In exactly 10 days, the Tri-City ValleyCats will play their 2018 home opener and officially kick off summer here in the Capital Region.
Yeah, some of you might say summer’s already been kicked off, but nothing says summer to me more than beer, a ballpark frank, some peanuts and a good game of minor league baseball at “The Joe.” Itís literally one of the best things you can do in the Capital Region on a nice summer night –it’s guaranteed fun for a reasonable price.
The ValleyCats are a minor league affiliate of the Houston Astros and have filtered through a lot of major league talent, catching players right out of the MLB draft who swing through Troy to play some short-season A ball. The ‘Cats have played at Joe Bruno Stadium since 2002 and in that time, 54 former players climbed the ranks and made the big leagues.
Not only are past and present ValleyCats getting to the show, but they are making a huge impact upon arrival and it all starts by getting fans in the seats at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
The last two World Series MVPs started their professional careers in Troy — George Springerís five home runs against the Dodgers helped the Houston Astros secure their first title in the history of the franchise, and Ben Zobristís Game 7 heroics against the Indians helped the Cubs clinch their first championship in 108 years. And to think both made their professional debuts in little old Troy, N.Y. is pretty darn special.
Other notable ValleyCat players over the years include three-time American League batting champ Josť Altuve, AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel, World Series champ Hunter Pence and Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez. And this doesnít even include the countless all-stars that played against the ValleyCats as a visiting team. I distinctly remember Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi smacking two homers in a game when he played for the Lowell Spinners. You never know who youíre watching when you go to a game at The Joe.
And what if you’re not a baseball fan? Well, then the list of talent that’s come through the stadium probably doesn’t impress you much. But let me tell you, not being a baseball fan is no excuse to not get to a game this summer.
Joe Bruno Stadium is simply a great baseball venue and it’s right here in our backyard. The intimate, beautifully-kept ballpark seats about 5,000 fans and no matter where you are sitting thereís not a bad view (or a bad ticket price). Plus, they sell out more often than you’d think for an MiLB team by packing the schedule with fun promotions, fireworks during every home stand, and by serving up reasonably priced beer and ballpark food and partnering with local vendors like Nine Pin, Brown’s Brewing and more.
If youíve never been to The Joe you have to go, and plus, you know where Iíll be this summer. So, grab yourself a cheap ticket and hang at the stadium with the 2BD squad. Our girl Taylor is a ValleyCats intern alum too, and we’ve been known to hang out and take the cameras for a fun night at the ballpark.†Keep an eye out for us and we’ll see ya there this summer.
Two Buttons Deep†is a news & entertainment website based in upstate New York.
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