This year, Little League Baseball and the New York-Penn League each celebrate their 75th anniversary and already the Tri-City ValleyCats, the defending NY-PENN League Champs, are prepping for the season.
First, the ValleyCats will host their 4th Annual National Anthem tryouts on Saturday, April 5 from 10:00 am - 12:30 pm at Crossgates Mall in Guilderland. The ValleyCats will partner with Oldies 98-3, with Jaime Roberts from the Jaime in the Morning Show serving as the event emcee.
The winner will have the opportunity to perform the National Anthem prior to a game at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. Tryouts will be held on the lower level of Crossgates Mall across the hallway from the Apple Store. Registration will begin at 9:30 am, with auditions set to begin at 10:00 am. Auditions will be conducted on a “first come-first go” basis. Those trying out will be required to perform either the “Star-Spangled Banner” or “God Bless America.” Performers may apply individually, as a group, or both, and performances must be done a capella.
A panel of judges will select five finalists, who will then be videotaped performing their version of the National Anthem. Those videos will be posted online for fans to vote on a winner. All finalists will have the opportunity to perform at "The Joe" during the season. For more information, contact Chris Dawson at 518-629-CATS, Ext. 25, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ValleyCats 2014 season begins on Friday, June 13, and includes 38 unique theme nights, 14 extravagant fireworks displays, and plenty of giveaways. For full details, visit the ValleyCats official website, www.tcvalleycats.com.
FIELD RENOVATIONS – 4 IN 24
Additionally, the ValleyCats, with the support of BlueShield of Northeastern New York, will renovate four youth ball fields in less than 24 hours on Thursday, April 17. As part of the “4 in 24” program, Schenectady Little League, Twin Town Little League, Berne-Knox-Westerlo Little League, and Spring Youth Baseball, will all receive renovations to their playing surface.
Schenectady will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the original Schenectady Little League's World Series win in 1954. The Michigan Avenue field, which will receive the renovation, was home to the 1954 team. In a statement issued by the Schenectady Little League Board of Directors, the league expressed its gratification on being selected:
"This is a wonderful opportunity for our league and our community. We now have the opportunity to give this field a much-needed makeover that will enable us to begin the transformation of the Michigan Avenue complex into a monument to be looked upon in the years to come as a positive influence in our city, and to our baseball community. We are humbled by this decision, and look forward to partnering together with both the Tri-City ValleyCats and our community, to make this a positive experience for our young athletes."
Twin Town Little League, the ValleyCats neighbors across the street from "The Joe," and Berne Knox-Westerlo Little League, will also celebrate Little League's 75th anniversary with a brand new playing surface.
Twin Town will receive the renovation on the field where it plays all of its championship games, and most all-star tournament games.
"For years we have wanted to make significant repairs to our Williams Road No. 2 field, but have not had the resources. This will truly make it our signature field. Twin Town Little League is excited to partner with the ValleyCats on such a special project that will serve children in the community for years to come," said Bob Schuman, President, Twin Town Little League.
The field in Berne felt the effects of Hurricane Irene, and has never been the same since.
"Fixing our field has been on the league's wish list for at least six years. It has only gotten worse over that time, to the point where it has become a safety concern," said Kevin Toomey, President, Berne-Knox-Westerlo Little League. "We are a small league with an equally small budget, so getting this done was going to be a real challenge for us. We managed to buy some good baseball dirt a few years ago, but Hurricane Irene came through a few months later and took it all away. To have someone come in and take care of this all at once is a dream come true."
Spring Youth Baseball has been part of the Troy community since 1955, and provides house and competitive travel baseball to children from 3-12 years old.
"We are honored, excited and grateful for being selected by the Tri-City ValleyCats for the '4 in 24' field renovation program. It will allow our organization to improve field conditions and maintain a fun, safe atmosphere for kids to continue to learn the game of baseball at all levels. The kids that play ball at Spring and for the Renegades will surely be excited to step onto a field that the Tri-City ValleyCats are responsible to help renovate."
This spring will be the fourth straight season of the '4 in 24' project, and continues to be one of the ValleyCats most important yearly initiatives.
"Each year the '4 in 24' project provides an opportunity for our front office to get out into the community and support today's youth by refurbishing ball fields. We couldn't do it without the outstanding support of BlueShield of Northeastern New York, who shares our deep commitment of giving back to our communities," said Rick Murphy, Vice President / General Manager, Tri-City ValleyCats.
In 2012, the ValleyCats and BlueShield of Northeastern New York formed a strong community partnership known as the Community Grounds Crew, an expanded initiative to assist local youth leagues with maintenance and upkeep of their fields throughout the spring and summer. Their mission is to provide the youth of the Capital Region with a safe place to play, learn, grow, and most importantly, have fun.
"BlueShield is proud to continue our support for the third year," said Dr. Kirk Panneton, regional executive and medical director, BlueShield of Northeastern New York. "This initiative aligns perfectly with our corporate mantra, 'healthy changes everything.' Playing on a safe and well-maintained field is good for our region's children, and it's good for our community. We congratulate the Tri-City ValleyCats for their continued maintenance of more than 10 fields that have been transformed."
The four fields will receive brand new sod, bases, a home plate and pitcher's mound, and the baselines will be measured to the correct specifications. The entire scope of the project will be completed in one day.
The efforts will also be aided by the support of Admar Construction, who will provide the necessary equipment to complete the renovations. Other support comes from the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation, whose contributions come from past events held at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.