Results tagged ‘ Tri-City ValleyCats ’

Unlikely Scenarios Amidst An Array of the Usual

Derek Jeter’s more-contentious-than-expected contract negotiations have led some to wonder if the unthinkable could happen, with the iconic Bronx superstar signing with another team.

But what if Jeter really wanted to defy conventional wisdom? What if he decided to suit up for a Class A Short Season Astros affiliate?

Well, that would look like this:


The above visual was created by the Tri-City ValleyCats, and inspired by a tongue-in-cheek article in the Albany Times Union.

Why not, right? Stranger things have happened, although at the moment I’m unable to come up with one. What I am able to come up with is information on a completely unrelated topic.

A week after unveiling their new logos, the Altoona Curve have done a further bit of unveiling. This time, the uniforms:


More info, and links to more uniform visuals, can be found HERE.

Meanwhile, I’d like to note that the Great Lakes Loons have produced the offseason’s first “snow-covered field” photo. Over the coming months, there is going to be PLENTY where this came from.


 But if it’s plenty you want, it’s plenty I’ve got. Click HERE to listen to’s “Best of 2010” audio roundtable, with myself as one of the distinguished panelists. Joining me in discussion was sports entertainment guru Pat Walker and Minor League front office free agent Scott Carter (the Cliff Lee of this year’s crop).

And thanks to Gameops founder Jon Cudo, who put the whole thing together.


That’ll do it for me today, but I’ve got big plans for tonight: Ozzy at Madison Square Garden!

Big-Headed Politicians

Those who like to bet on horses are accustomed to seeing racing mares, but it took the Tri-City ValleyCats to bring racing mayors to the masses.

Perhaps inspired by the Washington Nationals’ popular Racing Presidents, the ValleyCats have recently initiated a nightly competition between a triumvirate of municipal government leaders. Each racer represents one of the Tri-Cities, naturally: Albany mayor Jerry Jennings, Troy mayor Harry Tutunjian, and Schnectady mayor Brian Stratton. While not on the field, the three are apparently quite friendly with one another:

Racing Mayors 1.jpg 
(The above picture, as well as those to come, were lifted from the excellent blog of ValleyCats’ assistant gm Vic Christopher).

Racing Mayors 2.jpg

The racing mayors have all been endorsed by their real-life counterparts. Here, Jennings and Jennings get to know each other.

But which is which?


Schmoozing has its place, but these guys are all business once the “Tri-City Hall Mayoral Race” begins:

Racing Mayors 3.jpg

This isn’t the first time that the ValleyCats have tied the mayors of the Tri-Cities into their promotional efforts. In 2008, each of the three politicians was honored with his own bobblehead.


And speaking of bobbleheads, allow me to close this post with an exceedingly vertical picture of a fine specimen that is being given away in Round Rock on Wednesday.

rojo bobble.jpg 


In Which the 'Cats Welcome A Rat

tri-city.gifIt’s a Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend, and many individuals have already bid farewell to their professional obligations.

But baseball does not rest, so neither shall I. Instead, let me bring you a story that tugs at the heartstrings while also serving as an effective and highly creative example of effective guerrilla marketing.

Today, the Tri-City ValleyCats disseminated the following information:

[The ValleyCats] have
announced the adoption of former Albany River Rats American Hockey
League mascot, Rowdy The Rat
. He will be formally introduced on June
18th when the ValleyCats take on the Connecticut Tigers on Opening Night
at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

Rowdy, who has made his home in Albany since 1993, was left behind when
the Albany River Rats franchise announced its relocation to Charlotte,
North Carolina, following the conclusion of the 2009-2010 season.

Here is Rowdy with his new family: (photo lifted from HERE)


In order to build up interest and intrigue regarding the outcome of this ultimately heartwarming tale, the ValleyCats produced a series of anonymous online videos that incorporated local sponsors, media partners, and non-profit organizations.

These videos are genuinely moving, and resulted in some always-coveted “buzz” leading up to the big announcement.

Rowdy Says Goodbye

Rowdy’s Down and Out

A Very Special episode of Pet Connection

All Is Revealed

So all is now well, with Rowdy the newest member of the ValleyCats family. The team even has the adoption papers to prove it.


I am always on the lookout for heartwarming stories of mascot redemption. If you’ve got ’em, send ’em.

Playing Catch-Up On The Road, Vol. 3

Hello from Brew’d Awakening coffee shop in Lowell, MA. My time in this
lovely city has been very enjoyable — Lowell has a very interesting
and deep-rooted history, and as a result has a ton of character.
There’s nothing cookie-cutter about this place.

I’ll be writing
much more about my time in Lowell upon my return to the comforting
embrace of New York City. For now, let me cherry-pick from my
list of “potential blog topics” in order to present you with a post of
unparalleled randomness.

I ran into Tri-City ValleyCats assistant
general manager Vic Christopher at yesterday’s Spinners game, which
reminds me that I’ve been meaning to give his blog a “shout-out”. So,
check it out HERE. I think this picture, lifted from the blog, says a
lot about the ValleyCats experience:


Ridiculousness comes in all forms in the Minor Leagues, textually as well as visually. Here’s an excerpt from a press release that was sent out last week by the Akron Aeros:

[T]hree ticketing associates in their first
seasons of professional baseball have gained a new perspective on
Mother Nature. Scott Campbell, Cody Demster and John Golz were all
recently flooded out of their apartment complex and are now taking up
temporary shelter in the Chapel Hill Towers assisted living center.

day after work, the three close friends noticed some water seeping in
through the bathroom at their apartment in Cuyahoga Falls. Returning
home from work at Canal Park the next evening, they discovered more
than an inch of water soaking through the bathroom and entering the
bedrooms. Forced to evacuate immediately from their apartment, the trio
of co-workers collected what they could and piled the rest in their
living room, as they received a promised of a new place to live for the
next week.

They would soon learn that their new home was an
assisted living center just two miles down the road from their previous
quarters. While their previous abode had featured two bedrooms and two
bathrooms in a comfortable apartment for three grown men, their new
residence is a makeshift break room for the center’s employees. A
sign stating “STOP We Have Guests for Three Days” gives the
associates a modicum of privacy, although their new quarters have just
one bedroom and no carpeting. The three all agreed that their new
residence represents a relatively quaint living style, although there
is â??no shortage of new people to meet, said Cody with a smile

Yes, this was a PRESS RELEASE. Read the whole thing here. I love that this currently resides at the top of the team’s news page. 

Finally, anybody who knows me is aware that nothing is more near and dear to my heart than parody. Here’s an impressive one put together by the Greenville Drive, touting a superior gameday transportation option (thanks to Eric Long for the heads-up).

I’ll be back with more dispatches from the road in the near future. Until then I am

The Art and Science of the Minor League Wish List

wish.jpgToday I must draw my readers’ attention to my Minoring in Business “cover” story, which features the Holiday Wish Lists of 20 (!) Minor League teams.

Folks, this is the kind of content you just can’t find anywhere else, so I hope you appreciate it. I could just as easily be getting paid to write literary essays on the cultural effects of 21st-century social isolation for Harper’s, you know. Lewis Lapham is constantly badgering me to do this.

But, no. The Minor Leagues are my calling, so I must answer the call. Therefore, revel in today’s article, which is chock-full of interesting Holiday requests. There is currently a poll on the homepage, asking fans to vote on their favorites. Your choices include three masterpieces of the Minor League Holiday Poetry genre (Huntsville, Toledo, Quad Cities), as well as a handwritten mascot letter (West Michigan) and a superb doctored photo (Tri-City ValleyCats).

Not included in the Top 5 poll, but still worth checking out, are humorous contributions fromsanty.jpg Reading, Williamsport, and Birmingham. Actually, it’s ALL worth checking out. Do not discriminate.

And I may as well get in on the act as well, and post a Holiday Wish List for this here blog. I refuse to address it to anyone in particular, but I nonetheless believe these things will happen as a result of positive karmic repercussion. I give, so that I may get. Here are the two things that I want:

— More readers! The numbers have been really strong lately, especially for the offseason, but there is still plenty of room for growth. I feel that the subject matter has appeal far beyond “the industry” and Minor League Baseball superfans. The culture and atmosphere of a Minor League Baseball stadium reflects the culture and atmosphere of the community in which it is located. Taken together, these community portraits represent and reflect American culture.

To summarize, and tone down the pretention a notch (sorry Lewis): Minor League Baseball IS America.

— More feedback! There has been a nice uptick in comments as of late, and I routinely receive emails from front office folks and fans alike. But…more please! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this blog is a two-way street. The content will only ever be as good as what I am provided with by my readers.

So get in touch, for any reason at all:

Tri-Cities Displays Its "Stick"tuitiveness

tradervic.jpgThe New York Penn League’s Tri-Cities ValleyCats haven’t even begun their 2008 campaign, but they’ve certainly set themselves up to have a good one.

Astute readers of this fine blog will recall that the club prides itself on one of the more consistently surreal game presentations in the Minors, and that their 2008 promo schedule is highlighted by mayoral bobbleheads. And now, comes this:


TROY, NYStickball is returning to the city
streets this summer.  An estimated fifty teams of six players each will
participate in a September tournament, with all proceeds going to charity.  “We
are taking a game that people played in this neighborhood growing up and
bringing back this recreation to raise funds for youth programs in Troy,” said
Rocco DeFazio, founder of the Friends of Little Italy.

This is a great idea, and makes me wish that I lived close enough to the Tri-Cities area to be able to participate in this tournament. I am also heartened by the fact that the tournament’s spokesman is named “Rocco DeFazio”. That sounds like the sort of guy whose association with stickball goes back to the days of the Brooklyn Dodgers (that’s a lazy assumption, yes, but lazy assumptions make life a whole lot easier).

Want some more details?

The sport of
stickball, which is most popular in Northeastern urban centers, is
maze.jpgplayed using
a broom handle that acts as a “bat” and a rubber ball, sometimes referred to as
a “spaldeen”, or “pinky”…
On September
12, the stickball tournament will commence. Two days later, a champion will be
crowned.  Teams will participate in a double-elimination contest that will take
place throughout several sites in the downtown area with the Troy
Marketplace in Little Italy serving
as the event’s “home field.”

Here’s hoping that this tournament becomes an annual tradition. In this day of Xbox, DirecTV, iPods and other time-consuming and grammatically-challenged technological innovations, it is often necessary to take a step back in time in order to be reminded as to why we all fell in love with baseball in the first place.

A broom handle and rubber ball > playing MLB 2008 on your mobile phone.   

This Just Inbox

Tri-City Mayors Bobblehead series.jpgUpon checking my email this morning, I discovered a 1-2 punch of interesting promotional information. Let us now ease ever-so-gently into the weekend by perusing these bits of notable Minor League happenstance:

Tri-City ValleyCats Release Promotional Schedule — Regular readers of this “Pro” blog will remember the ValleyCats from this post, when Assistant General Manager Vic Christopher shed some light on the team’s promotional strategies. It was an illuminating window into a surrealist, Dada-esque world in which Deer/Banana hybrids comfortably shared the spotlight with Vespa-riding chickens. Well, today, the short-season ballclub released its 2008 promotions schedule. Highlighting the season’s giveaways are a series of Mayoral bobbleheads, in which each of the Tri-Cities will be represented: Albany’s Jerry Jennings on June 30, Troy’s Harry Tutunjian on July 9, and Schenectady’s Brian Stratton on July 28.

Also of note in Tri-City: World’s Largest Spiedie on June 29, April Fools Day in July on July 1 (comedians in the concourse!), and Pappy Southpaw’s 99th Birthday on July 13.

Stop Talking About the Distant Future! — Uh, okay. Well, how about a little info on what is happening in Altoona this evening? That work for you? Great. Check this out:

It’s Salute to Tools Night! I cannot resist the urge to quote from the press release, so here it hammertime.jpggoes:

“A double entendre will be at work as the Curve not only honor
everything on your dad’s work bench from hammers and nails to screwdrivers and
“T” squares, but also will poke fun at famous people who are “tools”, described
by ‘Urban Dictionary’ as ‘someone always trying too hard to fit in, and because
of this, never will.'”

You want more? You get more!

“Fans will be enlightened with a plethora of tool trivia, for example, in
England, the wrench is called a spanner and was patented in 1835 by Solymon
Merrick…In addition to apparatus-type tools, the human-type tools
will also be featured on Friday. Former Miami Dolphins and current University
of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban, who this year equated
consecutive losses by his Alabama football team to Pearl Harbor and the
September 11th Attacks, will be among the evening’s honorees.”

For even more promos to look forward to this weekend, click here. Thanks, everybody.