Triple-A Baseball (International and Pacific Coast Leagues) announced today that the NBC Sports Network will once again televise the Gildan Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game. This year's contest takes place at 7:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, September 17 at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania, home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Triple-A Baseball, Minor League Baseball's highest classification, is comprised of 30 teams throughout the United States which develop talent for Major League affiliates while providing affordable entertainment for fans of all ages. The 2013 campaign is the 111th season of operation for the Pacific Coast League and the 130th season for the International League.
The 2013 Gildan Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game will determine the overall champion of the classification. On September 17 the International League's Governors' Cup Champion and the Pacific Coast League Champion will meet in Lehigh Valley in a winner-take-all showdown. The International League club will be considered the home team for this year's game, thanks to the IL's 4-3 win over the PCL All-Stars in July.
Once again this season the American Forces Network will showcase the 2013 Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game. The American Forces Network reaches nearly one million men and women of the US Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines stationed around the globe in 175 countries and on the high seas.
Returning in 2013 as the play-by-play voice of the Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game is George Grande. One of the most recognizable broadcasters in the game, Grande has served as play-by-play announcer for the New York Yankees (1989-90), St. Louis Cardinals (1991-92) and the Cincinnati Reds (1993-2009) for whom he continues to call a small number of games each season. Grande is remembered as the first-ever host of ESPN's SportsCenter and also served as the master of ceremonies for the National Baseball Hall of Fame's annual inductions from 1980 to 2010.
Alongside Grande will be a name familiar to baseball fans everywhere, Bobby Valentine. The former MLB player and manager will serve as color analyst on the broadcast. "Bobby V" played for the Dodgers, Angels, Mets, and Mariners, but is perhaps better known to the current generation of fans as manager of the Rangers (1985-92), Mets (1996-2002), and Red Sox (2012). Valentine played in 486 games at the Triple-A level in his career, coming with Spokane, Charleston, Salt Lake, and Hawaii.
The field reporter will be Doug Heater of the IronPigs TV Network. Doug recently completed his fourth season in Lehigh Valley as a reporter and pre-game show host for the IronPigs. The Clinton, New Jersey native has also done both play-by-play and color analysis for wrestling, football, and softball among other sports for SECTV in eastern Pennsylvania.