious ‘4 in 24’ project to renovate four youth playing fields in the course of just a 24 hour time period, something totally unique to any field renovation initiative in the country.

Each project is also supported by the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation. Contributions come from past events such as the Capital Region Craft Brewers Festival, hosted by the ValleyCats and Brown’s Brewing Company, and baseball tournaments like the Capital Region Series and Battle of the Beverages, which included teams from local and regional businesses.

MiLB Promo Seminar Recap

The Galt House Hotel played host to the 2013 Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar

The Galt House Hotel played host to the 2013 Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar

Representatives from all across professional baseball descended on Louisville last week for the 2013 Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar. The Promo Seminar is an annual gathering that offers some of the best idea sharing in the industry.

Assistant General Manager, Matt Callahan, and Promotions Director, Anthony Pettograsso, made the trip to represent the ‘Cats. The Galt House was the host hotel and offered some unique features, including the glass walkway pictured above. This walkway connected the hotel’s two towers, housed a bar, and looked out over the Ohio River.

MiLB Promo Seminar Agenda

MiLB Promo Seminar Agenda

The seminar kicked off with a welcome luncheon on Tuesday afternoon followed by a series of “Group Therapy Sessions.” These round table-style meetings serve as a guided discussion covering topics ranging from on-field promotions to stadium operations.

A "Group Therapy Session" on the latest group ticket trends

A “Group Therapy Session” on the latest group ticket trends

These sessions are a great opportunity for MiLB executives to share best practices, new ideas, industry trends, and discuss challenges that they face in their markets.

Wednesday included a popular segment called “Around the Horn” where each team shares one of their best promotions. This always produces some great ideas as well as some good laughs as the emcee, Todd “Parney” Parnell keeps things light.

Taking lots of notes . . .

Taking lots of notes . . .

Wednesday afternoon featured some panel discussions focusing on bigger picture items such as the future of Minor League Baseball. Astros Team President, Reid Ryan, was one of the featured speakers during this segment.

"The Road Ahead: What's Next?" panel discussion

The consensus is that the future is bright for Minor League Baseball!

At the end of each day, the seminar included some networking functions as well as some informal opportunities to get to know your industry peers in downtown Louisville.

'Cats AGM, Matt Callahan, won a raffle prize at Tuesday night's cocktail reception.

‘Cats AGM, Matt Callahan, won a raffle prize at Tuesday night’s cocktail reception.

Fourth Street Live was a popular destination for bars and restaurants throughout the week.

Fourth Street Live was a popular destination for bars and restaurants throughout the week.

Some other attractions from around the city included:

The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

 

The Belle of Louisville Steamship

The Belle of Louisville Steamship

The ValleyCats were nominated for a “Golden Bobblehead” Award in the category of Best Non-Game Day Event or Promotion. On Thursday morning, they presented “The Show on the Road” promotion to the attendees along with the other finalists.

This promotion was a partnership with Hannaford Supermarkets that saw the ‘Cats bring their entire in-stadium experience to East Greenbush-Castleton Little League.

Video Board - Close Up

Show On The Road: Pony Hops

Show On The Road: Pony Hops

Show On the Road: Dizzy Bat

Show On the Road: Dizzy Bat

Show On the Road: Mayors Race

Show On the Road: Mayors Race

Despite some excellent feedback from other teams, we were ultimately beat out by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders who hosted the wrap party for the show “The Office.” The star power of Michael Scott (Steve Carell) running the bases definitely carried the vote.

The seminar concluded with a trip to the Louisville Bats home field: Louisville Slugger Park.

Entryway

The Bats are the Triple A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and play their home games just off the banks of the Ohio River.

Park Pano

Ballpark - RF

The ballpark seats over 13,000 fans and includes some unique areas such as:

A kids play area complete with a carousel!

A kids play area complete with a carousel!

A large indoor function space created from an old railroad station

A large indoor function space created from an old railroad station

JD Club

The Jack Daniel’s Lounge 

RF - Covered

Covered picnic area in right field

It was a very productive trip and we look forward to implementing some new ideas as we begin planning for the 2014 season!

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