Author Archive

Pumpkin Pickin’

Each month our front office staff participates in a different team building activity, and this month was painting pumpkins! (We tried pumpkin “carving” a few years ago, but decided it wasn’t worth the hassle or smell of cleaning up the remains.)

We want our fans to pick which pumpkin they like the best, then we’ll tell you whose artistic work it was! Feel free to leave some comments!

So without further ado…here are the creations!

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A) Trick-or-Treat

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B) Pirate Pumpkin

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C) Graveyard

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D) 2015 Champions

E) Nightmare Before Christmas

E) Nightmare Before Christmas

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F) Walk Like an Egyptian

G) Charlie Brown

G) Charlie Brown

H) MiLB

H) MiLB

I) Pumpkin' You Up

I) Pumpkin’ You Up Since 2004

 

 

 

Ideas shared ‘Sooner’ than later – Recap of MiLB Promo Seminar

As previously mentioned, the ValleyCats season may be over, but our Front Office staff is in full swing in preparation for the 2015 season. While Media Relations / Production Manager Chris Chenes enjoyed the warm sun at Instructional League in Florida, General Manager Rick Murphy, Senior Account Executive Chris Dawson, and Account Executive Ben Whitehead flew westward to the Sooner State, as Oklahoma City hosted the Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar. During the three-day event (Sept. 30 – Oct. 2), staff members from nearly every MiLB team get together for numerous brainstorming sessions. These range from discussing the best promotions of the season to interactive ways to engage our fans throughout the year.

Our schedule for the week, as posted inside the hotel lobby at the Renaissance Convention Center Hotel in downtown OKC.

The week began early Tuesday morning, as we loaded up two buses and headed to The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital for the MiLB Charities Community Service Project. We were treated to a tour of the state-of-the-art facility and a presentation providing information about what the center offers. We then went out to a baseball field located on the hospital grounds and played the game we love with some of the staff and patients. This was an incredible place to visit for the project and was a wonderful opportunity to spend time giving back to a great community.

Some MiLB workers were paired with a buddy for the game. Others were umpires, announcers and the all-important cheering squad!

A view of the action from second base.

Check out this video put together by The Children’s Center: Sidenote: Ben moved from Oklahoma City to the Albany area upon accepting his position with the ‘Cats, and his wife worked at The Children’s Center prior to relocation. Small world!

Interestingly enough, Oklahoma is the birthplace of several great MLB players, including New York Yankee great and Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle. His restaurant, Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, is across the street from the RedHawks ballpark. The ballpark also has a statue of Mantle, fellow Oklahoman Johnny Bench and New York native Warren Spahn, who resided in Oklahoma upon retirement.

The front page of a menu at Mickey Mantle’s.

The seminar began Tuesday afternoon and once we were inside the main seminar room, a banner hung reminding us all why we were here…

“One Idea Is Worth The Price Of Admission,” is the slogan of the seminar. We feel like we came back with much more than that and look forward to implementing some of them into our 2015 season!

A Power Session included a panel of former MiLB workers who have advanced in baseball and other industries: NASCAR, MLS, and Intercollegiate Athletics.

One of the emcees, Todd “Parney” Parnell is a staple at the Promo Seminar. He is the Vice President & COO of the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Double-A Affiliate of the San Francisco Giants).

Account Executive Ben Whitehead (left) and Senior Account Executive Chris Dawson having some fun with a selfie during the seminar. The West Michigan Whitecaps presented on their Social Media Night and asked everyone to take a selfie to win a T-shirt. We obliged. And we won.

We were nominated for a Golden Bobblehead, an award given out to the top promotions each season. Our 4 in 24 Field Renovation Project presented by BlueShield of Northeastern New York was a finalist in the “Best Charity Promotion or Event” category.

This was an easy choice for us when voting.

For those who don’t know, the 4 in 24 Project occurs each spring when our staff sets out to renovate four youth baseball fields in 24 hours. Infields get re-sodded, pitcher’s mounds and home plate areas are rebuilt and leveled, new bases are set to proper distances and general cleanup and maintenance of the field is performed. Check out this blog post from our 2014 version of the project when we renovated fields at Schenectady Little League, Twin Town Little League, Spring Youth Baseball, and Berne-Knox-Westerlo Little League.

Although we didn’t come back with the hardware, we were honored to be recognized by our peers for this tremendously rewarding project. Many teams approached us at the seminar to ask about the process and we challenged all teams to spend more time in their local communities promoting the game we all love and positively impacting the youth who will be the stars of tomorrow. We would like to congratulate the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders for winning our category for their HOPE Week. Also, fellow NYPL team Brooklyn brought home two bobbleheads. The Cyclones captured the award for “Best Theme Night” with their incredible “Seinfeld” Night at MCU Park. Additionally, that theme won “Best Overall Promotion/Event.”

One of the presentations was given by Ben Hill, the infamous MiLB writer who travels to Minor League stadiums each season. Ben Hill writes about his experiences on his blog (bensbiz.mlblogs.com) and presents his favorite parts of each trip during the Promo Seminar. With his trip to “The Joe” on August 29th, Ben featured us during his presentation. Keep an eye out for his blog soon detailing his night at the ‘Cats game.

Ben Hill featured our Wood-Fire Pizza Oven. He mentioned to the attendees that we have the only one he’s seen in MiLB! You can get your pizza next summer at Left Field Louie’s!

The Tri-City Mayor’s Race also received some love and recognition.

After three days of idea-sharing, presentations and making many connections, the Oklahoma City RedHawks (now the former Triple-A affiliate of the Astros and current Dodgers affiliate) hosted all the attendees for the ballpark outing. Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is located in the Bricktown district of Oklahoma City and opened in 1998. It has a capacity of over 13,000 and plays host to many events outside of the RedHawks season schedule. The Bedlam Baseball Series between the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University is held at the park annually, as well as many Big 12 Baseball Tournaments, high school baseball games, and even snow tubing in the winter!

One of the many digital boards used inside the stadium. This one shows the available options for one of their beer stands.

Another digital platform used to display the starting lineups, standings and more!

RedHawks mascots Cooper (left) and Ruby were on hand for the ballpark outing. The brother and sister duo said to tell SouthPaw, “Howdy!”

The RedHawks staff got creative with their centerpieces on the tables.

A larger baseball-themed centerpiece, complete with peanuts, a team ribbon and RedHawks baseball.

Kudos to the RedHawks staff for coordinating an amazing outing and thank you for the wonderful hospitality! The feast that evening featured many Oklahoma delicacies such as fried catfish, brisket, hot links, chicken fried steak and many more delicious items!

Even the cheese tray had a block of cheese cut in the shape of the state of Oklahoma.

A covered wagon (or is it a Sooner Schooner?) for decor on one of the food tables.

9-layer fiesta dip, Chicken Fried Steak Fingers with pepper gravy … Yes, it was as good as it looks!

A mashed potato bar complete with RedHawks mini-helmets, old Oklahoma license plates and a sign for Route 66, which runs through the state.

A view of the press box, club level and home plate seating area at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

A hotel oversees left and center fields. But check out that loooong video board.

No really, just look at it!

Upon return to the Tri-City area, our staff began preparation for the 2015 season. During our Strategic Planning Meetings held Oct. 15-16, we reviewed our 2014 season at each department level and began laying the foundation for 2015. The meetings were held at the Hilton Garden Inn Troy and there was plenty discussion about new and exciting ideas to enhance the ballpark experience at “The Joe!” Thanks to the ideas generated from the Promo Seminar and our brainstorming sessions in our meetings, we are eager to skip the upcoming winter and ready to open the gates for the 2015 season! Opening Day will be here soon enough and we can’t wait! In the meantime, keep checking our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and our website for all the latest in ‘Cats happenings! VAMOS GATOS!

Cool weather, but baseball is still hot!

Fall has arrived in full force, indicated by the cooler temperatures, colors of the leaves, football, and of course the Major League Baseball playoffs! Here at the “The Joe,” we’ve got a rooting interest in two of the four remaining teams.

On the National League side, the San Francisco Giants feature star outfielder Hunter Pence. Pence is a 2004 alumni of the ValleyCats. Not only that, but the SF Giants roots trace all the way back to Troy, NY. You can read more about that here.

Here’s a photo of Hunter from 2004, when the ValleyCats played their annual game in Cooperstown against the Oneonta Tigers:

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Hunter with season ticket holders Jim and Ryan Davey.

Also, here’s an interview with Hunter from Spring Training 2009, where he reflects on his time in Troy, and his MLB rookie season.

 

On the American League side, the Baltimore Orioles feature starting pitcher Bud Norris. Norris is a 2006 alumni of the ‘Cats, who actually roomed with Watervliet native and fellow former ‘Cat, Chris Salamida.

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Also, the skipper of the O’s, Buck Showalter is hard not to root for, especially for those in the Capital Region. Many will remember that Buck was the manager for the Albany-Colonie Yankees in 1989, and led the team to their second consecutive Eastern League title.

In Showalter’s postgame press conference upon defeating the Tigers in the ALDS, he made mention of his title in Albany, a really cool moment for local fans. You can view the video here.

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All of the postseason baseball hype just reminds us of what a great season our team had in 2014. A third straight Stedler Division title, fourth NYPL Championship Series appearance in five years, record number of wins at home (26/38), and a record number of fans (161,171) coming out to witness it all!

Unfortunately, the season did not end as we all may have liked, falling just one game short of a third New York-Penn League title, but overall it was a success.

The very next morning after the ValleyCats season ended, the players and coaching staff were gone as quick as they arrived three months earlier.

However, a select number of ‘Cats didn’t have much time to relax. Some of them participated in the Fall Instructional League in Florida, which is a league made up of lower level players from within the Astros organization. ValleyCats Media Relations / Production Manager Chris Chenes was fortunate enough to make a pit stop, en route to his vacation earlier this month.

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It takes place at the team’s spring training facility in Kissimmee, Florida, where approximately 45 players are invited to participate. It’s not mandatory, but every player accepts the invitation. The purpose of the four week league is to enhance the skills of these younger players & prospects under close supervision of the Astros minor league instructors and coaches.

Other participants include players getting ready for the Arizona Fall League (which is currently underway), learning a new position, or those recovering from injury.

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2012 ‘Cat, Andrew Aplin finished his 2014 season in Triple-A, and was prepping for the Arizona Fall League, where is he currently playing for the Salt River Rafters.

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Another Arizona Fall League participant, 2012 ‘Cats catcher Tyler Heineman is working on baserunning alongside 2014 catcher Jamie Ritchie.

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Mark Appel, the 2013 MLB overall #1 draft pick, finished the season in Double-A, and is also playing with Salt River in the Arizona Fall League.

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Former ‘Cats pitching coach, Doug White working with a group of pitchers. White is now the pitching instructor for the entire group of minor league affiliates.

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2014 ‘Cat Derick Velazquez.

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2011 ‘Cat, Mitchell Lambson

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Andrew Aplin and Derek Fisher working on bunting

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2014 catcher Alfredo Gonzalez

Each day, with the exception of a Sunday off-day, consists of drills in the morning, and a game in the afternoon against other local MLB Instructional League teams. On this day, the Astros made the hour-long trek to Viera to face the Nationals.

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Entrance to Space Coast Stadium, spring training home of the Washington Nationals.

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The stadium is also used by the Brevard County Manatees, advanced Class-A minor league affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

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ValleyCats 2014 catcher Jamie Ritchie, and hitting coach Russ Steinhorn.

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A.J. Reed and Jason Martin

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Nick Tanielu

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A.J. Reed

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J.D. Davis

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Mott Hyde

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Daniel Mengden

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Mengden talking with pitching coach Chris Holt.

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Scouts and members of the baseball operations staff look on.

The Instructional League wraps up this weekend, but the players will be back in Kissimmee in just five short months, for 2015 spring training!

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Back here at home, the arrival of fall means that ValleyCats Stadium Operations Manager Keith Sweeney and his crew have a lot of work to do to ready the stadium for the changing seasons. They need to break down all of the tents, take down all of the signage, move concession kiosks indoors, and clean the stadium one final time before winter.

Here are some photos of the stadium clean-up:

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Keith pressure washing the concourse.

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Kids Zone inflatables all rolled up and ready for storage.

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The standings board is one of the few signs that still remains in place. A reminder of a great season, albeit with a disappointing finish.

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SouthPaw’s Den has now been turned into the front office offseason lounge.

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A bare outfield fence.

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Equipment lined up and ready for storage.

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Skipper Ed Romero’s office sits eerily empty.

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Although, “Vamos Gatos” remains on the whiteboard. (Courtesy of his young nephew Ricky!)

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The clubhouse is also empty, ready for a brand new group of ‘Cats in 2015.

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Tiki Hut

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Tables have been stacked at Left Field Louie’s and the Field of Dreams, and are ready to be carried to the Picnic Pavilion, where they will be covered for the winter.

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Picnic Pavilion remains pretty much unchanged, for now.

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Food kiosks lined up and ready for storage

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And the Brown’s Beer stand sits empty, until the next keg is brought in next year!

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Even though the stadium itself is being shut down, the work of the front office staff is just gearing back up. Believe it or not, the 2015 season schedule will be released in the next few weeks, and we’ve got tons of work to do to prepare for another exciting season of minor league baseball at “The Joe!”

With the colder weather moving on in, Michelle has ordered some fantastic new ValleyCats gear to get you through the bitter temperatures! To purchase any of the below items, stop by the stadium or click here to visit our online team store.

Calgary Cuff Knit Hat

Knit Gloves

Fiona Cuff Knit Hat

Knit Scarf

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From October through January, our clubhouse, weight room, and batting cage will remain open and available for rental. There’s a sectioned cage for multiple hitters, indoor pitching mounds, space for infield and mechanics drills, a manual-fed pitching machine, and plenty of room for conditioning, yoga, and plyometrics. For more information on how your team can rent the space for offseason workouts, contact Dave Bestle at dbestle@aol.com, or 518-935-7311.

We’ll also be hosting our 2nd Annual Baseball Bootcamp for ages 7-13 beginning on November 3rd. The 4-week program designed by the ValleyCats coaches and trainers will provide athletes the opportunity to improve their baseball skills and fitness level throughout the offseason.  The players will work on baseball mechanics to improve their fundamentals for hitting, fielding and throwing. In addition the players will also work on cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance and flexibility. There will be nutritional guidance throughout the program along with other essential aspects of baseball fitness in a specially designed program by the ValleyCats strength and conditioning coaches. Click here to sign-up!

VAMOS GATOS!

A ValleyCats farewell to Derek Jeter!

Even though his time playing for the Albany-Colonie Yankees in the summer of 1994 was short, the fact of the matter is that Derek Jeter’s path to baseball greatness runs through the Capital Region.

In 34 games with the Double-A New York Yankees affiliate, Jeter batted .377 before being promoted to Triple-A Columbus. And as they say…the rest is history.

Speaking of history, Jeter’s place in Capital Region baseball lore just adds to it’s long and storied heritage, which extends as far back as the late 19th century.

The earliest professional ball clubs in the area were the Troy Haymakers (1871-1872) and Troy Trojans (1879-1882). That list went on to include the Albany Senators, Schenectady Blue Jays, Amsterdam Rugmakers, Glens Falls White Sox/Tigers/Redbirds, Albany A’s, Albany-Colonie Yankees, and of course, the Tri-City ValleyCats.

With Jeter’s final game on the horizon, we thought it would be fitting to look back at a few different times throughout the years that we have payed tribute to The Captain.

Remember when Derek Jeter became a free agent for the first time? It was the year 2010, and all the talk was about where Jeter will end up. “Will he finish his career with the Yankees or will he move on?” was the big question.

Well, we had a little fun and decided to Photoshop Derek Jeter on a ValleyCats baseball card, to see what it would look like if he some how ended up on our team. Sure, not realistic…but funny to look at.

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Each year, the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown pays a visit to “The Joe” to display artifacts from the museum. Multiple times, the Hall brought Jeter items for Capital Region fans to get an up-close view of.

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Jeter’s jersey worn during the 1996 World Series

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Louisville Slugger model P72 bat used by Derek Jeter in the 2000 MLB All-Star Game. Jeter would become the only player ever to be named the MVP of the All-Star Game and the World Series in the same year.

A side note to the above P72 model bat, is that Louisville Slugger is retiring that model number in honor of Derek Jeter. It’s the first time the company has ever done that in it’s long 130 years in the game. You can read more about it by clicking here.

This past season, the museum brought along a pair of Jeter’s batting gloves from Sept. 11, 2009 when he recorded his 2,722nd hit, setting a Yankees record.

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And who can forget August 20, 2012, when the ValleyCats unveiled their Heritage Series Bobblehead Collection. The first member, Derek Jeter circa 1994.

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So from the ValleyCats organization, salute 2 you Captain!

A season worth celebrating!

We’ve arrived at the end of baseball season here in Upstate New York, as the ValleyCats have wrapped up another spectacular summer at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. Despite falling one game shy of winning back-to-back New York-Penn League Championships, we consider 2014 a HUGE success!

On the field, we went 48-28 in the regular season and were 26-12 at home, setting a new record for home wins. For the third year in a row, we won the Stedler Division title to advance to the postseason. And for the fourth time in five seasons, we played for the league title. In Short-Season Class A ball, that’s an accomplishment of which to be proud.

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From an organization standpoint, we had the best season on record, as we set an all-time total attendance record with 161,171 fans during the regular season.

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Add in the 8,145 fans during the playoffs and nearly 170,000 fans attended a ValleyCats baseball game this summer. Additionally, other events such as our Friday Night Lights series, Capital Region Series, Section II High School Championships, and Capital Region Craft Brewers Festival brought our total attendance to nearly 180,000!

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A beautiful sky above “The Joe” during the Capital Region Series, a tournament hosted by the ValleyCats in June, to raise money for the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation, which assists in the renovation of local youth ball fields throughout the Capital Region.

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The Capital Region Series featured four teams; three local financial institutions (First Niagara, CAP COM Federal Credit Union, SEFCU), and one team comprised of the local media.

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The Shenendehowa Plainsmen captured the Section II Class AA Title at “The Joe.”

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The Averill Park Warriors capture the Section II Class A title at “The Joe.”

Once again, we cannot express our thanks enough to you, the fans, for your support this summer! THANK YOU FANS for making this season so special! Our team fed off your energy and your support is what makes coming to “The Joe” the best part of summer in the Capital Region.

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Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from our playoff run – our first home game was Sept. 4 against the Connecticut Tigers. The ’Cats jumped out to a big lead and held on for the victory, 6-5, to sweep the series 2-0 and advance to the NYPL Championship Series.

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The Connecticut Tigers and Tri-City ValleyCats prior to Game 2 of the New York-Penn League Semi-Final Series at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

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ValleyCats outfielder Jason Martin

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Derek Fisher and Terrell Joyce

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The Connecticut Tigers made their first playoff appearance since moving to Connecticut from Oneonta in 2010.

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The ValleyCats defeated the Connecticut Tigers and advanced to the New York-Penn League Championship Series for the third straight year.

In his second season with the ValleyCats, skipper Ed Romero led the ‘Cats to a 48-28 record, the league best. Romero now has 92 victories as the ‘Cats manager, good for second all-time behind Gregg Langhben (2004-06, 127 victories).

A few days later, we took on the State College Spikes for the second year in a row with the NYPL Cup on the line. After falling in Game 1 to the Spikes in State College, Penn., we returned home with ace RHP Joe Musgrove on the hill. Musgrove shined bright, as he had all season, and led the ’Cats to a 3-0 victory to even the series.

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Joe Musgrove pitched 7 innings, allowing no runs on only two hits, while striking out eight Spikes.

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ValleyCats manager Ed Romero and Spikes manager Oliver Marmol go over the ground rules with the umpires.

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The State College Spikes, affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, finished the season tied with the ValleyCats for the best record in the league at 48-28. The ‘Cats owned the tie-breaker over the Spikes, and therefore had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

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NYPLCS Game2 Victory

Facing a must-win situation after losing Game 1 in State College, the ‘Cats pulled out the victory to force a winner-take-all Game 3.

Prior to the game, BlueShield of Northeastern New York presented a check to the Capital District YMCA as part of their season-long “Ks for Kids” promotion.

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In the deciding Game 3, over 3,100 fans came out to “The Joe,” which by playoff attendance standards, is fantastic!! Prior the game, the ‘Cats were as loose as they have been all year. It may have been because they knew, that no matter what, this was their last game together.

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‘Cats relief pitcher/NYPL All-Star Ryan Thompson lays across the laps of Ariel Ovando, Angel Heredia, Francis Ramirez, and Chris Munnelly.

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‘Cats pitchers (L-R): Angel Heredia, Bryan Radziewski, Chris Munnelly, Robert Kahana, Vince Wheeland, and Randall Fant.

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Things got off to a shaky start, however, as the Spikes posted a 6-spot in the first inning, which proved to be too big of a deficit for the ‘Cats to overcome. State College cruised to the championship win, the first in their franchise history.

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After our season ended, we hosted the ValleyCats Fall Classic, a 16U Eastern New York Travel Baseball (ENYTB) tournament, presented by Frozen Ropes of Albany.

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The tournament consisted of eight youth teams, with a double-elimination format. What made this tournament so unique, aside from playing on a professional baseball field and utilizing professional clubhouses and an indoor batting cage, each player received their own headshot and walk-up music, just like the ValleyCats!

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The championship was decided on Monday night at “The Joe,” with the Upstate Thoroughbreds taking home the title on a walk-off in the bottom of the 7th!

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And so that signaled the end of baseball at “The Joe” in 2014, but we still have plenty of events going on throughout the offseason. This coming weekend, we have not one, but TWO walks dedicated to raise funds for great organizations.

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Beginning late Friday will be our annual Relay For Life of Rensselaer County to benefit the American Cancer Society. The Relay continues through the night into early Saturday morning. Join our team, or start your own!

Later that day at “The Joe,” Make-A-Wish Northeast New York’s inaugural Walk-For-Wishes will take place. Families, friends, corporations, clubs, and schools are invited to walk together and raise funds for children in the Greater Capital Region facing life-threatening medical conditions. Click here for full details>>

We hope to see you here at one of these events or other upcoming ones. Stay tuned to www.tcvalleycats.com, and our Facebook and Twitter feeds, for information this offseason, including our schedule release in the coming months!

VAMOS GATOS!

Romero Readies Team For Playoffs

By Brady Farkas

Just last week I was listening to sports talk radio.

I heard that baseball managers don’t have too much control of the game. There’s too much going on, and you have too little control to make a huge impact.
 
In the case of Ed Romero and this year’s Tri-City ValleyCats, I couldn’t disagree more. The ValleyCats earned the No. 1 seed in the NYPL playoffs with a 48-28 record, and Romero is a big reason why.
 
The ability to think on the fly and to adjust is critical for a minor league manager – and Romero has perfected it.
 
Romero has done his job this season: Develop his players. And as a result, he’s seen a majority of his team come and go. He’s lost four of his biggest offensive threats in A.J. Reed, J.D. Davis, Ryan Bottger and Bobby Boyd. He’s lost the league’s best pitcher in Troy Scribner and two of his most consistent relievers in Jordan Mills and Raul Rivera.
 
Blaine Sims, a member of his opening week rotation, and Marc Wik, his opening day center fielder, are also gone.
 
Two players from his opening day starting lineup are no longer with the organization.
 
Despite the constant fluctuation in lineup and pitching rotations, players rehabbing in Tri-City, and players needing days off, Romero has kept his team’s performance consistent.
 
The team has adjusted on the fly, no longer counting on home runs, but playing a speed game and a game based on situational hitting, good pitching, and good defense.
 
Romero has tinkered: This player up in the order, this player down, this righty-lefty matchup, this bullpen guy in this situation, but he’s figured out how to win with any roster he has in front of him.
 
Should we surprised? No. He helped lead the ‘Cats to the NYPL title in 2013? Who’s to say it can’t happen a second time.
 
Vamos Gatos.

Game Recap: Fans For Life Night at “The Joe!”

Hey, ‘Cats fans and happy Labor Day! We hope everyone is having a relaxing three-day weekend and enjoying the final days of summer. On Saturday night, we celebrated the best fans in MiLB here at “The Joe” on Fans for Life Night and GE Kids in Free! The ‘Cats game against the Brooklyn Cyclones wrapped up the last homestand of the regular season as we set a franchise record for single season attendance at 161,171. Thank you fans for making this possible through all of your support in 2014!

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As soon as gates opened, our fans were greeted by the ValleyCats players and coaching staff, who met with fans for photos and autographs before our pregame ceremonies began. Mayor Kathy Sheehan of Albany was in attendance for a ceremonial first pitch, and a surprise appearance in the Tri-City Mayor’s Race! Lucy Gladstone, the granddaughter of ValleyCats president Bill Gladstone sang the National Anthem in front of our fans before the games began. There was a packed crowd at “The Joe” enjoying a beautiful night with food, baseball and end-of-summer fun!

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The ‘Cats were able to celebrate a win on the final home game of the regular season, 3-2 against the Brooklyn Cyclones. In addition to the attendance record, the ValleyCats set a new record for the most wins at home in one season with 26. Good job, ‘Cats!  Fans stuck around after the game for our tennis ball launch and fireworks show!

Now, the ‘Cats head towards the playoffs as a top-seeded team, earning home field advantage with the first playoff game on Thursday, September 4.Playoff tickets are available by calling 518-629-CATS or visiting the ValleyCats box office here at “The Joe!” Thank you again to all who came out to the ballpark this season to support the ValleyCats and make this summer another memorable one! Now, head out for the playoffs and keep cheering on the ‘Cats! #VamosGatos #UnoMas

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Game Recap: Diamond Dig/Early Oktoberfest

Hey, ‘Cats fans! Sadly, the 2014 regular season is coming to a close here at “The Joe” with our last few games against the New York Mets affiliate, Brooklyn Cyclones. Last night was our Diamond Dig/Early Oktoberfest theme sponsored by Jewelry by Don Cook. It was a gorgeous night for baseball and for 5,501 fans to pack the stands!! There was a lot going on inside the stadium for our Ladies Night out with a postgame diamond dig, Oktoberfest food and beer specials in the Field of Dreams, and a visit from MiLB Blogger Benjamin Hill of the Ben’s Biz blog!

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During our pregame ceremonies, we recognized several teams from UAlbany athletics to congratulate them on championship seasons. We also had our Employee of the Month recognitions on the field as well followed by a record number of ceremonial first pitches before the ‘Cats took the field for a 7 p.m. start.

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“The Joe” had a full crowd for 9 innings of exciting baseball with a ‘Cats 3-2 win over the Cyclones! Following the game, we had our Diamond Dig for the ladies down on the field as they searched for a pair of diamond earrings courtesy of Don Cook of Jewelry by Don Cook! We ended the night with our tennis ball launch and postgame fireworks show!

 

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With losses by the Hudson Valley Renegades and State College Spikes, the ValleyCats are now tied for the second best record with the Spikes as we’re heading towards the playoffs. Tonight is our final regular season home game on Fans for Life Night as the ‘Cats look to get the sweep against the Cyclones to move them closer to a higher seed! We hope to see you out at the ballpark to celebrate another great summer!

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Game Recap: Home Improvement Night

Hey, ‘Cats fans! The ValleyCats began a three-game series with the New York Mets affiliate, the Brooklyn Cyclones here at “The Joe!” We’re almost through with the final homestand of the regular season as summer comes to a close. Luckily, the ‘Cats have clinched the Stedler Division and will be making a playoff appearance very soon!

Last night, we had Home Improvement Night here at “The Joe” presented by TrustCo Bank. We set up a Home Show our concourse during the game where fans were able to visit each of the booths for a chance to win a night in a luxury suite in 2015!

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Many local Mets fans came out to the park to see their affiliate team, the Brooklyn Cyclones at “The Joe” as the ValleyCats looked to snap their losing streak and finally celebrate their Stedler Division title. It was a beautiful night for 9 innings of exciting baseball! SouthPaw had a great time with Trusty the TrustCo mascot and meeting with the Cyclones players!

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After coming back from behind, the ‘Cats won 4-3 with a walk-off thanks to Alex Hernandez in the 9th! The champagne came out and the ‘Cats celebrated down on the field for clinching the Stedler Division for the third year in a row. Tonight, the ‘Cats hope to continue with another win against the Cyclones on Diamond Dig/Oktoberfest Night presented by Don Cook Jewelers. The regular season is coming to a close, so head out to “The Joe” and support your 2014 Stedler Division Champs! Vamos Gatos!20140828_cats_vs_cyclones_-1285 20140828_cats_vs_cyclones_-1649 20140828_cats_vs_cyclones_-1698 20140828_cats_vs_cyclones_-1739

Game Recap: Game Show/Summer Reader Night

Hey, ‘Cats fans! We’re making our way through the final regular season homestand here at “The Joe” after wrapping up a three-game series with the Vermont Lake Monsters last night. It was a fun night at the ballpark as we welcomed families and children out for the NY 529 College Savings Plan Summer Readers Night. There was a drawstring backpack giveaway for fans, and a V.I.P. recognition for the Delgrosso family, who won our Summer Readers contest, Read Your Way to “The Joe.”

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We also challenged our fans to the ALS #IceBucketChallenge by bringing a dunk tank into the park for fans to raise awareness and complete the challenge. Together, we raised $1,000 for the ALS Regional Center at St. Peter’s Hospital and had some fun doing it, too! Our Assistant General Manager Matt Callahan took the plunge into the ice cold water, as well as ValleyCats Vice President/General Manager Rick Murphy and some of the ValleyCats players!

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We recognized the South Colonie 8u baseball team during our pregame ceremonies and had several ceremonial first pitches down on the field before the game began. We celebrated Game Show night with on-field contests inspired by the Price is Right, Cash Cab and more! The ‘Cats fell 4-2 to the Lake Monsters in the final game of the series, but the ValleyCats begin a new series tonight with the Mets affiliate, Brooklyn Cyclones! We hope to see you out at “The Joe” to help us finish off the regular season!

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Game Recap: Dark Tuesday/Track Night

Hey there, ‘Cats fans! We’re almost halfway through the final regular season homestand for the ValleyCats at “The Joe!” Last night we celebrated Dark Tuesday and Track Night as the ValleyCats took on the Vermont Lake Monsters in the second game of a three-game series. The evening’s festivities kicked off at 5 p.m. for our final Tunes for Tuesday of the season with a live performance from Home Brewed Band. Fans enjoyed Two-for-Tuesday beer specials and live music on the concourse!

We welcomed Ronald McDonald and his friends from the Ronald McDonald Charities of the Capital Region for our specialty track-themed Jockey Silk jersey auction to benefit the charity. SouthPaw sure enjoyed his new uniform and the chance to rock out with the band!

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We had a National Anthem performance by the Saratoga Soundtrack group, followed by some ceremonial first pitches from Jesse Calhoun and members from the Ronald McDonald House. The ValleyCats headed right into the starting gate to kick off the game against Vermont, while in between innings, we held some themed on-field promotions and entertainment for our fans on Track Night! We also sold mystery autographed baseballs to benefit the Ronald McDonald house with signatures from current ValleyCats and Houston Astros players. Following the ‘Cats 2-1 loss to Vermont, the players took the jerseys off their backs to give to the auction winners and take photos on the field.

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IMG_3053 DSC_0656 DSC_0649 DSC_0658Tonight, the ‘Cats take on Vermont on Game Show Night/Summer Reader Night presented by the NY 529 College Savings Plan Program. After clinching the Stedler Division title earlier this week, the ‘Cats are looking to stay on track and win some games in front of our loyal fans at “The Joe!” See you soon, and Vamos Gatos!

Game Recap: Healthy Living Night/”You Run The Show”

Hey, ‘Cats fans! We welcomed the ValleyCats and our loyal fans back to “The Joe” last night to kick off the final regular season homestand in 2014. We celebrated Healthy Living Night presented by Subway Restaurants, and we let our fans #RunTheShow for “You Run The Show” and Social Media Monday! Fans were able to decide which food and merchandise specials they wanted to see, which music they wanted to hear and more! They chose the color caps the ValleyCats wore and who got the hot seat interview during our pregame ceremonies. It was fun to turn things over to the fans and see their photos, tweets and Facebook posts throughout the night!

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Fans poured into the stadium to see the ‘Cats hopefully clinch the Stedler Division with a win against the Lake Monsters, or with a Connecticut Tigers loss. Local ball player JP Sportman came back into town playing on Vermont, which drew some local supports in to the stadium as well. We also recognized the Niskayuna 9u All-Star team during the pregame ceremonies down on the field. The Subway mascots walked around our concourse, participated in our in-between inning entertainment and interacted with fans throughout the night!

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Though the ‘Cats fell 5-2 to the Lake Monsters, the Connecticut Tigers loss to Lowell crowned the ValleyCats the 2014 Stedler Division Champions for the third straight year! Postgame, we had an on-field check presentation with OneMain Financial and the Interfaith Partnership for the homeless, and fans came down to dance the Cha-Cha Slide to help stomp out homelessness! We finished the evening with postgame fireworks presented by Price Chopper.

Tonight, we return to “The Joe” for Track Night/Dark Tuesday with a specialty jersey auction to benefit the Ronald McDonald House! Only a few regular season home games remain, so head out to the stadium to cheer on your 2014 Stedler Division Champs as they push towards another New York-Penn League title! Vamos Gatos!

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Game Recap: Blizzard in August Night

Hey, ‘Cats fans! Were you a little chilly last night at “The Joe?” It must have been the threat of snowy weather in the forecast for our Blizzard in August Night sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps! Fans came into the stadium wearing white and were able to receive a white t-shirt giveaway for our attempt to white-out the stands and cheer on the ‘Cats. The U.S. Marines had a table set up as people came through the gates and could interact with members and try the pull-up bar challenge! Even SouthPaw and the ValleyCats General Manager Rick Murphy gave it a shot. Impressive work!

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Don and Lois Frame were in attendance celebrating their 62nd wedding anniversary and were able to head down on the field for a ceremonial first pitch before the ‘Cats took on the Vermont Lake Monsters. The Troy Children’s Choir sang the National Anthem and dressed all in white to support the nightly theme!

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The ‘Cats looked to take the second game of a two-game series against Vermont, but fell 4-2 after 9 innings. However, ‘Cats outfielder Derek Fisher celebrated his 21st birthday with a solo home run!! Now, the ‘Cats continue to push towards the postseason while they hit the road for three games in Brooklyn before we begin the final homestand of the regular season at “The Joe” on Monday, August 25 for Healthy Living Night/ You Run the Show presented by Subway with postgame fireworks! We hope to see you out at the ballpark to help cheer on the ValleyCats to close out the summer!

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Game Recap: Texas Night

Howdy, ‘Cats fans! Following the New York-Penn League All-Star break, the ValleyCats returned home to “The Joe” on Texas Night: Boots, BBQ and Baseball presented by Dave & Buster’s! Fans were able to join us at the ballpark to celebrate the Lone Star State and our MLB affiliate, the Houston Astros!

During the pregame, we held a fundraiser for the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center. They joined us on the field for some of the pre-game festivities, including a ceremonial first pitch opportunity. Dave & Buster’s sponsored the evening’s theme and had tables along our concourse. There were some great BBQ food special at Left Field Louie’s as we celebrated the nightly theme!

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We also recognized ValleyCats players who played on the New York-Penn League All-Star team in Brooklyn on August 19. Outfielder Derek Fisher, pitcher Ryan Thompson, catcher Jamie Ritchie and third baseman Nick Tanielu were selected to play for the North team, and Tanielu earned MVP of the game! Upstate Ford had a vehicle display up front where fans could enter to win an Upgrade with Upstate promotion to win a ValleyCats jersey, premium box seat upgrade and a ValleyCats gift card!20140820_185535IMG_2634

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It was great to see our fans out for the game and our postgame ball launch and fireworks show! One lucky fan tossed his tennis ball into the Mountain Man kayak, which he got to take home! The ‘Cats lost the first game of the series to the Vermont Lake Monsters, but we return to “The Joe” tonight for Blizzard in August with a white t-shirt giveaway. Come join us at the stadium to catch a ‘Cats game before the regular season ends!

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Profiling the ValleyCats All-Stars

By Brady Farkas

With the New York-Penn League All-Star Game set to take place Tuesday night in Brooklyn, it’s time to look at what has made the ValleyCats representatives so good during the season’s first 63 games.

Nick Tanielu: Officially listed as a designated hitter on the all-star roster, Tanielu has played both second and third base for the ValleyCats this season. He’s filled in nicely at third for most of the season since J.D. Davis’ promotion to Quad Cities.
Defensively, Tanielu has good range and is able to get to most balls. He also has a quick release and a good arm that has allowed him to look very comfortable at the hot corner.
Offensively, Tanielu is hitting .307. He has good power and has shown the ability to drive the ball to the gap. While offensive forces like A.J. Reed, Ryan Bottger, and Davis have seen promotions, Tanielu has moved into the middle of the order, which was a bit of an adjustment at first. He has quick hands and is able to pull the ball well, we just need to see him drive it the other way more consistently over the last 13 games.
Jamie Ritchie: Ritchie, a catcher, has been on fire all season long at the plate. Simply put, whenever he plays, he produces. He can hit to all fields and has good pitch recognition. Furthermore, he’s able to spoil pitches for opposing pitchers. His ability to draw walks and get deep into counts has served him well thus far. He’s a good line drive hitter, but his lone home run of the year was a two-out, game-tying shot in the bottom of the ninth against Husdon Valley. He’s hitting .365.
Derek Fisher: Fisher, the Astros supplemental first-round pick (No. 37), has certainly played like a high draft pick. Another ValleyCat hitting above .300 (.325), Fisher has provided Tri-City stability in the No. 3 spot of the order since his arrival from the University of Virginia. He’s got a great swing and really quick hands that allow him to get to pitches at all velocities.
He’s also got a great eye and doesn’t go outside of the strike zone. The thing that has impressed me most is his speed. He can stretch singles to doubles and can steal bases at will.
He’s also adjusted well to becoming among the lone lefties in the lineup. After having Bobby Boyd, A.J. Reed, and Ryan Bottger around him as fellow LH earlier in the year, Fisher is often the top lefty threat, and is pitched accordingly by opponents.
Ryan Thompson: Thompson, the lone pitcher the ValleyCats are sending, has anchored down the bullpen this season after a stellar career at Campbell University. His submarine delivery has baffled hitters — and he’s gotten nine saves thus far. He throws strikes and doesn’t walk people. It’s easy to succeed with that formula.
He also throws two pitches for strikes at will and can keep opposing batters off-balance.
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