The next two weekends we’ll be busy participating in some great events! Here’s where we’ll be:
Ronald McDonald House Radiothon- Crossgates Mall- Saturday, January 18, 11am-5pm-
We love getting involved each year with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region, and this is one of their marquee events. We are excited to be part of the entertainment schedule this Saturday at Crossgates Mall! We’ll be located in the hallway outside of the Apple Store on the lower level.
We’ll have our inflatable baseball game set up, and championship trophy on display from 11am-5pm. SouthPaw will also be on-hand for pictures from 12pm-3pm.
Come join us and support a great cause!!
Dax’s Birthday Party- Adirondack Phantoms vs. Albany Devils- Glens Falls Civic Center- Saturday, January 18, 7pm-
SouthPaw will be in attendance participating in a birthday celebration for Dax!! Also enjoy some great AHL hockey between the Adirondack Phantoms and Albany Devils.
Capital District Mayor’s Cup- Union vs. RPI Hockey- Times Union Center- Saturday, January 25, 7:30pm- Doors open at 6:30pm!
For the second year in a row, SouthPaw and our three mayors will be in attendance for the Mayor’s Cup at the Times Union Center in Albany! It’s one of the Capital Region’s biggest rivalry games of the year, featuring the RPI and Union hockey teams.
More information will be released next week regarding our involvement in the festivities. One thing is for sure, it will be a special night!
Here’s a photo from last year’s Mayor’s Cup:
One of the benefits of coming to work at the ballpark each day is that we are always thinking about baseball season! With the bone chilling weather we’ve been having lately, this keeps warm thoughts in our head and gets us through the long, cold winter months.
Pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training in just about five weeks, so baseball season is not as far away as we may think! We’re counting down the days, and doing so with the 2014 ValleyCats calendars! (See below on how you can get your hands on one!)
Our complete schedule is featured in the calendar, as well as weekly promotional deals and information.
You may have noticed “Education Day” listed on the schedule for Tuesday, June 17th. It is tentatively slated as an additional morning/day game (exact time still TBD), and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it’s potential success!
It is designed as an opportunity for local schools to attend the ballgame as an educational field trip. We have created a curriculum that centers on character development along with some more traditional subject matter as it relates to the game of baseball.
The character development aspect will build on the ValleyCats’ existing “Strike Out Bullying” program that features interactive in-school assemblies, a uniquely created “Peace Pledge”, and a custom activity book.
The program will be rounded out with fun activities to educate students in areas such as mathematics and geography. This will include items on the geometry and dimensions of the field, player statistics, and mileage charts for travel between the various cities throughout the New York-Penn League.
We’ve been in touch with multiple school districts, and have received great feedback! We are also seeking some community-minded corporate partners who would help to fund the students trip to the ballpark. We’ll be sure to keep everyone updated!
We’re still nailing down our official promotional schedule, but a few new promotions that could make their way onto the 2014 promo calendar include Reality TV Night, Big Apple Night, Glow in the Park Night, and nights which will promote different counties within the Capital Region.
As far as giveaways go, you can count on yet another addition to our Heritage Series Bobblehead Collection, as well as a championship themed giveaway item, and more! We’ll be making official announcements on these later this month, or early February.
Feel free to send along any suggestions to email@example.com.
Year of the Cat!
Sure, 2014 is considered to be the Year of the Horse according to the Chinese Zodiac calendar, but according to the ValleyCats calendar, it is the “Year of the Cat!”- or “El Año del Gato!” Celebrate with one of our 6 or 12 game mini plans!
We are currently running a special offer through the end of January, where if you purchase or renew a mini plan, you will receive a ValleyCats 2014 calendar!
You will also be entered to win a commemorative championship photo book or bat, pictured below!
‘Cats still accepting ‘4 in 24′ Youth Field Renovation applications
The application deadline for our ‘4 in 24′ youth field renovation project is approaching fast. If your youth league is interested in having a field makeover, you have until February 3rd to submit your application.
The renovations will take place in a 24-hour time period in early April 2014, as the four chosen youth fields will have new sod placed on their infield while also seeing their pitcher’s mound and home plate areas rebuilt.
*Leagues are required to submit photos of the field along with their application.
The ‘4 in 24’ is the kick-off event for the ValleyCats and BlueShield of Northeastern New York’s Community Grounds Crew Program, an initiative that undertakes additional projects and renovations on numerous other youth fields throughout the spring and summer.
“Show on the Road” to continue in 2014!
Based upon the great success of last year’s “Show on the Road” at East Greenbush-Castleton Youth Baseball League, the show will go on in 2014!
We’re very excited to continue this partnership with Hannaford Supermarkets, as it is such a great youth initiative. As part of the event, we bring our mascots, PA announcer and promo team to a selected youth baseball league, and put on a show worthy of “The Joe.”
There is pregame entertainment, ceremonial team introductions, a live performance of the national anthem, and in-game promotions including fan favorites such as the Mayors’ Race, T-Shirt Tosses, Pony Hops and more!
Look for an official announcement to be made next month.
Until next time, to keep you thinking warm thoughts, here’s a fantastic photo which is featured in our 2014 calendars! All photos were taken by team photographer Greg Fisher (SportsThroughTheLens.com).
This past week, members of the Tri-City ValleyCats front office staff attended the 2013 Winter Meetings in Orlando. Media Relations / Production Manager, Chris Chenes recaps the trip:
If I were to rank my trip to the Winter Meetings last week among my lifetime experiences, it would have to fall in the top 10. I grew up a huge baseball fan, and after four years of working in the ValleyCats front office, I have grown to appreciate and love the business of Minor League Baseball. One thing that I’ve learned the most, is that the minor leagues are not just about the play on the field, but more the family experience. In fact, you can argue that without the fun, family-friendly entertainment, a team would not survive.
To provide that type of product for the fans, the front office of every minor league team is filled with creative, hard-working, fun and down-to-earth people. Now picture all of them in the same place at one time, and what you get is the Winter Meetings. It’s an opportunity to get together with everyone in your profession to exchange ideas, and learn new ways in which you can improve your ballclub.
The Winter Meetings are spread across four days, and include workshops, seminars, league and departmental meetings, a Trade Show, Job Fair and social gatherings.
The Winter Meetings change locations each year, and lucky for us, this year’s event took place at the beautiful Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, in Orlando, Florida.
As much as we’d love to spend our day lounging by the pool, this was a business trip and there was plenty on our agenda to keep us out of the sun.
We all attended numerous seminars and workshops, officially known as the “Bob Freitas Business Seminar & Workshop Series.” They are broken down into five different categories including Sales & Marketing, Covering Your Bases, Grand Slam Operations, Licensing & Merchandise and Community & Media Relations.
Following opening remarks from Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner on Monday morning, the first session I attended was “How to Become an Ace of HomeBase.” HomeBase is the online platform that we use to update our website, and I learned some helpful hints, tips and tricks, as well as what new updates are coming down the road.
The session was run by Major League Baseball Advanced Media. MLBAM manages MLB.com, MiLB.com, and each Major League & minor league team site.
A new feature to look forward to for next year will be the game recaps. They will now include the box score at the top of the page, along with an optional video embedded above the story.
As we’re attending the different meetings, the lobbies of the Swan & Dolphin Resort are bustling with action. The Dolphin hotel is where the majority of the Major League officials and team personnel stay during the week as they look to improve their roster with trades or free agent signings. Each Major League team has their baseball operations staff present, along with the scouting department and most of the field managers.
The national baseball media is also present all week, including TV sets for ESPN & MLB Network:
As you can imagine, we ran into plenty of current & former members of Major League Baseball. Here are some photos of just a few:
On Monday afternoon, we attended an Awards Luncheon which recognized some of the top individuals and clubs within the game of baseball. Award presentations included the Joe Bauman Trophy which was presented to Texas Rangers prospect, 19 year old Joey Gallo. With 40 home runs, Gallo narrowly edged out former ‘Cat George Springer, and became the youngest player to ever win the award.
Other awards handed out included the Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year, Sports Turf Managers of the Year, Scouts of the Year and Baseball America’s Organization of the Year.
After more meetings in the afternoon, Monday night was opening night at the Baseball Trade Show. The Trade Show featured more than 250 companies exhibiting their latest products and services to the baseball community. Items being showcased included equipment, player apparel, retail merchandise and promotional items.
Here are photos from the huge Trade Show floor:
Aside from the Trade Show and Bob Freitas Business Seminar & Workshop Series, the Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities (PBEO) Job Fair took place in the Swan Ballroom. During the week, there are over 450 Job Fair attendees seeking a career in professional baseball, many of whom will interview with numerous prospective teams, and even receive job offers before they leave.
Each night in the lobby of the Dolphin hotel, executives of both Major League and Minor League Baseball congregate to network, enjoy a few drinks and share some laughs. It’s a crowded scene for sure!
The 45-foot tall Christmas tree in the middle of the lobby is made completely with pink and white poinsettia flowers.
Tuesday and Wednesday featured more workshops and league meetings, where we were presented with our 2013 Alice H. Nader New York-Penn League Championship Trophy, and 2013 Stedler Division Championship Trophy!
Tuesday night was a special night, as we had the opportunity to have dinner with the Houston Astros organization and all of their Minor League affiliates. The idea came straight from the top, Astros president Reid Ryan.
As mentioned in his speech prior to dinner, the Astros organization is one big family, and the minor league affiliates are a key part of that. Aside from Ryan, general manager Jeff Luhnow and field manager Bo Porter spoke to our group. It was great to be a part of, and I can assure you that the Astros are in great hands! Very shortly, they will start producing at the Major League level.
On Wednesday night, there was a huge gala that took place outside by the pool and cabana areas of the resort. It was another chance to get together with the baseball community and enjoy the evening.
On Thursday morning, I had the pleasure of attending the Major League Baseball Rule 5 Draft.
For those who aren’t familiar, the Rule 5 Draft is much different from the First Year Player Draft in June. Players become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft when they haven’t been added to their Major League club’s 40-man roster within five seasons of being signed (four seasons if signed at 18 years old). Any team is then eligible to draft that player, but there’s a catch.
A team that selects a player in the Rule 5 Draft pays $50,000 to the team from which he was selected. The receiving team must then keep the player on the Major League 25-man roster for the entirety of the next season. If the player does not remain on the Major League roster, he is offered back to the team from which he was selected for $25,000. Once a player is selected, he is automatically assigned to his new organization’s 40-man roster.
Notable players to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft include Roberto Clemente, Johan Santana, Dan Uggla and Josh Hamilton.
Thursday was the only day where we had time to explore the area, and I couldn’t think of any place better than Disney’s Magic Kingdom!
We use the Disney model as an example, to try and make the experience at “The Joe” as great as possible for our fans. There is so much to take away from the Disney experience, from exceptional customer service to great entertainment! I took in many of the sights, and with this being my first ever trip to Disney World, I was in awe of everything!
Here are a few photos:
With the closing Banquet taking place that night, we could only spend a few hours at Magic Kingdom, which is not nearly enough time to do everything. I will definitely make my way back, that’s for sure!
We arrived at the hotel just in time for the Banquet, where some of the most prestigious awards in the baseball industry are presented.
Awards presented included the King of Baseball, the John H. Johnson President’s Award, the Larry MacPhail Promotional Award, the Warren Giles Award, the Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award and the Mike Coolbaugh Award. The ValleyCats didn’t take home any hardware, but we’ll aim for one next year!
Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding experience than my week at the Winter Meetings. It left myself and the rest of the front office ready to get back home, and get to work to prepare for the 2014 season!
Although arriving back just in time for a snow storm wasn’t the most ideal “warm welcome.” With that, I’ll leave you with a few recent photos of “The Joe” covered in snow!! (Thanks to Ben Whitehead and Anthony Pettograsso for the cool shots!)
We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! It’s such a great time of year, as the holiday season means reuniting with family and friends!
Before we fill you in on some upcoming events, let’s recap our most recent community appearances.
Back on the 23rd of November, we participated in the 46th Annual Gazette Holiday Parade in downtown Schenectady! For those who have been, you know that the atmosphere and energy is tremendous. It’s known as the largest nighttime parade in the northeast, and attracts 20,000-40,000 spectators each year!
For the parade, we decorated the ValleyCats Ford pickup truck and ‘Cats Care trailer!
SouthPaw, Pappy, Mayor McCarthy and friends had a blast! Here are some photos:
On the 26th, SouthPaw visited with staff and patients at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center:
On Thanksgiving morning, SouthPaw braved the cold weather along with nearly 8,000 others in downtown Troy, to participate in the 66th Annual Troy Turkey Trot. Well, although SouthPaw didn’t run, he was there to give his full support and cheer on the runners!
Another great Capital Region tradition is the 17th Annual Price Chopper Capital Holiday Lights in the Park. Located in Albany’s Washington Park, over 125 fantastic light displays line the roads in the park. It’s for a great cause, as all the proceeds from admission benefit the youth programming of Albany PAL.
Lights in the Park is open through January 3rd, and the hours are Sunday-Thursday from 6pm-9pm and Friday-Saturday from 6pm-10pm. For more information, visit their website here: http://www.albanycapitalholidaylights.com/
Members of our staff will be there on Saturday the 14th, volunteering our services. So be sure to come check out the great light displays and say hello!
Turning our attention to the 2014 season of baseball at “The Joe,” our 2014 schedule has been released and is available for download on our website, tcvalleycats.com. The season begins a few days earlier, on Friday, June 13th as we host the Connecticut Tigers.
You can expect many of the same great theme nights, as well as some fresh new ideas! We’ll keep everyone updated on the progress, but look for the full release of our promotional schedule at some point in February.
Season tickets and our popular mini-plan packages are on-sale now! If you order a mini-plan by December 17, you will receive a mystery ValleyCats gift card ranging in amounts of $5-$25! Click here for more information>>
Also, be sure to check out our Holiday Starting Nine, which lays out nine great ValleyCats gift ideas! One of our personal favorites are the brand new winter hats! Very stylish! Click here to check out our Holiday Starting Nine>>
A few weeks ago, we announced our brand new season of the Community Grounds Crew Program, a partnership between us and BlueShield of Northeastern New York. We are currently accepting applications for the 2014 ‘4 in 24′ Extreme Field Renovation Project, which takes place in April. At that time, we will renovate four youth ball fields, placing brand new sod on their infield while also rebuilding the pitcher’s mound and home plate areas. Click here for full details, and how to apply>>
In closing, next week is a very busy and important week for some members of the ValleyCats front office who will attending the Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.
A common misconception is that the Winter Meetings are just for Major League Baseball and free agent/trade activity. It’s actually a gathering of members of The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (MLB & Minor League Baseball).
As MLB representatives deal with trade talks/free agency, the Minor League world will be attending a plethora of business seminars, informational workshops and a massive trade show, while also interviewing for select internship positions at the PBEO Job Fair.
ValleyCats Media Relations Manager Chris Chenes will be posting blog updates here on ‘Cats Corner throughout next week to give everyone an inside look. Also, be sure to follow the @ValleyCats Twitter feed for updates.
It’s that time of year again! Daytime is becoming shorter and shorter, the weather is getting colder and colder, and as much as some of us don’t want to hear it, snowflakes will soon be falling.
With winter rapidly approaching, we need to make sure things at “The Joe” are properly stored away, and undertake any stadium improvement projects that we can complete before the snow falls.
One such project is paving the area behind the video board, which leads to the Top of the Hill Bar & Grill.
Aside from leveling the surface and getting rid of the rocks, the ultimate goal is to use this extra space to expand the Top of the Hill.
Final winter preparations have just been completed on the playing field, as Eric and Travis from Brickman Landscaping have edged the infield. Now that the grass has stopped growing, it’s a perfect time to get it ready for the snow, and winter temperatures.
The rest of the stadium has been packed up and placed into storage, leaving an eery looking empty concourse.
The Hudson Valley Community College baseball team will be back on the field in March for their spring season, then before you know it, the 2014 ‘Cats will hit the field!
On the community front, SouthPaw has been very busy making appearances, and bringing along the New York-Penn League Championship trophy with him!
Here are a few photos from Crossgates Mall as SouthPaw celebrated the arrival of Santa, with children from the B95.5 Kids Club.
SouthPaw also stopped by NBT Bank in East Greenbush to meet with fans and customers!
Be sure to check back on our Facebook page and website for any further SouthPaw appearances!
In what has become an annual tradition, members of our front office spent Friday morning at the Ronald McDonald House in Albany, cooking breakfast.
The Ronald McDonald House is such an important piece of the Capital Region community, providing a home away from home for children and their families while they undergo treatment at local hospitals. That is why we enjoy coming together as a team to assist in any way possible! We’ve also become pretty good at making breakfast!!
The Boston Red Sox are 2013 World Series Champions, marking the end of the 2013 baseball season. However, the ‘Cats still remain active in the Capital Region, and have some great plans to unveil regarding youth baseball.
First, we have another Community Grounds Crew update. In our previous post, we detailed the major renovation of Troy Central Little League. Following the completion of that field, we spent some time at Coxsackie-Athens High School to rebuild their pitcher’s mound and home plate/batters box areas. Here are some photos prior to, and during the renovation.
Once again, none of this work would be possible without the support of BlueShield of Northeastern New York, our Community Grounds Crew partner!
We are excited to announce that we have started an offseason Baseball Bootcamp program for children ages 9-13 that lasts four weeks, and will take place in the team clubhouse and batting cage. We’ve already sold out our first two sessions, and have created a third that will run from November 18 – December 9.
Twice a week, Monday and Wednesday nights from 7:15-8:15pm, participants will take part in a program designed by ValleyCats coaches and trainers to improve their baseball skills and fitness level.
Campers will work on baseball mechanics to improve their fundamentals for hitting, fielding and throwing. They will also work on cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance and flexibility. Nutritional guidance will be given throughout the program, along with other essential aspects of baseball fitness.
Registration is limited and filling up fast. Click here for more information>>
Along with the offseason camps, the ‘Cats are also offering rentals of the clubhouse, indoor batting cage and full weight room. The space is ideal for groups looking to take advantage of a sectioned batting cage with multiple hitting sections. The cage provides the ability to hit off of batting tees, conduct soft-toss, or take live batting practice. The net can also be lifted to allow for basic infield drills and mechanics. Click here for more information>>
Finally, the ‘Cats officially kicked off their New York-Penn League Championship Trophy Tour at the Recovery Sports Grill in Troy this past Monday. Season ticket holders and loyal fans alike gathered to celebrate the ‘Cats second NYPL title in the past four years. Those who attended, took pictures with the trophy, enjoyed some free appetizers and 50 cent wings.
Here are a few photos from the night:
To view more photos, click here to view the Recovery Sports Grill photo album on Facebook.
We’ll be sure to keep you posted on upcoming events!
The Tri-City ValleyCats and BlueShield of Northeastern New York’s Community Grounds Crew Program just completed renovation on Frank Welch Memorial Field at Troy Central Little League. This specific renovation hit home with the ‘Cats, as it took place in their hometown city.
Troy Central has been in the community since 1955, and this past season the league saw its membership increase to 125 players across 11 different teams.
As the league continues to grow, it is necessary to provide them with a playing surface that is safe, and in the best condition possible to ensure that the youth ballplayers enjoy the learning experience.
Here are a few photos before the renovation:
The first step was to remove the old infield grass:
While that was taking place, the pitcher’s mound and home plate were both removed:
Both the pitcher’s mound and home plate areas were rebuilt to the correct specs:
The work on this field, and all others renovated through the Community Grounds Crew, wouldn’t be possible without the support of BlueShield of Northeastern New York. Kaitlyn from BSNENY spend some time in the morning helping us out! Here she is with ValleyCats Assistant General Manager, Matt Callahan.
Once the old grass had been torn up and taken away, new dirt was raked into the infield to make the playing surface as even as possible.
Then, brand new sod was laid:
Once all the new sod was laid, the baselines were torn up to remove the weeds, and new dirt was raked in. The pitcher’s mound and homeplate areas were completely rebuilt, brand new bases were put in, and the field was raked one final time.
Here are some great after shots of the brand new infield!
By now, the grass has begun to grow nicely into the dirt, and will be in perfect shape once spring rolls around! We can’t wait until Troy Central’s Opening Day in April!
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY GROUNDS CREW:
The Community Grounds Crew is a collaborative effort between the ValleyCats and BlueShield of Northeastern New York, to undertake field renovation projects on youth fields throughout the year. The ValleyCats’ field renovations have been an annual tradition since 2003 when the first field was officially renovated by the ‘Cats in South Troy. Each year since, they have expanded upon its success. In 2011 the ‘Cats created the ambitious ‘4 in 24’ project to renovate four youth playing fields in the course of just a 24 hour time period, something totally unique to any field renovation initiative in the country.
Each project is also supported by the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation. Contributions come from past events such as the Capital Region Craft Brewers Festival, hosted by the ValleyCats and Brown’s Brewing Company, and baseball tournaments like the Capital Region Series and Battle of the Beverages, which included teams from local and regional businesses.
Representatives from all across professional baseball descended on Louisville last week for the 2013 Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar. The Promo Seminar is an annual gathering that offers some of the best idea sharing in the industry.
Assistant General Manager, Matt Callahan, and Promotions Director, Anthony Pettograsso, made the trip to represent the ‘Cats. The Galt House was the host hotel and offered some unique features, including the glass walkway pictured above. This walkway connected the hotel’s two towers, housed a bar, and looked out over the Ohio River.
The seminar kicked off with a welcome luncheon on Tuesday afternoon followed by a series of “Group Therapy Sessions.” These round table-style meetings serve as a guided discussion covering topics ranging from on-field promotions to stadium operations.
These sessions are a great opportunity for MiLB executives to share best practices, new ideas, industry trends, and discuss challenges that they face in their markets.
Wednesday included a popular segment called “Around the Horn” where each team shares one of their best promotions. This always produces some great ideas as well as some good laughs as the emcee, Todd “Parney” Parnell keeps things light.
Wednesday afternoon featured some panel discussions focusing on bigger picture items such as the future of Minor League Baseball. Astros Team President, Reid Ryan, was one of the featured speakers during this segment.
At the end of each day, the seminar included some networking functions as well as some informal opportunities to get to know your industry peers in downtown Louisville.
Some other attractions from around the city included:
The ValleyCats were nominated for a “Golden Bobblehead” Award in the category of Best Non-Game Day Event or Promotion. On Thursday morning, they presented “The Show on the Road” promotion to the attendees along with the other finalists.
This promotion was a partnership with Hannaford Supermarkets that saw the ‘Cats bring their entire in-stadium experience to East Greenbush-Castleton Little League.
Despite some excellent feedback from other teams, we were ultimately beat out by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders who hosted the wrap party for the show “The Office.” The star power of Michael Scott (Steve Carell) running the bases definitely carried the vote.
The seminar concluded with a trip to the Louisville Bats home field: Louisville Slugger Park.
The Bats are the Triple A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and play their home games just off the banks of the Ohio River.
The ballpark seats over 13,000 fans and includes some unique areas such as:
It was a very productive trip and we look forward to implementing some new ideas as we begin planning for the 2014 season!
On Friday night, we hosted the Rensselaer County Relay For Life at “The Joe” as we joined in the fight against cancer!
Over 369 people participated in the festivities, raising a total of $56,000 in the fight against cancer!
The festivities began at 6:30pm with the introduction of the Relay committee members, who put in a number of tireless hours to make the night possible.
Pat Spain, a cancer survivor born and raised in Wynantskill, NY, was the guest speaker. Spain was the host of National Geographic Channel’s “Beast Hunter” back in 2011.
Following Spain’s impactful speech was the survivor lap, where all the cancer survivors in attendance walked around the warning track, and were greeted by their family and friends.
Tons of activities took place throughout the night including Zumba, a scavenger hunt, water balloon toss, poker lap, trivia, musical chairs, frozen t-shirt contest, and more!
At 9:30, the Luminaria Ceremony began. Following the reading of a few different inspirational poems, bags symbolizing those who lost their lives to cancer were lit up along the warning track in remembrance. Then, all participants took a lap around the warning track as a music slideshow of pictures was played on the video board remembering those who lost their lives.
Activities continued throughout the overnight hours, until things wrapped up at 6:30am with breakfast and then the closing ceremonies. Here are a couple great sunrise shots:
We are glad to have been part of such a great event, and look forward to hosting Relay For Life 2014!
It’s been just over one week since the ‘Cats hoisted the New York-Penn League Championship Trophy high above their heads after a thrilling victory in the final game of the New York-Penn League Championship Series.
Many fans have asked why the players don’t stick around for a celebration with the hometown fans. The reason is because there are a handful of players who have to report to the Astros spring training complex in Kissimmee, Florida, just two days after the season ends.
Those players that are selected, are going for something known as the Instructional League, commonly referred to as “instructs.” The goal is to enhance the skills of the recent draft picks under close instruction from Astros coaches and coordinators. Other players who may attend include those who are rehabbing injuries, learning new positions, preparing for the Arizona Fall League, etc.
The others are anxious to get back home. Some haven’t seen their family and friends for nine months, other than for maybe a few days in-between the end of their college season and when they were assigned to the ValleyCats.
While all of the players and coaching staff have left, the ‘Cats front office is busy showing off the championship trophy!
How convenient that the Uncle Sam Day Parade in Troy occurred just two days after the ‘Cats championship victory! What a great opportunity to show off the new hardware!
Now onto a celebration of a different kind. This past Wednesday, the Ninety Nine Restaurant location on Wolf Road in Colonie, celebrated their 10 year anniversary! It was the first Ninety Nine Restaurant location to open in New York State.
We have had a tremendous partnership with the Ninety Nine for the past three seasons, and it was our pleasure to be part of the celebration!
Each season, the ‘Cats partner with the Ninety Nine Restaurants on a Kids Eat Free promotion. During the season, the day after a ValleyCats win, all kids eat free at the Capital Region’s six Ninety Nine Restaurant locations!
We can’t wait until next June to kick off this promotion once again!
Finally, many fans have also inquired about championship gear. Our championship t-shirts will be available online and at “The Joe”, on Tuesday, October 1st! We’re also in the planning stages of a complete trophy tour, and will have more championship merchandise in the weeks and months ahead.
The ‘Cats 2013 season came to a fantastic ending on the night of Thursday, September 12 in State College, PA! The ‘Cats defeated the State College Spikes 4-3 in the winner takes all Game 3 of the New York-Penn League Championship series, to capture their 2nd league title in four years!
The series was an epic battle of the league’s number one team on paper, the State College Spikes, versus a ValleyCats team that boasted two of the top league ERA leaders in Michael Feliz & Kyle Westwood, along with the league’s best defense.
With State College having the best record at 48-27, they had home field advantage. That meant that Game 1 would take place at “The Joe”, and Game 2 and 3 in State College.
The Spikes took Game 1 of the Championship Series 2-1, in a close extra inning game that came down to a couple of mistakes. Grills made one bad pitch all game long, allowing a home run to Spikes outfielder Mason Katz. Then, in the 11th inning, ‘Cats relief pitcher Edison Frias threw the ball past first base on a sacrifice bunt attempt, allowing the go-ahead and eventual winning run to score.
Following the tough loss, the ‘Cats boarded a bus and headed to State College with hopes of taking the next two ballgames.
Prior to Game 2, the ‘Cats were loose and ready to go. Even though the Spikes held the best home record in the league at 30-8, and had never lost two games in a row at home all season, the team had confidence in their ability to overcome the tough task ahead of them.
Following the tough loss in Game 1, the ‘Cats victory in Game 2 was a huge confidence booster, as they now stood one game away from being New York-Penn League Champions.
The 2013 ‘Cats were now looking to turn the tables on what happened to the 2012 ‘Cats. Last year, they won Game 1 of the championship series against the Hudson Valley Renegades, but lost the next two.
This year, the ‘Cats were sending Kyle Westwood to the mound for Game 3, who has a better ERA (0.81) than Michael Feliz (1.96), but was a few innings short of the minimum needed to qualify for the league ERA title.
With Westwood on the bump, the team knew they had an excellent shot!
Sanudo would get through the 8th inning easily, but ran into trouble in the 9th. With a 4-1 lead, Sanudo gave up a two-run home run to Mason Katz, and then allowed a single.
A sac bunt would move the tying run into scoring position with one out, but Sanudo proceeded to strike out the next two batters to capture the New York-Penn League Championship for the ‘Cats! It was their second league title in four years.
Here are some photos of the final out, followed by a fitting celebration on the field!
So that wraps up another season of ValleyCats baseball, an unforgettable season! Championship merchandise will be available very soon, so keep checking our website, tcvalleycats.com for team store updates. To purchase these photos, or from a selection of many others, please visit tcvcphotos.com.
Thanks again to all the fans who came out to “The Joe” this season! We couldn’t have achieved this success without your support!
The ValleyCats held a brief workout on Monday afternoon, in preparation for Game 1 of the New York-Penn League Championship Series on Tuesday night at “The Joe.” The ‘Cats will face the State College Spikes, affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, in a best-of-three series to determine who will take home the NYPL Championship Cup.
First pitch is set for 7:05pm, and the ‘Cats will send LHP Evan Grills to the mound to face Spikes RHP Arturo Reyes. The ValleyCats and Spikes faced off against each other three times during the regular season, in State College. The ‘Cats were swept 3-0 in the series, but that was a much different team than they are now. The ValleyCats have since added pitchers that include closer Gonzalo Sanudo, set-up man Tyler Brunnemann, Chris Munnelly, Troy Scribner, Justin Hess, Zachary Dando and Krishawn Holley. Position players added include third baseman Tyler White, outfielder Ydarqui Marte and infielder Yonathan Mejia.
Most recently, the ‘Cats have been assigned catcher, Brian Holberton from the Greeneville Astros. Greeneville lost in game 3 of their league championship series, and Holberton had already been home. But when ‘Cats catcher Jake Rodriguez was injured in the game against Aberdeen on Saturday night, Holberton was added as an extra catcher. He looks to be inserted into the Game 1 lineup at designated hitter. Holberton was the 9th round draft selection of the Houston Astros this season out of the University of North Carolina.
The ‘Cats send their ace, Michael Feliz to the mound for Game 2, and if necessary, Kyle Westwood for Game 3.
The workout on Tuesday afternoon was very light, and the team was very loose. They are ready for the challenge that awaits them. Here are some great photos:
The ‘Cats defeated the IronBirds 3-0 on Saturday night at “The Joe,” sweeping the semi-final series of the New York-Penn League playoffs. The ‘Cats now advance to the championship series for the second year in-a-row.
Here are game and celebration photos, shot by team photographer Greg Fisher (SportsThroughTheLens.com / tcvcphotos.com). Check out his webpage for more photos, or to purchase the copies of those below.
The ValleyCats clinched their second consecutive Stedler Division Title with a victory on Tuesday night.
Evan Grills turned in a clutch performance in limiting the Cyclones to just two runs in six innings of work. Grills recorded a season high eight k’s and did not issues any free passes.
The ‘Cats broke it open in the third inning as they plated three to take a 6-2 lead. Ronnie Mitchell led the way with two hits, including a big R.B.I. triple. The offense also displayed some patience working seven walks against the Cyclones pitchers.
Gonzalo Sanudo’s eighth save of the season closed it out and paved the way for a celebration in front of the home crowd!
Tuesday night was also our first ever Oktoberfest Celebration at the ballpark. Coined “Brats, Beer, & Baseball”, fans were greeted by Herb Liebenhagen playing some traditional German tunes on the accordion.
The Picnic Pavilion was turned into a German Beer Garden with an Oktoberfest-style menu!
The ‘Cats closed out the season with “Fans for Life Night” on Wednesday. Stay tuned for that recap shortly . . .
In the meantime, Playoff Tickets are on-sale now as the ‘Cats prepare to host Game 2 at “The Joe” on Saturday night!