Saturday, September 11, 2010

Supporting the Local Nine

When you think of a night in mid-September, generally you think sports.  Down South, high school football season is a couple of weeks in, colleges are just starting to kick off.  Tailgating is top priority and if you can't make it to the game, then most couches have perma-butt imprints from stationed positions.  If you're lucky enough that your MLB baseball team is doing well, you might still be fighting for last minute tickets or gearing up for the playoffs.  But one thing is pretty much constant across the boards, no matter the sport...humidity is high and unless by some act of God, it's well over 90 degrees at 6:00 p.m.

Home of the Cats
The Garretts decided to spend their second weekend in September rooting for the Tri City Valley Cats.  They are the Short-Season Single A Club for the Houston Astros and the team plays in the New York - Penn League.  The Cats takes the field at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium over at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, just a few minutes from Clifton Park.  It's also across the parking lot from where Brett works a few days a week, so we didn't even need the GPS to get there this time!

Off the side of a trash can
After a strong showing by the St. Louis Cardinals earlier in the season, they're not looking so hot right now.  We decided it might be nice to cheer for at least one team in a playoff game this year.  The Valley Cats took on the Brooklyn Cyclones in the first game of three in the NYPL Championship Series.  The Cats took the wind of out the Cyclones in a 5-2 victory!

It was certainly a chilly evening by our standards with the temperatures in the mid-60s!  Dressed for a normal Southern September evening, flip flops and capri pants left Heather's toes colder than all the ice cream everyone around us was sucking down like it was going out of style.

Play Ball!
But the ice cream was a good deal (at $2 a cone) and if weren't for that dang Mean Diet, we probably would have had some in the heated car ride home.  Minor league baseball may be one of the greatest bangs for you buck these days.  For only $6 a ticket, we sat front row on the third base line.  Concessions are really reasonably priced and the atmosphere is a lot more relaxed and accessible than Major League Baseball.  The players are just tickled pink that they're there and that fans are there to watch and are always happy to sign autographs.  We watched starting pitcher David Martinez toss a ball to a little girl just a few seats over from us and saw her sister catch it as it bounced square off her forehead!

New VC Fans
The great thing about minor league baseball is that it's affordable and approachable.  You don't have to spend an arm and a leg to take your family out the ball park.  The mascots are always around for a picture and who doesn't love a game that announces the nine-year-old bat boy with the starting lineup?  The promotions aways are always fun and with a smaller attendance, you might actually have a shot at winning one of those prized t-shirts fired from those super cool t-shirt guns!  The parks are clean, the language is cleaner (smaller park security can usually keep a better handle on the heavy drinkers) and there's plenty for the kids with ants-in-their-pants to do if the game doesn't hold their attention.  Plus, if you hit a game at the end of the season like we did, everything in the team store is 40% off.
Sure beats our 4th of July sparklers

Just after the 'good game' handshakes, there was a huge firework display to celebrate the final game at the park for the season.  We were just happy to celebrate watching a team we were cheering for win!  We look forward to cheering next season for the Valley Cats.


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