A.J. REED WINS GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD

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ValleyCats first baseman A.J. Reed was announced today as the 2014 winner of the Golden Spikes Award.                                                                                                                                              It is presented to the player chosen as the most outstanding in college baseball that season.

Photo above shows Reed hitting his first home run at the Joe.  We look forward to A.J. returning to the lineup very soon.  He was in L.A. today for the presentation ceremony broadcast on ESPN’s Sports Center.

A.J. Reed Rounds 1B after his first professional hit.

A.J. Reed Rounds 1B after his first professional hit.

ValleyCats first baseman A.J. Reed was the second round pick of the Houston Astros in the 2014 draft. He led the NCAA in Home Runs in addition to winning honors for his pitching prowess.
Hometown is Terre Haute, Indiana.

A BASKETBALL TALE

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How do you justify a basketball story on a baseball blog? With my grandfather, Jimmy Davey (above) that’s how.

He was both a pro baseball player and pro basketball player. Much more successful in basketball. His Troy team, featuring future Hall of Fame center Ed Wachter was considered the best in the game at one time. In baseball he only made it to class B. But baseball rewarded him with a wife. He met Mildred Bostwick of Eau Claire, Wisconsin in a hotel lobby. He was reading a newspaper and his hair kept dropping over his eyes. She walked over and brushed his hair back. The rest is history, our family’s history. They wed in 1910. But two years later both his sports careers ended in a train derailment in Wisconsin. The rail line paid him $700 for his injury and he took his bride home to Troy and opened a movie theatre. Mildred was an accomplished pianist and accompanied the silent movies of that era. The theatre didn’t prosper so Jimmy began a new career as a custodian for the Troy school system and umpired amateur baseball games. He passed in 1934 when his only child, our dad, was 12.

More than 50 years later, my dad and I were shooting hoops in our driveway with my son Ryan. Ryan had already amassed a handful of medals from the Special Olympics for his basketball skills. But on this day my dad showed him a new shot. An over the head set shot that his dad, the pro had used. I could never master that shot but Ryan picked it up immediately. He would use it to bury 3-pointers at the CYO in the challenger league and in driveways and parks.

Jimmy Davey had started playing basketball at the old Troy YMCA on 1st St. There he met Ed and Lou Wachter. The lads would grow into manhood playing basketball. Ryan and I went on a pilgrimage to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. where I showed him photographs of his great grandpa and his teammates displayed for the world to see. All Ryan cared about was returning to the ground floor where all the hoops and basketballs were. We shot for a long time. Well, Ryan shot and I rebounded, just as we do today at the Troy YMCA on 21st St.. When we are sharing good times on the court, I feel as if others are  there with us.

I smile and Ryan drops in a trey.

 

ValleyCats in Game 1 of NYPL Finals Tonight.

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Manager Ed Romero has led the ValleyCats to the league finals in his first year managing here.
Romero has dealt with players suspended, promoted or pitchers shut down due to innings limits.
Quite a gauntlet of issues for any manager.Thanks Ed, for a job well done.

Conrad Gregor gets my vote for MVP of the 2013 ValleyCats. Little competition, if you ask me. He’s played a steady 1B all season and has appeared more confident as the season progressed.

Unfortunately the ‘Cats do not have the home field advantage for the finals, just like last year.
I want to see a championship won AT Joe Bruno Stadium not at some other team’s ballpark.

Tonight we root the ‘Cats to victory in the last home game of the season. See you there.

TONY KEMP WILL MAKE ‘THE SHOW’.

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I saw it in George Springer, but he was only here for a moment. I see it in Tony Kemp. That spark that informs me he will someday be a major leaguer. I thought Hunter Pence and, to a lesser degree, Ben Zobrist would probably make it someday. Who could have imagined they would both be MLB All-Stars someday.

Kemp plays the game with a level of talent and confidence that impresses the heck out of me. He even coaches 1B with class.

What do you think?

Feeling Itchy About Cameras?

Feeling Itchy About Cameras?

Mike Yastrzemski’s pose when asked for a photo. He made a wisecrack to his teammates and then grabbed his crotch.
Guess he may have some issues about carrying a famous baseball name.

YASTRZEMSKI AT THE JOE

YASTRZEMSKI AT THE JOE

Mike Yastrzemski, grandson of Boston legend Carl, visited THE JOE with his team, the Aberdeen IronBirds.
Mike did not cheerfully pose for this photo although he was asked politely.

THE ROAD CREW

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What a road trip!  Undefeated in 6 games. Quality pitching combined with timely hitting.

Manager Ed Romero has been pressing the right buttons. After their 2-4 homestand, the ValleyCats kicked things into gear and return to THE JOE with a 6 game winning streak.

The last homestand included 2 walkoff victories! Some years we see no walkoff wins, so they should be noted. Also the much-heralded arrival of P Mark Appel to start his pro career provided a great distraction to the players, I am sure.

There can be little doubt that the ValleyCats are a favorite to win the NYPL Championship this year, but those 2 of 3 playoff series can be a challenge for any team.

Enjoy all the quality ballplayers that the Astro organization has brought to Troy.  A good number of them will be playing in the Major Leagues in several years, you know it.

Mark Appel, Doug White and Jake Rodriguez

Mark Appel, Doug White and Jake Rodriguez

Pre-game strategy session down the LF line.

This is how ValleyCats Roll.

This is how ValleyCats Roll.

ValleyCats stormed C Luis Alvarez after his WALK-OFF STRIKE OUT! He tried to run away but had expended too much energy running to 1B.

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