June 2014

Recap: Tunes for Tuesday and Softball Night

Good morning, ‘Cats fans! We finished up a two-game home stand here at “The Joe” on Tuesday night with the ValleyCats matchup against the Vermont Lake Monsters! The rumors of a potentially rainy forecast held off for us yet again, and we enjoyed another beautiful night for baseball, music and fun! Earlier in the afternoon, we welcomed Wolberg Electric to our Picnic Pavilion for a trade show event, and the gates opened at 5 p.m. for our first Tunes for Tuesday with an acoustic performance by J Yager. As fans trickled into the stadium for the pre-game ceremonies, our game sponsor, the Rensselaer County Department of Health greeted fans at the front gates to discuss the importance of being prepared in case of an emergency.

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The theme for the evening was A League of Their Own: Softball Night here at “The Joe!” We invited local softball teams onto the field for the pre-game ceremonies. The Deanna Marie Rivers Foundation made an appearance with a ceremonial first pitch and on-field recognition with some of the players from the foundation’s softball tournament that took place last week. Emily Bechand, one of the 2014 National Anthem Finalists at Crossgates Mall performed the national anthem for the crowd. Our Tri-City Mayors Race added some softball flare to the performance with Mayor Kathy Sheehan dressed in her Rockford Peach outfit!

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Photo by Gregory Fisher (tcvcphotos.com)

Photo by Gregory Fisher (tcvcphotos.com)

‘Cats fans got to watch another thriller here as the ValleyCats ended the game in the 11th inning with a walk-off win to sweep the brief two-game series. Last night’s walk-off was the third walk-off win for the ‘Cats in seven home games, which matches their total from 2013. And third baseman J.D. Davis hit his second home run of the season in the 7th inning! After extra innings, we had our ball launch on the field where fans threw out tennis balls to try and win prizes from our sponsors! Thank you fans for coming out for this home stand!

Now, the ValleyCats are off on the road for eight games until they return on July 4th for the beginning of our Independence Day weekend for a series against the Boston Red Sox Affiliate Lowell Spinners. The weekend will be filled with fireworks, giveaways and Independence Day fun. Check out our promotional calendar for details and get your tickets today! We hope to see you soon at “The Joe!”


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Recap: Night of Champions at “The Joe!”

Hey, ‘Cats fans! After a few days on the road for the ValleyCats, we welcomed the team back to “The Joe” on Monday for a matchup against the Vermont Lake Monsters on Night of Champions. We had several special visitors in attendance as we recognized local championship athletes of all ages on a beautiful summer evening -perfect for baseball and fun!

The Baseball Hall of Fame visited “The Joe” last night, and their staff and interns were able to attend a pre-game presentation at our Picnic Pavilion where ValleyCats President Bill Gladstone spoke, as well as ValleyCats Vice President/General Manager Rick Murphy and ValleyCats Manager Ed Romero. An artifact display was presented by the entrance gates for fans to check out and talk to Hall of Fame staff about the history of the objects and more!

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Fans began lining up as early as 3 p.m. to save their spot in line to receive the night’s giveaway, a desktop replica of the 2013 New York Penn-League Championship Ring. The stadium was packed during our pre-game ceremony where we recognized the Twin Town Little League for winning the league championship, and we brought players from the Eastern New York Travel Baseball down onto the field for pre-game recognition. ENTYB will be hosting a special 8 team showcase tournament at “The Joe” September 10th – 14th!

We were fortunate enough to have Senator Joe Bruno throw an honorary first pitch before the game began, and we kept the energy going with soccer themed on-field promotions. The Tri-City Mayors Race added a soccer ball to the mix, and our mischievous Spiedie the Chicken received a red card for breaking the rules during musical chairs! The crowd in attendance brought a great amount of energy to the night, especially in the 8th inning when Ravel Santana and Alfredo Gonzalez hit back to back home runs in the bottom of the 8th inning, giving the ‘Cats the lead! Pitcher Austin Chrismon had a great start, and we saw some great work out of the pen by Brandon McNitt and Vince Wheeland.

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Hopefully the ‘Cats 6-2 victory over the Vermont Lake Monsters last night will keep the momentum going for tonight’s game! Tonight we will be recognizing local softball teams around the Capital District for Softball night as the ‘Cats take on the Lake Monsters again! Our first Tunes 4 Tuesday event will kick off this evening with the doors opening at 5 p.m. and a pre-game concert with J Yager! The game begins at 7 p.m. and we can’t wait to see you there for the game and post-game fireworks presented by Price Chopper Supermarkets. Vamos Gatos!

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Front Office Friday: Helping put the “Grand” in Grandstands … Keith Sweeney!

Hard to believe that five games at “The Joe” are in the books! We concluded our first homestand of 2014 with a 3-2 record and three games that were sold out! Thank you, fans!

Two more games are on tap for the upcoming week, Monday and Tuesday, as we play host to the Vermont Lake Monsters. Monday night is our Night of Champions, complete with a 2013 Championship Ring Desktop Replica Giveaway! Tuesday, we celebrate local softball leagues and teams and finish off the quick trip home with fireworks! Still some tickets left, so come on out for a fun night of baseball!

To prep for the weekend, we’re back with our Front Office Friday series. Today’s featured Front Office member is Stadium Operations Manager Keith Sweeney. If there’s work to be done at “The Joe,” Keith and his team are on it.

Keith stands proud of the stadium he’s played a major part in setting up!

Keith is in his ninth season as a full-time employee and has been involved with stadium ops all seven years. While he was attending and playing baseball at the College of St. Rose, Keith interned with the ‘Cats in the operations role. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Sports Management in 2006. Prior to St. Rose, Keith played for Mitchell College, where he received his Associate’s Degree in Sports Management.

If you’ve seen Keith around the Capital Region, you likely have seen his son, Carter. Keith spends as much time as possible with Carter, including going to his sporting events, cheering on their favorite Boston sports teams together and bringing him to the stadium for ValleyCats games.

Here’s a little bit more about Keith…

Q) If you weren’t working for the ValleyCats, what would you be doing?
A) I started working here right after graduating St. Rose and I honestly can’t think of doing anything else besides working in sports or events in some capacity. I love being outside working on different projects so what I do here is exactly what I like to do.

Q) Who is your favorite MLB team?
A) My hometown is 45 minutes south of Boston so I am an all New England fan, which would make my favorite baseball team the Boston Red Sox.

Q) What is your favorite sport other than baseball and who is your favorite team in that sport?
A) I love them all honestly. I am the guy, especially during playoffs, who is pacing around and screaming at the TV.

Q) What are some of your hobbies?
A) I have a 7-year-old son Carter, who is the best thing that ever happened to me. Whatever he is doing for a hobby that’s what I am doing.

Q) What is your favorite genre of music?
A) Hip Hop, R&B and I have to admit I do like maybe 3 country songs!

Q) What is your favorite meal to eat?
A) Steak and Cheese preferably from D’Angelos

Q) What is your favorite pet or an ideal pet?
A) Rottweiler

Q) What is your favorite movie?
A) The Fast and Furious series as well as the Rush Hour series.

Q) What has been your favorite moment at “The Joe?”
A) There are many great memories here so I would have to break it into team and office. The 2010 season was the most exciting season. Most probably forget the run we had through August to win our 1st Championship and Brooklyn’s 3 game series. 2011 was a great year all around starting with the front office all the way to the interns. Besides our All-Star game in 2008 the All-Star weekend in Lowell most of us won’t ever forget.

Q) If you could have one super power, what would it be?
A) I don’t know if it’s necessarily a “super power” but I want to be able to teleport. I want to be in Boston at 7 watching the Sox but then be on South Beach at 11pm walking the beach.

Here’s Keith showing off a foul ball he caught at Fenway Park earlier this season!

Q) What position would you play if you played for the ValleyCats?
A) SS or Closer

Q) What is your favorite quote?
A) “Figure it out!” or “Hook ’em”

Q) Who is your all-time favorite baseball player?
A) Trot Nixon, hence why Nixon is my son’s middle name.

Q) If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?
A) Shaq, my Grandfather, and Carter

Q) If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
A) Buy a yacht so I have a house wherever in the world I want. Set Carter and my family up with more than enough money to live on. Open a school that has the best programs in the country for children with disabilities. Lastly, open a neighborhood breakfast diner! Haha, very random I know!

Keith, you and your team have done a tremendous job getting the stadium ready for the season! We thank you for your continuous hard work and dedication to the ValleyCats!

Recap: Youth Baseball Night and Education Day at “The Joe!”

Hey, ‘Cats fans! If you made a trip to “The Joe” during our opening home stand or checked in with us on social media, you know that we’ve been pretty busy here getting the 2014 season started. Our Monday and Tuesday games were dedicated to entertaining the children, families and teachers of the Capital District through two special events on Monday’s Youth Baseball Night and Tuesday’s first ever Education Day! We would like to thank everyone who came out to the park for these events as well as all of our sponsors and partnerships that helped us make it happen.

On Monday night, the ValleyCats matched up against the Boston Red Sox affiliate, Lowell Spinners for a 7 p.m. game. We had a pre-game parade with youth baseball teams from the area that participated in our 4 in 24 Field Renovation program earlier this year, and BlueShield of Northeastern New York was invited onto the field for a ceremony to thank them for their support as our game sponsor and with our 4 in 24 project. Fans, players and all in attendance shared a moment of silence for baseball legend Tony Gwynn after hearing news of his passing earlier in the day. The stadium was sold out for this event, and in the bottom of the 9th, the ValleyCats scored with a walk-off win, 3-2 against the Spinners!


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Education Day on Tuesday was a very special event for the ValleyCats and everyone at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. 5,507 fans were in attendance for our 10 a.m. game as a part of the first ever Education Day event with local schools in the area. It took some serious behind the scenes action to prepare our stadium for such a large crowd! Our front office staff, interns and game day staff worked hard to prepare lunches, move in bleachers for extra seating and get the field and stadium ready for such a large event. Big thanks for everyone to the time and effort it took to prepare!

Our pre-game show focused on educational activities as they relate to the game of baseball in the areas of science, math, geography and more. We showed students a video on the science of the knuckleball, and held an on-field interview with our own knuckleballer Blaine Sims. Our fans recited the ValleyCats Peace Pledge before the first pitch of the game, and signed the Peace Pledge Banner on the main concourse throughout the day. Regeneron was our lead supporting partner of the event and had a table set up at the opening gates, as well as our participating partners Transfinder and St. Peter’s Sexual Assault & Crime Victims Assistance Program at Samaritan Hospital. We are so thankful for the support we received to make this event happen! The stadium was filled with positive energy, smiles and laughter from the students and teachers in attendance. The ‘Cats fell 2-1 to the Lowell Spinners in the last game of this home stand, but we considered the day to be a “win” overall!

The next home games for the ValleyCats will be on Monday, June 23 for Night of Champions and a 2013 Championship Ring desktop replica giveaway and Tuesday, June 24 for Softball Night here at “The Joe” and fireworks presented by Price Chopper. Get your tickets today to watch the ‘Cats take on the Vermont Lake Monsters!

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Weekend Recap

Hey, ‘Cats fans! Friday’s Opening Night at “The Joe” set the bar high for the rest of our Championship Weekend festivities that took place on Saturday and Sunday. We embraced the sunshine and welcomed fans into the park for many different events on Comicon with the ‘Cats night and the Father’s Day Fan Fest! On Saturday morning, we held the Father’s Day Home Run 5K with the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club followed by a kids race around the warning track of the field. It was awesome to see so many children running with their dads to kick off Father’s Day weekend! We were lucky enough to have some of our front office and intern staff participate in the race as well. Congratulations to overall male winner Scott Mindel and overall female winner Brina Seguine, and a big thank you to everyone who came out for the race as a runner or a fan! DSC_1086 DSC_1185 DSC_1223 DSC_1265 Comicon with the ‘Cats was our theme for Saturday night’s game, which featured appearances by some of our favorite superheroes and movie characters! Fans and ValleyCats staff wore some superhero gear and visited the Comicon table and characters around the concourse. We celebrated the 239th birthday of the U.S. Army, our game day sponsor for the evening with a cake cutting ceremony and honorary first pitch. We also welcomed Colin Stevens, goalie of the 2014 National Champions Union College Men’s Ice Hockey team to congratulate him and his team on a great season! Fans were able to check out the National Championship trophy, meet Colin and take photos. The ‘Cats fell 9-3 to the Connecticut Tigers but we had a great time after the game for the ball launch and fireworks presented by Price Chopper! DSC_1301 DSC_1316 DSC_1315DSC_1330DSC_1328IMG_8276 We finished out the weekend with another fun-filled day to celebrate all of the awesome dads out there! Our Father’s Day brunch began at 11:30 a.m. right here at “The Joe” and we had events that lasted all afternoon up until game time! Families came into the park to eat, listen to live music by some local bands, play catch in the outfield and watch batting practice. Kids were able to color some #1 Dad buttons as a Father’s Day gift, and play inflatable games all along the concourse. SEFCU was our game day sponsor who had a table set up at the entrance gates, and Saint Peter’s Health Partners brought us our first Summer Readers Night and a pre-game catch on the field for Sunday Funday! Fans received a 2013 New York-Penn League championship poster on their way into the park and settled in to watch an on-field golf competition with the Colonial Acres Golf Course and a pre-game show with our media personality Sam Sigal and Friday night’s pitcher Austin Chrismon.

The ‘Cats trailed the Connecticut Tigers 2-0 until J.D. Davis hit a two-run homer and tied the game in the bottom of the 7th. Ravel Santana walked in the bottom of the 9th, followed by a base-hit by Marc Wik. Ariel Ovando then hit a walk-off single and the ‘Cats picked up their second win of the season, 3-2 against the Tigers! Tonight is Youth Baseball Night at “The Joe” sponsored by BlueShield of Northeastern New York. The ValleyCats play the Boston Red Sox affiliate, Lowell Spinners at 7 p.m. We hope to see you at the game tonight! Thank you fans for a great Opening Weekend!

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Opening Night Recap

Well, we did it! Even with the threat of a rainy evening forecast, we remained optimistic over here at “The Joe” and did all we could to prepare for whatever came our way for Opening Night on Friday, June 13th. And boy, did we luck out! The rain held off and we were able to play 9 full innings of ValleyCats baseball on Opening Night of the 2014 season. Sue Westervelt and her grounds crew at Brickman did a spectacular job of getting the field ready for game time –big thanks to them!



Opening Night featured the reveal of the ValleyCats 2013 New York Penn-League Championship banner, a pre-game performance by the Home Brewed band, a 2014 ValleyCats schedule magnet giveaway and many more fun events! We were fortunate enough to have the president of the New York Penn-League, Ben Hayes on the field with the 2013 Championship trophy and our own ValleyCats president Bill Gladstone who spoke to the fans during opening ceremonies.



Our 2014 National Anthem contest winner Jake Goodman sang for the crowd and Upstate Ford brought their promotions team and vehicles out for fans to check out on the way into the park. Fans were also able to enjoy some of our new food items at Vamos Tacos and Left Field Louie’s where we served Nine Pin Hard Cider, another new addition to our menu.



We celebrated the ‘Cats first victory of the season, a 3-2 win over the Connecticut Tigers with fireworks presented by Price Chopper Supermarkets. Fans grabbed some free Sunny D drinks and coupons as we wished them goodnight after a successful, rain-free evening. Congratulations to the ValleyCats Player of the Game, starting pitcher #40 Austin Chrismon!

While Opening Night is now in the books, we’ve still got a few more games left in this home stand! Our next game is tonight, June 14th at 7 p.m. against the Connecticut Tigers. The theme is Comicon with the ‘Cats, so feel free to dress up as your favorite comic book character! We will celebrate the U.S. Army’s 239th birthday as our game day sponsor and also honor Union College Men’s Ice Hockey Team and congratulate them on their 2014 National Championship. Check out some of our favorite photos from last night:

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Front Office Friday: The man behind it all … our VP/GM Rick Murphy!

HAPPY OPENING DAY!!! OK, OK – it’s Friday the 13th, there is a Full Moon expected tonight, and there is rain in the forecast. But that won’t stop me from welcoming you the 2014 Tri-City ValleyCats baseball season!

We couldn’t be more thrilled to open our 13th season here in the Capital Region. There are many exciting new things at our ballpark from new promotions to new concession areas to our AWESOME video board! If you can’t make it out this weekend, check out the rest of our schedule online at tcvalleycats.com and find a game this season to swing by “The Joe” to see it all!

On to our favorite Friday feature – Front Office Friday! With Opening Day here, we figured there was no better person to introduce you to than our Vice President & General Manager Rick Murphy. This season is Rick’s 26th in professional baseball. It’s safe to say, he’s a baseball lifer.

Rick Murphy has seen the ValleyCats win two NYPL Championships in the last four seasons, along with several Stedler Division titles in his tenure.

Rick played college ball at Boston College and shortly after began working in Minor League Baseball. He took over as GM of the Pittsfield Mets in 1989. The team changed affiliations and became the Astros, and Rick played an integral part in the move that brought the franchise to Troy.

After running the ‘Cats from 2002-2004, Rick spent 2005 as the Chief Operating Officer for DDD Baseball, Inc., a company owned by Dan Duquette, current General Manager of the Baltimore Orioles. He couldn’t stay away long and returned to run the ValleyCats.

Since, Rick was named the NYPL Executive of the Year in 2008 and is a 2011 New York-Penn League Robert F. Julian Community & Baseball Service Award winner. He currently serves as chairman of the New York-Penn League Schedule Committee and is a member of the Board of Directors for Minor League Baseball’s BIRCO (Baseball Internet Rights Corporation), and the Albany Police Athletic League. Rick is also a member of the Board of Directors for Berkshire Hills Bancorp, the parent of Berkshire Bank.

Rick has been instrumental in developing youth baseball in the area with different promotions. He’s implemented our “4 in 24” Field Renovation project, our “Show on the Road” promotion, helping run the concession area at Clifton Park Baseball League … the list goes on and on with how much Rick has assisted with the growth of youth baseball.

As you can see, Rick does a lot for this organization and this community. One thing Rick enjoys doing most is getting to know our fans and we wanted you to get to know him as well. Here’s what Rick had to say on our FOF questionnaire…

Q) If you weren’t working for the ValleyCats, what would you be doing?
A) College Professor

Q) Who is your favorite MLB team?
A) Boston Red Sox

Q) What is your favorite sport other than baseball and who is your favorite team in that sport?
A) Hockey – Boston Bruins

Q) What are some of your hobbies?
A) Collecting Vintage Baseball Cards

Q) What’s your favorite genre of music?
A) Celtic Soul – Van Morrison

Q) What’s your favorite meal to eat?
A) Sushi

Q) What’s your favorite pet or an ideal pet?
A) Dog – Silky Terrier

Q) What’s your favorite movie?
A) The Pursuit of Happiness

A signature Rick Murphy and SouthPaw pose on the concourse!

Q) What’s been your favorite moment at “The Joe?”
A) Opening Day

Q) If you could have one super power, what would it be?
A) Cure Cancer

Q) What position would you play if you played for the ValleyCats?
A) Center Field

Q) What’s your favorite quote?
A) “If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” -Harvey Mackay

Q) Who is your all-time favorite baseball player?
A) “Yaz” – Carl Yastrzemski

Q) If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?
A) Abraham Lincoln, Knute Rockne & Steve Jobs

Q) If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
A) Philanthropic work

Rick, we thank you for being an incredible leader and outstanding person in the community. You’ve helped turn the Capital Region into a Baseball Region. We hope the ValleyCats are here for a long time and that you are here to oversee that!

Follow the MLB Draft LIVE

Remember, at 6:45 tonight you can join ValleyCats media personalities Brady Farkas and Sam Sigal as they break down the MLB draft live as it happens.

The Astros have the No. 1 pick and they’ll tell you all you need to know about the first days action.

It’s interactive, so feel free to comment or ask questions!

Follow here:

Beginning to Feel a Draft

Good afternoon, ValleyCats faithful. My name is Brady Farkas, and you’ll be hearing from me throughout the season on this blog, as I am new to the ‘Gatos media relations and video department.

You’ll also be hearing (literally) a lot of Sam Sigal, who is the new voice of the ValleyCats for the 2014 season. He spent 2013 with the Johnson City Cardinals and we’re happy to welcome him to the Astros/ValleyCats family.

Now that the introductions are out of the way, it’s time to talk baseball.

With the MLB draft just over 24 hours away, it’s also time to tell you that Sam and I are going to be live blogging the first and second round tomorrow starting at 7:00pm. During the live chat, which we will post links and information to on tcvalleycats.com,  you interact with us by asking questions, sharing comments, etc. That link is here.

Our parent club, the Houston Astros, have the No. 1 pick in the draft for the second year in a row and you may be a little curious to know about who they could take — and who could ultimately end up playing part of 2014 here at Joe Bruno Stadium.

We’re breaking down the Top 5 draft prospects, and one extra, as according to MLB.com.

Brady Aiken, LHP, HS

Aiken appears to be a very likely candidate for the Astros at No. 1. He’s a lefty, which could provide the ‘Stros with a top of the rotation complement to last year’s No. 1, Mark Appel, down the road.

Aiken is now sitting at 92-94 with his fastball — and has the ability to reach 97. He has a an above average curveball and good speed differential on his changeup. That repertoire gives him three viable pitches, something that is a necessity for starters at the professional level.

He helped lead Team USA to a gold medal at the 18-and-under World Cup in Taiwan in last year. He limited Japan to one run in seven innings in the championship game while striking out 10.

Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State

Rodon was called by MLB.com “the best college left-hander since David Price.” The NC State product was named to the ACC’s first-team after posting a 2.01 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 98.2 innings.

In 2013, he helped the Wolfpack make the College World Series. He struck out an NCAA-record 184 a season ago. He’s armed with a fastball at 91-94 consistently, and like Aiken, can also touch 97.

His best asset is a very good slider. With three seasons of college ball under his belt, he’s probably not that far away from being major league ready. But that’s just my assumption.

Tyler Kolek, RHP, HS

This guy is a pure fireballer. He’s topped 100 on multiple occasions this season and can sit at 93-96 consistently.

He has an above-average curve and a good slider. MLB.com says his control needs time to catch up to his stuff, but being from Texas, he could be an enticing choice for the nearby Astros.

Alex Jackson, C/OF, HS

Jackson is a right-handed power-hitting catcher, something that is at a premium in the majors.

His swing can get long at times, but his power makes him a big prospect at the next level. He has a good arm behind the plate, but he could end up in the outfield also.

Nick Gordon, INF, HS

Gordon is the son of former major league reliever, Tom “Flash” Gordon, and the brother of current Dodgers speedster, Dee.

He throws low-90s on the mound but wants to contribute every day at the professional level. He is one of the best shortstops in the draft. He has a good arm, good speed, and a good enough LH bat to hit at the pro ranks.

He’s committed to Florida State, one of the top programs in the country, so you know he’s the real deal.

**Jeff Hoffman, P, East Carolina

We throw this name in for good measure. Hoffman is of significant interest to the Capital Region ValleyCat fans. Having graduated from nearby Shaker High School, Hoffman and his mid-90s fastball were a candidate for the Astros at No. 1 until the end of April, when he missed his final two starts with forearm tightness.

That tightness led to Tommy John surgery in early-May, but even with the procedure, he’s still thought to be a mid-first round pick.

He tops out at 98 with a good curveball and a developing changeup. Regardless if he’s playing for the Astros organization, he’ll be a name for Capital Region baseball fans to focus on during the draft.

Remember, visit tcvalleycats.com tomorrow evening for the link to join us during our exclusive draft coverage. Meanwhile, you can see MLB.com’s Top 200 draft prospects here.

“Show on the Road” Recap at North Colonie Youth Baseball Fields

Hey, ‘Cats fans! This past weekend we had the pleasure of bringing our favorite parts of “The Joe” to the North Colonie Youth Baseball Fields for our 2014 “Show on the Road” event with Hannaford Supermarkets! Our front office staff and summer interns worked hard to bring the ValleyCats experience into a youth baseball setting filled with games, giveaways and a great cookout. The Challenger Division game kicked off at 5 p.m. and the Major Division game followed at 6:30 p.m. with tons of fun between innings. Fans were able to participate in our NY 529 Puzzle Contest, Pony Hops, Hannaford Hula Hoop Hustle and many more events! Thank you to North Colonie Youth Baseball and Hannaford Supermarkets for welcoming us and helping out with this awesome night.

Check out our video highlights, as well aour favorite photos from the “Show on the Road!” :

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