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Troy’s Tri-City ValleyCats Find New League For 2021

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Tri-City ValleyCats
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After being spurned by Major League Baseball, the Tri-City ValleyCats have found a new league for the 2021 season. 

"I'm delighted that they were able to strike a deal. And we'll have baseball again in Troy."

Troy Mayor Patrick Madden is one of many happy fans. The Tri-City ValleyCats will continue to play professional baseball at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium after finding a new berth with the independent Frontier League. The ValleyCats had been with the New York-Penn League since 2002 when they moved from Pittsfield to Troy.

General Manger Matt Callahan:

"So we're excited to be maintaining professional baseball in the Capital Region. And the Frontier League is actually becoming a major league baseball partner league this year, which is going to play into the overall development model that that baseball is, is undertaking with some of these changes. So we felt that this league allowed us the best opportunity to continue to provide a high caliber of baseball and a top notch fan experience at the Joe for years to come."

In early December the ValleyCats learned they were left out of Major League Baseball’s plan to restructure the Minor League system, which eliminated short-season baseball and cut the number of affiliated teams from 160 to 120. That ended the Cat's long association with the Houston Astros.

Callahan says the Cats now become the 16th member of the Frontier League, which has been around since 1993.

"The biggest change I think people will see is that these players are no longer going to be controlled by the major league affiliate, you know, the Houston Astros, and in our case for a very long time, so whereas development was always prioritized within the Major League Baseball affiliate world, we're going to be trying to field a team that is competitive at all times and the goal is going to be to win. So I think that that's going to add some creativity or create some additional excitement and you know, I think that that these players are going to be you know, a little bit more accessible and probably a little bit more invested in the wins and losses than maybe we had seen in the past."

The Cats have been averaging over 4100 fans per home game: the Frontier League has a 96-game schedule set to begin in May. Callahan says the team will play 48 home games this year. He anticipates that by the end of the month, the Cats will have the finalized schedule in hand for promotion and marketing.

And an update on the franchise’s divorce from the Houston Astros: Citing a hit to the value of the club, The ValleyCats are suing the Astros and Major League Baseball for $15 million dollars, according to the Times-Union.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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