Whether through their partnerships with charitable organizations, or the volunteer efforts of their staff, the ValleyCats organization recognizes and embraces their responsibility to make a difference in the Capital Region! Whether using their resources to assist a non-profit organization in raising funds, or providing youth teams with a safe field to play on, the Tri-City ValleyCats strive to fulfill every opportunity in the community. The ValleyCats are annually one of the top teams in the New York-Penn League in regards to community contributions - both in goods and services donated, and funds raised in stadium.
In 2019, the ValleyCats made over 175 appearances within the community, including area schools, libraries, camps, walks, fundraising events, and more. Most of these events are attended by the most recognizable mascot in New York's Capital Region - SouthPaw! The ValleyCats monetary donations and gifts in kind totalled over $130,000. In-stadium fundraisers raised nearly $397,000, putting the amount at $527,000 in total contributions!
In-stadium fundraisers included charity takeover nights in support of Make-A-Wish of Northeast NY, the MS Society of Upstate New York, STRIDE Adaptive Sports, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region. Each night featured a specialty themed jersey auction/raffle, providing an enhancement to the nightly theme while raising funds and awareness for great causes.
Other in-stadium fundraisers included the Make-A-Wish Walk for Wishes, MS Walk, Capital Region Series corporate baseball tournament, Battle of the Badges softball tournament, Friday Night Lights high school baseball, and numerous group ticket fundraisers. The ValleyCats also participated in numerous MiLB Charities initiatives at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, including the MiLB CommUNITY Initiative presented by Allegiant, Ed Randall's Fans for the Cure, Sun Safety with Blue Lizard in support of the American Cancer Society, a BUSH's Beans Food Drive, and Joe Torre's Safe At Home Foundation Domestic Violence Awareness Initative.
'Cats Care isn't just the ValleyCats team and staff, we know our fans give back to our local community too. We'd like you to get involved with the team and there are opportunities for everyone! From events at The Joe like the Walk for Wishes and Relay For Life to events around the Capital Region!
Did you know that the ValleyCats have over thirty 'Cats Care community programs? These initiatives take place in the ballpark and throughout the Capital Region. Many of these programs are made possible through partnerships with community minded businesses and support from our sponsors. Whether it is partnering with the Kiwanis Club to supply books to children or collecting non-perishable food items for The Food Pantries For The Capital District, the 'Cats are always looking for ways to make an impact.
The Tri-City ValleyCats assist the community by donating items such as tickets and merchandise to non-profit organizations to be used in raffles or auctions to raise funds for their cause. Each year the ValleyCats make over 400 donations valued at over $95,000. To request a donation for your event or fundraiser, please fill out our Online Donation Request Form.
SouthPaw, the Street Team, and the ValleyCats staff make many visits throughout the Capital Region with stops at libraries, schools, sporting events, walks, 5ks, corporate partners' events, and hospitals.
ValleyCats Staff members are also available to visit your organization, school, or company if you'd like to learn what goes on behind the scenes of a successful Minor League Baseball team and what it takes to work in the sports industry. Staff members from all departments--as well as the team's General Manager and Assistant General Manager--make ideal speakers with diverse backgrounds and insight.
In total, the ValleyCats make over 175 appearances each year. Whether you are walking at The Crossings or shopping at Crossgates, you never know where you'll see the ValleyCats! The ValleyCats make each appearance free of charge. To request an appearance from a mascot, player, or staff member, please fill out the Appearance Request Form.
The ValleyCats offer local non-profit organizations the opportunity to raise funds by participating in ticket or picnic fundraisers. Each participating organization must commit to sell a minimum number of tickets to a specific game to be eligible for the program. To help with the fundraiser, the ValleyCats can provide promotional materials, schedules, and a promotional ticket code for online ticket orders. To learn about fundraising options with the ValleyCats, call 518-629-2287.
'CATS CREW KIDS CLUB
The 'Cats Crew Kids Club is a fun program for children 12 and under, offering unique opportunities at the ballpark. For only $20, all kids club members receive a welcome letter, a membership lanyard, quarterly newsletters, a goodie bag including a mini baseball, tshirt, and autograph book, and an invitation to Kids Club events at The Joe including an exclusive picnic with the ValleyCats players.
For more information or to register your child, Click Here!
BASEBALL CAMPS & CLINICS
Part of the ValleyCats' mission as the Capital Region's professional baseball team is to act as a steward for the game. To encouraging kids to get involved in baseball and to learn the skills required to play the game, the ValleyCats host multiple camps and clinics throughout the summer.
The 'Cats Academy Baseball Camp is offered for two age groups during the summer. There is a 3-day camp for kids 6-9 years old and two specialized camps for kids 10-13 years old focused on either Pitching & Catching or Fielding & Hitting. These camps run from 9:00 AM - Noon at Joseph L Bruno Stadium and include instruction from the ValleyCats staff, players, and coaching staff. For more information or to register your child for camp, click here.
The ValleyCats also partner with Chevy Youth Baseball and CAP COM to provide baseball clinics to specific groups of children at no cost. These groups and children are selected each summer by the ValleyCats and their corporate partners.
EDUCATION DAY AT "THE JOE!"
Early each season the ValleyCats host a special matinee game for school children. At the team's first Education Day, held in 2014 over 5,500 local students took a fieldtrip to The Joe. The game features an educational program and curriculum tying baseball into learning! Corporate partners such as Regeneron,Transfinder, and First New York Federal Credit Union help to offset costs so that hundreds of students can attend the game, receiving a ticket and lunch.
Each season the ValleyCats team will wear special themed jerseys for 3-4 games instead of their classic, home whites. These jerseys do more than enhance the night's theme, they provide unique, game worn souvenirs to ValleyCats fans, and raise funds for great causes! In the past themes have included pink jerseys for Breast Cancer Awareness, purple jerseys for Relay For Life, Jockey Silk jerseys for the Ronald McDonald House, and Patriotic jerseys.
COMMUNITY GROUNDS CREW & 4 IN 24 YOUTH FIELD RENOVATIONS
The ValleyCats signature event each spring is the "4 in 24 Field Renovation Project." With the support of partners like BlueShield of Northeastern NY and Hannaford Supermarkets, the ValleyCats staff rebuilds four youth baseball or softball fields in a twenty-four hour time frame. Since the ValleyCats came to the Capital Region in 2002, over thirty fields have been completely renovated. The field work often includes cutting out the entire infield grass, raking and grading the dirt, leveling the playing surface, laying out brand new grass and rebuilding the entire pitcher's mound and home plate areas. By the end of the day, the four selected youth leagues have a safe, regulation sized field to play on. Applications are accepted each fall. If you league is interested in having one of your field's renovated, please submit an application and photos of your field. Click here for more information.
Throughout the rest of the warm months, the ValleyCats Community Grounds Crew works on other small projects for local youth leagues and high schools. These projects generally include mound or plate work or repairing drainage issues. If you have questions about your field or need guidance on how to complete a project, please contact Matt Callahan, General Manager at [email protected]
Through partnerships with community minded corporate partners, the ValleyCats are able to offer complimentary tickets to local nonprofit organizations and groups. Many of these groups are children and families that may not otherwise be able to attend a professional game; others are youth organizations, sports teams, or organizations that will receive recognition at the ValleyCats game. Organizations that receive the tickets are selected by the ValleyCats and their corporate partners.
KEY BANK COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT
Partnering with Key Bank, the ValleyCats will spotlight a different area non-profit at each of the 38 home games. Each night, one organization has the opportunity to have a presence at the ballpark for purposes of educating ValleyCats fans about their organization. Each non-profit organization is provided with space on the concourse, behind home plate to display and distribute promotional materials. The organization will also receive 10 tickets to the night's game.
CHARITY TAKEOVER NIGHTS
One of the BIGGEST fundraising opportunities the ValleyCats offer is the Charity Takeover Night. Each season, starting in 2015, there are 2-3 games designed to raise major funds for partnering nonprofits! Combining multiple components, the nonprofits will benefit from a ticket fundraiser, a picnic fundraiser, proceeds from the jersey auction, proceeds from a mystery autograph sale in SouthPaw's Den and a portion of the night's Launch-A-Ball proceeds.
Participating nonprofits have been longtime partners with the Tri-City ValleyCats and must commit to selling a minimum number of tickets to the night's game, as well as, promoting the event to their supporters and volunteers. If you think our organization may be a good fit for future seasons, please call Michelle Skinner at (518) 629-2287 or email [email protected]. There is currently a waiting list to participate in the Charity Takeover.
VALLEYCATS STAFF INVOLVEMENT
The ValleyCats' staff always says that working in Minor League Baseball is a lifestyle, not a job. We share that same attitude when it comes to giving back to our local communities. 'Cats Care is not just a slogan, it is a something shown through the staff's volunteering. From serving on Boards and Committees to volunteering to sell Make-A-Wish Stars or ringing the Salvation Army Bell.