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.
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.
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.
And who can forget August 20, 2012, when the ValleyCats unveiled their Heritage Series Bobblehead Collection. The first member, Derek Jeter circa 1994.
So from the ValleyCats organization, salute 2 you Captain!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
By Brady Farkas
Just last week I was listening to sports talk radio.
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!
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!
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
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!
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.
“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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.”
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!
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!
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!
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.
Tonight, 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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
Ahoy, ‘Cats fans! Last night, the ValleyCats continued their three-game series against the Hudson Valley Renegades here at “The Joe” on Pirate Night! Though the threat of rainy weather loomed throughout the stadium during the day, when game time rolled around there were clear skies and we were able to enjoy some ValleyCats baseball. Fans participated in our treasure hunt throughout the stadium for a chance to win ticket vouchers and the ultimate prize of a treasure chest with Mark Appel signed memorabilia! We also had a Mark Appel poster giveaway for the first 2,000 fans, the #1 overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft. The ‘Cats are neck and neck with the Renegades for the top spot in the New York-Penn League.
Before the game, we recognized the Colonie Little League 11 and 12-year-old All Stars for winning the State ll Championships. The 12-year-olds went on to play in the regional tournament in Bristol, Connecticut and made it to the semifinals, just 2 wins away from the Little League World Series. Congratulations on a great season and a job well done!
It was great to see so many pirates out at the park and our loyal ValleyCats fans who came out to the game despite the forecast! Terrell Joyce hit his 9th home run of the season, but the ‘Cats dropped the second game of the series to the Renegades. Tonight, we return tonight for Circle of Life/Halfway to Valentine’s Day presented by Glennpeter Jewelers. It’s a postgame fireworks night, as well as our tennis ball launch and vow renewal on the field after the game! We hope to see you out at “The Joe” to cheer the ValleyCats on to victory!
Hey, ‘Cats fans! It’s nice to have the ValleyCats back at “The Joe,” isn’t it? The team returned from a six-game road trip to take on the Hudson Valley Renegades at home for a three-game series beginning on Tuesday with Irish Night presented by the Irish 2000 Music & Arts Festival. It was a great night at the ballpark, as we began the night with a pregame concert by Hair of the Dog in our Picnic Pavilion. Fans gathered around to listen to live music and enjoy our Irish food and drink specials on the concourse at our specialty kiosk, Murphy O’Callahan’s!
Many fans dressed up to show their Irish Pride, and were also able to see some Irish entertainment from the Columbia & District Pipe Band, and dancers from the Farrell School of Irish Dance. The mischievous Doubles O’Callahan made some appearances throughout the night after popping up in the latest episode of “The (Front) Office.”
On the field, the ‘Cats came up with a BIG 3-2 extra innings win against the Hudson Valley Renegades. Houston Astros outfielder Alex Presley began his first game during his rehab assignment here in Tri-City. Recent call-up Jason Martin hit a home run in his first at-bat at “The Joe,” and the ‘Cats came behind from a 2-1 deficit to tie it up in the 9th with Jamie Ritchie’s first home run of the season, followed by an extra innings victory with the help of Alex Hernandez. Both Ritchie and Hernandez earned our player of the game recognition as the team celebrated with a Gatorade Ice Bucket Challenge (well, sort of). The ‘Cats continue the homestand against the Renegades as they keep battling to be the best team in the New York Penn-League! See you soon, ‘Cats fans!
By Brady Farkas
Man, baseball can be a frustrating sport. The failure can be overwhelming. And it often is. That’s why it’s so hard to get to the professional ranks.