Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

All about the Kidz!

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This past Wednesday marked the 106th birthday of Dr. Seuss, the pioneer of modern children’s literature. His birthday his celebrated through Read Across America, a national initiative that calls for every child to celebrate reading. Schools across the country participate in this program by bringing in guest readers to read to the children. SouthPaw and the ValleyCats were the guests at Carroll Hill Elementary School in Troy. 
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The fourth annual Hannaford Kidz Expo will be held this Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on the concourse of the Empire State Plaza in Albany. The ValleyCats will have their speed pitch machine set up for kids to see just how fast they can really throw.
Admission is free and will feature a number of kids activities that include bounce rides, live animals, circus performers, hands-on activities, professional theater productions, dozens of costumed characters and more. More than 80 exhibitors are scheduled to attend, providing important information for parents and fun things for kids to see and do.

For more information about this event, you can call 518-474-0538 or visit www.empirestateplaza.org.

SouthPaw at the 2010 Kidz Expo:

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105 Days Until Opening Weekend

March Madness: Busy business, promos and a Spring Training celebration!

March has finally arrived! It’s a great month for so many reasons. Spring Training is in full swing, the weather turns warmer, the days get longer and the first day of Spring will soon be upon us. Which means there’s only a few months until the beginning of our 10th anniversary season.
In the office this time of year, there’s lots of business to be taken care of before Opening Day on June 17th. From acquiring corporate partners to finding groups to come out to the ballpark. From finalizing the 2011 promotional schedule to creating the 2011 pocket schedules. Not to mention the process of hiring full-time interns and over 200 part-time employees. 
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The 2011 promotional schedule is coming along very nicely and there are going to be some very awesome giveaway items this season that everyone will surely enjoy, including two bobbleheads for sure. We’ll be releasing the promo schedule very soon. The production process on the 2011 Pocket Schedules is going very well and ahead of schedule this year and we should have them in house by the middle of March, hopefully by the 15th.
Here’s a photo of my desk while working on the pocket schedule:
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While the marketing materials such as the calendars, schedules, programs, etc. are being created, our sales team is working in overdrive looking for companies who might be interested in advertising at the stadium or having a company outing in one of our popular picnic areas or suites. We work with all the companies to find the best means of promoting their product and increasing their business. A company might not like our outfield fence signs, but would like to interact more with our fan base by sponsoring a night or having a table on the concourse. It differs depending on the goal of each company.
Here is one of our full time sales assistants, Mike Johnson, on the phone with a prospective group:

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Each Thursday our sales team picks out of a “goal bowl” with the objective of assigning each member of the sales team with a goal or task for the 2011 season. It could range from targeting a certain type of group, taking ownership of a promo date or finding a sponsor for one of our giveaway items. It keeps the team energized, focused and on track.
Chris Dawson picking from the “goal bowl”:
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Believe it or not, Opening Day tickets are going extremely fast due to the success of our 2011 mini-plan packages. There have also been a number of groups that have booked their outing on Opening Day as well. At this point, mini-plans, group outings and obviously season tickets is the only way to guarantee yourself a seat on Opening Day. Individual tickets will be going on-sale in the near future. We’ll make that announcement along with our promo schedule release. 
Click here for information on our 2011 Mini-Plans. Packages start at $30 and include tickets to six of our best games and a guaranteed giveaway item. 
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Every March for the past three years I have had the pleasure of attending Astros Spring Training, and this year will be the most special. Our 2010 ValleyCats championship team will reunite for the first time since they flew out of Albany the day after defeating Brooklyn. Since the ‘Cats won the championship, most of the players have been at home. Some of them work part time jobs and others even take classes to earn their college degrees, such as Brandt Walker. He attended classes at Stanford along with former ‘Cat and Astros starting catcher Jason Castro. Brandt recently had surgery on his knee and will rehab this entire season. We wish him the best of luck with a full and speedy recovery.

The Astros are currently holding a special mini-camp for certain minor leaguers and it began this past week. Former ‘Cats attending include Jake Buchanan, Bobby Doran, Carlos Quevedo, Andrew Robinson, Ben Heath, Chris Wallace, Tyler Burnett, Enrique Hernandez, Mike Kvasnicka, Marcus Nidiffer, Telvin Nash and Austin Wates.

The entire minor league staff reports on March 4th (pitchers) and March 5th (position players). 
On March 6th they will begin a spring game schedule where the Astros minor leaguers will play minor leaguers from other MLB teams. Games are played at home in the many backfields of Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee and also on the road at other Major League Spring Training facilities.

I’ll be in Kissimmee from March 18th through the 23rd, during which I will provide you with special coverage of everything going on at the backfields of the Astros Spring Training complex. I’ll catch up with all your former ValleyCats and introduce you to members of the new 2011 coaching staff. I’ll be providing Twitter updates, uploading photos and videos and blogging about each days activities right here on ‘Cats Corner. 

On the evening of March 22nd the Astros will hold a very special ring ceremony during a dinner reception at the Major League Spring Training complex. At that time, each member of the ValleyCats 2010 championship team will receive their rings. The entire minor league staff, major league staff and Astros front office will be attending the dinner, which will make for a very memorable night for everyone including myself. I will be covering the event and will post a recap of the night. Everything will be located in one spot on our VCN page. 

Have you got a request for us during Spring Training? Someone we should talk to or question we should ask? We’re taking suggestions through our Twitter page…Send a tweet to @ValleyCats and we’ll try to fulfill your request.

If you would like to follow everything else that’s going on at Astros Spring Training, social media guru Alyson Footer provides, in my opinion, the best coverage of any major league spring training. Click here for Alyson’s blog.

-CC
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Last week our front office attended RPI Puckman’s 30th birthday celebration during the men’s hockey game in Troy. SouthPaw, Rowdy and the mayors were there to present Puckman with a huge birthday cake! Here are some photos from the night…
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SouthPaw was a mischievous cat on this night…
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What do you think of SouthPaw’s reporting skills?

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108 days until Opening Day June 17th!

Renovation Celebration: 4 in 24 Fields Announced

Much time has passed since the idea for ’4 in 24′ was first put on the table, until last night when the four chosen leagues came together to celebrate the official announcement. 

It started with deciding on a name for the program. We knew that we were going to renovate four fields in twenty four hours, but what were we going to call it? It had to be something catchy and with a good ring to it. ’4 in 24′ seemed like the natural fit. 
Next step was to come up with a good eye catching logo. We decided that we’d like to incorporate a clock into the logo to designate the twenty four hour time span. Then to give it a baseball feel, we added the infield diamond and grass texture.
Next was to seek corporate sponsors, and were very grateful when Friendly’s, Price Chopper, CDTA and The Brickman Group “stepped up to the plate” to help aid the ValleyCats in this exciting project. With such great partnerships, the over one thousand children who make up the four leagues will be able to begin their 2011 baseball season with essentially a brand new playing surface. 
Applications were accepted from almost 40 leagues throughout the Capital Region, making for an extremely tough selection process.
“We received a great response from youth leagues all around the Capital Region and would like to thank them all for participating. After a challenging selection process, we have chosen four fields that we feel best fit the objective and scope of this project. Expanding our annual field renovation program is just the next step in our mission to provide safe and well-maintained fields for youth sports organizations throughout the community. As an ambassador for the great game of baseball, we will hold true to that mission for years to come,” ValleyCats Vice President/General Manager Rick Murphy said.

All leagues that were not chosen will receive an informational sheet on maintaining their field along with an instructional video on how to properly rebuild the pitcher’s mound and home plate areas. Also, this will definitely not be the last year that field renovations will take place and we encourage each league to apply again next season.

Without further ado, here is the list of the four chosen fields that will be renovated:

Westland Hills Little League

      LOCATION: 56 Lawnridge Ave, Albany, NY 12208

      TEAMS: 40-44  PLAYERS: 500-600  AGES: 4-16

      2011 Opening Day: April 23, 2011

      League President: Michael Patnode

      Facts:  – In operation for over 75 years and serves the inner city boys and girls             

                    - Offers scholarships to those that cannot afford to play

 

Ballston Spa Jr. Baseball League

      LOCATION: Malta Avenue, Ballston Spa, NY 12020

      TEAMS: 24-26  PLAYERS: N/A  AGES: 8-13+

      2011 Opening Day: April, 2011

      League President: Neal Hastey

      Facts:  – Relies solely on sponsors and league fees to run program/maintain facilities            

                    - Fields named after Abner Doubleday, who was born in Ballston Spa

 

Northside Little League

      LOCATION: Van Vranken Ave & Vandebogart, Schenectady, NY 12308

      TEAMS: 21  PLAYERS: 250+  AGES: 5-12

      2011 Opening Day: April 23, 2011

      League President: Tony Derenzo

      Facts:  – Located in a lower income community, it is a safe haven for local children          

                    - Established in 1950′s, league was once a crown jewel with a large 

                       enrollment and several district championships.

 

Scotia-Glenville Little League

      LOCATION: Collins Park, Schonowee Ave, Scotia, NY 12302

      TEAMS: N/A  PLAYERS: 300  AGES: 5-12

      2011 Opening Day: April 25, 2011

      League President: Joe Gatta

      Facts:  – Divisions consist of Majors, AAA, AA, Instructional and T-Ball

        – League has about 25 board members volunteering their time to keep the league

          functioning


The announcement last night at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy was made by members of the ValleyCats front office and title sponsor’s Friendly’s, Price Chopper, CDTA and the Brickman Group. Former standout athlete from the Capital Region and current New York State Assemblyman James Tedisco was also in attendance. Most importantly, each league had outstanding representation. League presidents, vice presidents, parents and children all showed up in droves.


Here’s a photo recap of the night:


Photo’s from past field renovation projects lined the countertop along with the ValleyCats championship trophy:

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ValleyCats Media Relations Manager Chris Chenes kicked off the announcement by welcoming all in attendance:

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Chris then introduced ValleyCats Vice President & General Manager Rick Murphy to make the formal announcement:

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Each league brought a number of children, most dressed in their little league uniform shirts & caps:

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Stadium Operations Manager Keith Sweeney was next to the podium to outline the strategy on how the four fields will be renovated in a 24-hr span and also what renovations would take place:

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To outline what Keith mentioned, here’s how the renovations are going to happen. They will take place beginning the morning of Friday, April 15th and will be completed by Saturday morning April 16th. To begin the process, the ValleyCats will separate their crew into two groups. One will begin in Ballston Spa and one will begin at Westland Hills in Albany. After those fields are completed, all will diverge upon Schenectady and begin work at the Northside and Scotia-Glenville Little League fields. The ‘Cats front office, grounds crew, and many volunteers will work around the clock to get each field completed.


Assemblyman James Tedisco joined us for the announcement and we were very happy to have him. He grew up in the Schenectady area, was a standout basketball player growing up (he joked about just being able to see over the podium, but yes he was a great ballplayer), and he knows how important it is for the youth of the Capital Region to have good facilities to grow up on. 


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Each of the title sponsors were represented as well, with each saying a few words. First up was Albany Branch Manager for The Brickman Group, Ryan Panarese:

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CDTA Director of Marketing, Jonathan Scherzer:

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Albany Market Manager for Friendly’s Restaurants, David Bailey:
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Price Chopper Vice President of Public Relations & Consumer Services, Mona Golub:
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At the end of the program, everyone came together for photos. As you can see, the turnout was tremendous.
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The photo below is courtesy of J.S. Carras of the Troy Record. You can read their article written by Andrew Santillo on the ’4 in 24′ program here.
Screen shot 2011-02-18 at 1.45.04 PM.pngWe’ll now coordinate with each league to come up with a detailed plan for April’s renovations and before you know it, Opening Day will be here.

Time to start thinking baseball!

On Saturday, February 12th, I attended open
registration for Saratoga American Little League at Walton’s Sports Store in Saratoga Springs. With
the Super Bowl over, the weather starting to turn slightly warmer and pitchers & catchers reporting to spring training, what better time
to start talking baseball? 

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Open registration ran from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. If you missed sign-ups, you can still register your
child online. Just go to the leagues website at http://www.saratogalittleleague.org/.
Registration for the 2011 season will conclude on March 18th, and
tryouts for minor and major league divisions will be held on March 19th
at the Saratoga High School gym.

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Along with sign-ups for the league, parents were able to register their children for a special three day baseball camp to be hosted by the New York-Penn League Champion Tri-City ValleyCats in Saratoga this summer. Children who register for this three day camp will receive professional instruction from ValleyCats players, a FREE limited edition ValleyCats souvenir hat and 4 tickets to the July 31st ValleyCats home game at “The Joe.” 


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This three day camp will be hosted at the East Side Recreational Complex on July 27th thru 29th. For more information, please visit the Academy Camps section of our web page. Or call (518) 629-2287.


-Joel


Giddy Up!

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Check out the latest toys in the promo room! We’ll be debuting these as an added in-between innings contest. These inflatable horses come in a small size for kids and larger size for adults. 
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Michelle has been busy this week going through the process of finding new items to feature in our team store, SouthPaws Den this season. Some new items include long-sleeve t-shirts, mesh shorts, home and away replica jerseys in adult sizes, new championship gear (including jackets) and much much more.

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This week our parent club, the Houston Astros, began shipping equipment and gear from their ballpark in Houston to their Spring Training complex in Kissimmee, FL. Astros blogger Alyson Footer documents that here
Florida isn’t the only place the Astros are shipping things too. This week we received boxes of shorts and equipment for the players. Even though we don’t receive our players until June, we will constantly receive packages from the Astros to get ready for the 2011 season.
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The Siena College Athletic Department will recognize the Tri-City ValleyCats 2010 New York-Penn League Championship during halftime of the Siena mens basketball game on Wednesday, February 16th at the Times Union Center in Albany. 

The ValleyCats will have a booth set up on the concourse displaying their championship trophy, handing out 2011 game schedules and giving away prizes. Fans will have the opportunity to sign up and win an authentic ValleyCats championship ring. SouthPaw will also be on hand entertaining Saints fans and signing autographs. 

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. as the Saints take on Saint Peter’s in a league matchup. Tickets will be available at the Times Union Center Box Office, online at www.timesunioncenter-albany.com, select Ticketmaster Outlets or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. The game will also be televised live by Time Warner Cable Sports on TW3. 

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125 days until Opening Day!    

Remember the Titans

Over the past few weekends, the ‘Cats have lent their baseball knowledge to the Clifton Park Titans of the Clifton Park Baseball League. Under the assistance of ValleyCats General Manager & former Boston College baseball alumnus Rick Murphy, members of the team had the chance to come out to “The Joe” and receive 1-on-1 instruction, have their own locker and hit in the indoor batting cage. 

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Each player was also videotaped by ValleyCats Production Manager Chris Chenes in the batting cage and sent the video for a swing analysis. At the last session, the same players will be taped again to see their improvement. 

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Here’s some of the swings we’re working with:

The Clifton Park Baseball League has teams in the Cal Ripken Division (ages 5 thru 12) and the Babe Ruth Division (ages 13-15). They also field Travel and All Star teams from ages 8 thru 15 for kids looking to play baseball at a more competitive level. CPBL also fields a competitive Connie Mack, Mickey Mantle and Senior Babe Ruth team and a newly formed 22 under team. Their league is run completely by volunteers and they are always looking for individuals willing to lend a hand. 
For more information on the Clifton Park Baseball League, you can visit their website at http://www.cliftonparkbaseballleague.com/
We’ll keep you updated on their progress!

Mascots On Ice, Radiothon, Valentines, Snow

This past weekend was a busy one for the ValleyCats front office staff. Friday night was the 2nd annual “Mascots On Ice” during the RPI Hockey Game. Going into Friday night’s game, the Engineers hockey team was ranked 10th in the nation. After defeating Brown and then #1 Yale on Saturday, RPI now stands as the #8 ranked team in the nation. 
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If you missed the Mascots On Ice performance, here’s the highlights from the night:

Special thanks to RPI Athletics Marketing and Promotions Director Sachi for helping us make this a memorable night. Sachi is pictured here with SouthPaw and Assistant GM Matt Callahan.
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On Saturday, Ronald McDonald House of the Capital Region held their annual Radiothon at Crossgates Mall, and we were honored to be a part of it. Over $130-thousand was raised on Saturday, with the help of all those who donated to the wonderful cause.
For a $20 donation, people could enter “Autograph Alley” and meet wrestling superstars Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Carlito, member of the Baltimore Orioles and Queensbury native Brendan Harris and also Diamondbacks pitcher Brian Sweeney.
150_5573.JPGHere’s an awesome picture of SouthPaw and Hacksaw!
150_5556.JPGSouthPaw made his rounds during the day, meeting some great people!
WWE wrestler Carlito:150_5565.JPGD-Backs pitcher Brian Sweeney:150_5563.JPGRadiothon Volunteers:150_5575.JPGFly92′s Brian Cody:150_5577.JPGThe man himself, Ronald McDonald was also signing autographs:150_5578.JPGA huge crowd gathered on the lower level for a performance by Secondhand Serenade:150_5588.JPG150_5585.JPGBack in October, our front office spent a morning at the Ronald McDonald House cooking breakfast for the families.  
If you would like to donate your time or money to the Ronald McDonald House of the Capital Region, please visit their website at http://www.rmhcofalbany.org _____________________________________________________________________________
This week, in light of the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, the ValleyCats unveiled a special package for couples that includes a very unique baseball experience. The package i
ncludes tickets to six of the ‘Cats best games, the ability to come the ballpark early and watch batting practice, get a tour of the stadium and have their picture taken on the field, which will then be printed and framed. 
Here’s a complete outline of the package:

Sweetheart Package

Tired of the same old Valentine’s Day
flowers, chocolate or dinner for two? If you’re looking for a unique
gift to give to your significant other for Valentine’s Day, the Tri-City
ValleyCats are currently offering the “Sweetheart Package.” Treat that
special baseball fan in your life to six of the best ValleyCats games
this summer at “The Joe” and receive some great additional perks.

SWEETHEART PACKAGE INCLUDES:

Sweetheart PackageThis limited time offer can
be purchased for just $125.00 by calling the ValleyCats front office at
518-629-2287,
or in-person at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium Box Office located on the
campus of Hudson Valley Community College. Offer ends on Monday,
February 14th.

Sweetheart Package

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Finally, if you live in the Upstate New York area, or in most parts of the nation, you already know how bad of a winter we have had thus far. Almost 46 inches of snow has fallen this winter and we’re expecting about 25 more in the next two days. That will put us above the average snowfall amount of 63.9. And we still have the entire month of February! 

Local radio shows are even creating parody songs to mock the awful weather…like “Eff this..Winter 2011″.

Here’s a couple shots from the stadium on Tuesday afternoon:

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Now for some GREAT NEWS!….pitchers & catchers report to spring training in 13 days! Astros will meet at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, Florida. We’ll also be there at the end of March to catch up with some former ‘Cats including the members of the 2010 championship team. 

Here’s two warm spring training pictures to end with for something to look forward to:

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On Ice Rehearsal

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Tonight at the Houston Field House in Troy, ValleyCats mascots will be taking the ice during the second intermission of the RPI & Brown ECAC hockey game. The Engineers are ranked 10th in the nation, so it should be an extremely exciting game to watch.
After the second period, ValleyCats mascots will perform a three minute skit on ice. This also marks the return of Rowdy to the rink. Rowdy last skated in April 2010 during the last Albany River Rats game at the Times Union Center. After the Rats left town, SouthPaw and the ValleyCats adopted Rowdy into their mascot family.
Friday morning, members of the ValleyCats front office went through a dry run. Mascots scheduled to attend include SouthPaw, Rowdy, Tri-City Hall Mayors Jerry Jennings, Brian Stratton and Harry Tutunjian, and of course the RPI Puckman. 
The ‘Cats will also have a table set up during the game where fans can see the New York-Penn League Championship Trophy, win great prizes and also sign-up to win an authentic ValleyCats championship ring. 
Tickets for tonights game are available at the Houston Field House Box Office. Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. 
Here are the Tri-City Hall Mayors practicing this morning:
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A friendly front office hockey game took place following the rehearsal:
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Account Executive Chris Dawson received a 2-minute penalty for completely missing the puck and falling on the ice:
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Here’s a quick highlight video from the 2010 ValleyCats Mascots On Ice. This years skit will be completely different, and you’re in for a real treat!

Interns Wanted


Looking to gain experience working in baseball? The ValleyCats are currently accepting internship applications for the 2011 season. Internships run from May-September and students may receive college credit and/or a monthly stipend. 
Click here for more information: 2011 ValleyCats Internship Opportunities

161 Days

The snow is falling on a cold January night, but don’t worry. Spring is just around the corner and summer will be here before you know it. Just 161 days until opening day!

Here’s Stadium Operations Manager Keith Sweeney trying to purchase tickets:
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Championship Chili

The third annual Chili Challenge, a benefit for the Kidney Foundation of Northeastern New York and the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York, took place last night at the Holiday Inn Express in Latham. Over 20 vendors cooked up their favorite chili’s to be judged by attendees and a panel of celebrity and guest judges including our very own Assistant GM Matt Callahan. Other guest judges included John D’ Adamo from The Desmond Hotel, Ken Durham of Raymour & Flanigan, Ashe Reardon from CBS6, Heather Morrison from YNN, Nicole Lally from WTEN, Dan Bazile of WNYT and Steve Teeling from FOX23.

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Those restaurants on the ballot included Pie in the Sky, Otis & Oliver’s, The Eatery, Houlihan’s, Albany Pump Station, Bellevue Cafe, New World Bistro, Lansingburgh Cafe, BFS Restaurant, Farmer Boy Diner & Restaurant, Illium Cafe, Park Pub & Restaurant, Central Steak, Nathan’s Hot Dogs, Cafe Hollywood, Muddy’s, Halfmoon Sandwich & Salad Shoppe, The Eatery @ Rte Fore Golf, Quizno’s and Hollywood Brown Derby.

Each cup of chili was judged on five criteria; Color, Aroma, Consistency, Taste and Aftertaste.

Chili Challenge 006.jpgPie in the Sky from Central Avenue in Albany was serving up “Snake Bite Tequila Chili”, which includes Python meat:
Chili Challenge 018.jpgSteve Teeling of FOX23 checking out the chili’s:
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SouthPaw had to beg to try some:
Chili Challenge 003.jpgFan Development Manager Michelle Skinner had a much easier time getting her hands on a cup:
Chili Challenge 019.jpgAfter all the scorecards were tallied, the winners were crowned. Here are the final results:

Best Booth

Winner – BFS Restaurant

1st Runner Up – Pie in the Sky


Best Vegetarian

Winner – Houlihan’s

1st Runner Up – New World Bistro


Zestiest

Winner – Houlihan’s

1st Runner Up – Muddy’s

 

Most Creative

Winner – Pie in the Sky

1st Runner Up – BFS Restaurant

 

Best Overall ~ People’s Choice

Winner – Lansingbugh Caf

1st Runner Up – Pie in the Sky

 

Best Overall – Judge’s Choice

Winner – Halfmoon Sandwich and Salad Shoppe

1st Runner Up – The Eatery @ Rte Fore Golf

The event was a tremendous success and all of the chili’s were amazing! Check out some more photos:

Best Overall Chili Winner, Lansinbgurgh Cafe, as voted by the people:

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SouthPaw poses with a fan and the championship trophy:
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SouthPaw and celebrity judge Heather Morrison, meteorologist from YNN.
Chili Challenge 011.jpgMedia Relations Manager Chris Chenes with FOX23 Meteorologist Steve Teeling:
Chili Challenge 021.jpgTwo of the guest judges, GM of The Desmond Hotel John D’ Adamo and ValleyCats Assistant General Manager Matt Callahan:
Chili Challenge 020.jpgSouthPaw with Katie Camarro of Sundaes Best Hot Fudge:
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The Journey from Troy to San Francisco

It’s been over a month and a half since the Tri-City ValleyCats captured their first New York-Penn League Championship, and today the city of San Francisco will celebrate their 2010 World Series Champion Giants in a victory parade in the heart of downtown San Francisco.

The parade route will follow the
same path it took 52 years ago when the Giants were welcomed to their
new home from New York in 1958, a franchise that got it’s roots from the same city that the ‘Cats call home.

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(Below is an excerpt from the 2003 Tri-City ValleyCats program article on “A History of Baseball in the Capital Region.”)
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          Although the argument of whether Abner Doubleday or Alexander
Cartwright invented the game of baseball will probably never be settled,
one thing remains certain: baseball was invented in New York, and the
Capital Region has left a firm imprint on the history of professional
baseball.
          Long before the Tri-City ValleyCats roared into
Joseph L. Bruno stadium, baseball’s future stars had been entertaining
Capital Region fans for generations.
          While many of the
teams are now just distant memories, the one Capital Region team that
will never be forgotten is the Troy Haymakers. Although professional
baseball was being played throughout the city of Troy in the late
1800′s, the Haymakers are the only team to have played on the major
league level.
          The Haymakers were the first team to have a Latin American player, Esteban Bellan,
“The Cuban Syph.” Originally called the Unions of Lansingburgh, the
Haymakers first played in the National Association of Baseball Players
league. Games were played at Rensselaer Park for five seasons, and the
Haymakers won about 90% of their games. The Unions overwhelmed local
teams, often scoring in excess of 100 runs in a game. In August of 1886,
the Unions decided to make their first trip to play the top teams of
New York City.
          Their first match-up against the powerful
Brooklyn Atlantics proved to be a learning experience, as they were
vanquished 46-11. The Unions didn’t let the crushing defeat deter them,
however, and came back to shock the best team in baseball at the time,
the New York Mutuals, with a thrilling 15-13 victory. The win sent
shockwaves through the baseball world and also served as the origin of
the Haymakers famous nickname. A Mutual player expressed his disbelief
in losing to a team of “Haymakers.” The nickname stuck and Haymakers
would forever be associated with baseball in troy.
          In 1879
the Haymakers were granted membership to the National League of
Professional Baseball Clubs (present day National League) and changed
their name to the Troy Trojans. Troy was a thriving industrial city at
the time with a population of nearly 85,000. The club averaged a
respectable 2,000 fans a game for their four years despite relatively
high ticket prices- 50 cents a game, $20 for season tickets. But high
prices and losing records don’t mix. Troy found that out in 1881, when
exactly 12 fans turned out to watch the Trojans and Chicago in the 1881
season finale. The record still stands as a major league low.
         
The Trojans played in the major leagues for four seasons and compiled a
total record of 134-191. In 1882 the Trojans were contracted from the
league for economic reasons, but were granted honorary membership to the
National League as a form of compensation, which still applies to this
day.
          When the Trojans disbanded, a New York tobacco tycoon,
John Day, bought the rights to the Trojans and sent many of the players
to two of his teams, the New York Metropolitans of the American
Association (present day American League), and the New York Gothams
(Giants) of the National League.

Five of the players sent to play with
the Metropolitans and the Gothams went on to the Hall of Fame.
(Click their name to view full stats on MLB.com)
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Buck Ewing.jpg

Buck Ewing
Born: October 27, 1859, Hogland, Ohio
Elected into the Hall of Fame: 1939

Former Troy Trojan, Buck Ewing, was the first catcher
ever elected to the Hall of Fame. Ewing hit over .300 in 10
of his 15 full major league seasons, compiling a .303 career
batting average. He captained the New York Giants to the
club’s first championship in 1888 and 1889.

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Dan Brouthers
Born: May 8, 1858, Sylvan Lake, NY
Elected into the Hall of Fame: 1945

Dan Brouthers, former Troy Trojan, won more major league
batting titles (five) than any other 19th century ballplayer. His
career spanned four decades and ended with a lifetime batting
average of .342, which is tops among big-league first base-men
and is a three way tie for the seventh-best in history.

        

Mickey Welch.jpg

Mickey Welch
Born: July 4, 1859, Brooklyn, NY
Elected into the Hall of Fame: 1973

Mickey Welch, a crafty right-hander, pitched for Troy and
New York in the National League during the 19th century.
On August 28, 1884, Welch struck out the first nine batters
he faced, a record that has remained untouched. The next
season, Welch won 17 straight games and ended the season
with a 44-11 record.

Tim Keefe.jpg
Tim Keefe
Born: January 1, 1857, Cambridge, MA
Elected into the Hall of Fame: 1964

A superior submarine pitcher, Tim Keefe won 342 games in
just 14 big league seasons. He ran off a record 19 straight
victories during the 1888 season and twice won over 40 games. Keefe spent three seasons pitching for the Troy
Trojans of the National League, 1880-1882. After his playing
career, Keefe served three years as a National League umpire,
1894-1896.



Roger Conner.jpg

Roger Connor
Born: July 1, 1857, Waterbury, CT
Elected into the Hall of Fame: 1976

Roger Connor was the 19th century’s home run king with 138
career homers. The slugging first baseman surpassed the .300
mark in 12 different seasons. Connor started his 18-season career with the Troy Trojans in 1880 where he hit .332 in 83 games.

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Newspaper clipping of Buck Ewing:
TroyHaymakers 004.jpg
This “honorary membership” to the
National League as a form of compensation, has been
rumored to include an agreement that several exhibition games would be played in Troy each season and that Troy would be allowed to apply for another
franchise. Neither of these have happened. A search is on to see if there is some sort of official document that exists, which states either of these agreements.

An interesting article appears in the local Troy Record newspaper this morning, further explaining the situation.

So as you watch the San Francisco Giants parade down Market Street, keep in mind that the organization stemmed from a team in Troy, NY. Current home of the 2010 New York-Penn League Champion Tri-City ValleyCats.

Ronald and a Race

It’s been a busy week for all of us in the Tri-City ValleyCats front office staff, not only in the office but out in the community. On Friday, we spent the morning cooking breakfast at the Ronald McDonald House in Albany:

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The Ronald McDonald House of Albany opened on June 30, 1982 and offers a “home away from home” for families who have a seriously ill child being treated at an area hospital. It is located just around the corner from Albany Medical Center.

The house, built from two existing Victorian houses, has 16 bedrooms, 2 living rooms, a family room, 2 kitchens, a medical library, a game room for the kids, and a laundry room.

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Families are supported by volunteers and other families in similar circumstances. Since 1982, the Ronald McDonald House in Albany has served more than 14,000 visitors.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region has been selected as a finalist to receive funding in the amount of $10,000 from LIVESTRONG. They need your help to bring a SuperSibs! program to the community to ensure that siblings of children with cancer do not feel forgotten.

Voting ends Friday night at 7pm, so please go to www.vote.livestrong.org to vote now.

Here are some more photos from Friday morning, but I must warn you first, you may get hungry viewing these photos:

Ronald McDonald House Breakfast 006.jpgRonald McDonald House Breakfast 007.jpgRonald McDonald House Breakfast 008.jpgRonald McDonald House Breakfast 010.jpgRonald McDonald House Breakfast 022.jpgRonald McDonald House Breakfast 017.jpg

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This past Saturday the 2nd annual “Race Away Stigma 5K Race and Fun Walk” kicked off in front of Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College. The event was held to promote awareness of mental health issues, such as ADHD, that face college students every day. One in every five Americans are affected by such issues and it’s most prevalent during the college years.

The ValleyCats were well represented in the race/walk, entering eight members.

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The race is a collaborative effort between Hudson Valley’s Center for Counseling and Transfer and the Clearview Center, Inc., a growth and recovery center for people with mental illness.

It kicked off at 10am on a cloudy and brisk morning and attracted all ages of men, women and children. 

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Following the race, HVCC provided a barbeque chicken lunch with raffle prizes donated by numerous race sponsors. Awards were also given out for the top male and female overall winners as well as different age groups.

Two members of the ValleyCats entries received medals. ‘Cats bat boy Charles Constantino took home a 1st place medal for his age group and finished 6th overall. Matt Callahan’s fiance Maggie won a 3rd place medal for her age group and finished 5th overall among all women.

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The event turned out to be a great success and raised money for a very important cause. The ‘Cats are just proud to have been a part of it.  

Click here for the press release issued by Hudson Valley Community College

Click here for the official race results

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The ValleyCats will be at Crossgates Mall on Halloween from 12pm-3pm for their annual Malloween, sponsored by Fidelis Care. We’ll be set up on the upper level near the all-new Forever 21! SouthPaw and Rowdy will be there handing out candy from the championship trophy for all kids.

Trick or treating will be located throughout the mall common area and at
many of your favorite stores. Their popular costume contest will
take place on the lower level at 2pm near Apple. Capital Photo will be
on the lower level near Gap to take pictures of the first 100 kids in
their spooktacular costumes!

Our friend and hit 11-year old singer Anthony Gargiula will be performing at 1:30pm near the Apple Store. Anthony has performed numerous times at “The Joe” and just released his first album which can be purchased at his official website singeranthonyg.com

For a full listing of Championship Trophy Tour dates, click here.

 

 

 

Start! Heart Walk

The American Heart Assocation held the 2010 Start! Heart Walk of the Capital Region at The Crossings of Colonie on Saturday. The event attracted over 3,000 walkers and raised over $320 thousand.

HeartWalk1
HeartWalk2.jpg
Start! Heart Walk is a national initiative that brings communities together in celebration of progress in the fight against heart disease and stroke. It’s an inspirational day that is filled with energy, excitement and hope.
 In tradition, all cancer survivors wore special red caps and gathered as a group. 
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The survivors then cut the ribbon to officially kick off the “Start!” of the walk. 
Survivors Cutting Ribbon to Start Walk.JPG
SouthPaw laced up his walking shoes for the event, and is joined here by one of the cancer survivor’s VIP fundraisers as well as the American Heart Association mascot.
Survivor & VIP Fundraiser.JPG
Dr. John D. Bennett, president and CEO of CDPHP, volunteered as the Heart Walk Chair. Bennett is also leading CDPHP as the 2010 sponsor of the American Heart Association’s Start! Campaign.
CDPHP CEO Dr. John Bennett.JPG
The National Anthem was performed by the Yankee Doodle Band, who also performed at “The Joe” many times this past season.
Yankee Doodle Band - National Anthem.JPG
SouthPaw also met up with the Damien the UAlbany great dane and the Devil Dawg from the Albany Devils.
DamienSouthPaw.jpg
Devil Dawg.JPG
Live music was provided by Wylder and lunch was provided by Subway, a national sponsor of the Start! Heart Walk. There was also a Heart Health Screening tent by St. Peters Health Care which provided blood pressure tests and more. 

Some more photos from the event:

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Zumba Warmup.JPG

Celebrating the Championship

All in all 2010 was a magical season, culminated by our organizations first New York-Penn League title. Currently in the planning phases is a championship trophy tour that will coincide with the MLB Playoffs. Right now we are working with the Recovery Sports Grill and will have a date picked out very soon.

NYPL Cup.jpg

A shipment of championship t-shirts came in last week and have been flying off the shelves. We have ordered a new shipment, which will include different types of items such as hats, sweatshirts and pennants. So stay tuned at tcvalleycats.com, and we’ll let you know as soon as those items arrive. We’re also open to any ideas you might have on other items. Let us know on our ValleyCats Facebook page.

Check out the logo which will be featured on the sweatshirts and hats:

NYPL Champs Logo Web.jpg

Here in the office, as soon as you walk in you run into our display of items from the 2010 Championship Season:

Championship Display.jpg

Game used Michael Kvasnicka autographed helmet:

KvasnickaSignedHelmet.jpg

2010 ValleyCat MVP and NYPL All-Star Ben Orloff’s season long game used helmet and locker tag:

OrloffHelmet.jpg

Base from Opening Weekend 2010 autographed by the entire team. NYPL All-Star Tyler Burnett’s game used bat and cleats. Adam Bailey and Michael Kvasnicka batting gloves:

SignedBaseCleatsGlovesBat.jpg

If you’re ever around the campus of Hudson Valley Community College, drop in the office to say hello and check out the display!
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On Monday night, members of the ValleyCats front office went out to the grand opening of Buffalo Wild Wings in Clifton Park Center. We handed out championship t-shirts and said hello to all the sports fans. The atmosphere is awesome!

Our waitress Jennifer was great! (recommending the nachos and potato fries with cheese).

JenOurWaitress.jpg

We even witnessed a wing eating contest where you need to eat 12 of their hottest wings in 6 minutes. This gentleman did it with ease and won a free t-shirt and a photo on the wall..Maybe an idea for our 2011 Wingfest at The Joe?

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This is just a few of their famous wing sauces:

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Exterior shot…with outdoor seating.

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For those interested in following some of our 2010 ValleyCats, many of them are currently participating in the Astros Instructional League at their spring training complex in Kissimmee Florida. Astros beat reporter Zachary Levine breaks down the Instructional League roster.

Levine also breaks down the new Astros Triple-A PDC contract with Oklahoma City.

What is a PDC (Player Development Contract) and how does it work? Executive Vice President and COO of Minor League Baseball, Tim Purpura explains.

Also, keep an eye out on our YouTube page for some bonus footage of the ValleyCats championship celebration!

 

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