Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To The Joe

I accomplished one of my goals - to visit another New York-Penn League stadium this year. This one was easy - Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy, New York.

The beauty of the Gades visiting the Tri-City Valley Cats is that it's not a long trip. In fact, I was able to go to Greenwich, do "The Press Box", then jump in the car and (traffic and weather permitting), shoot up the Interstate 684, across I-84, then up the Taconic Parkway to I-90 and onto the Stadium. Weather was perfect (despite fears of storms and such) and traffic was minimal. I made it in under two hours and thirty minutes.

I assess each broadcast, and then try not to overreact one way or the other. Last Saturday night, for instance, I was very pleased with my performance. Last night, I was tired, off, or just didn't have it. Whatever. I wasn't up to my standard, and I knew it. It happens.

But I did have a highlight. Have a listen.

Too bad they couldn't take that momentum and do something with it. They lose 11-7, as the Cats got four in the eighth.

Joseph L. Bruno Stadium isn't initially impressive to the eye. Located on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College, its concrete exterior and metal lettering screams 21st Century minor league ballpark, but once inside, there's a lot to like. The entry way opens up to a concourse with a view of the field. There are no bleachers, and all seats have backs. Forty-five hundred people can fit at "The Joe."

There's a BBQ picnic area down the right field line, while the left field corner has a kids area with the usual batch of inflatables. Beyond the left field fence sits a grill area. The bullpens are located beyond the outfield fence, along with a small hill that some fans choose to sit on.

Upstairs are several suites and the press box. While I wasn’t thrilled with the setup, preferring to call a game in a private room, the visitor’s booth was roomy enough for admitted space hog Geoff Brault and I to work. The biggest reason I prefer privacy is, besides the opportunity for people to chime in from “the peanut gallery” (see – almost every booth in FCIAC football), opposing broadcasters can sometimes be heard. Listen again to my call of Biell’s homer. As I say “gone”, so does Mike Demos, “voice” of the Valley Cats. Oh well.

Still, this quickly became one of my favorite perches in the NY-Penn, topping even my own home at Dutchess Stadium. Aberdeen is my favorite, with "The Joe" second, followed by "The Dutch." Lowell is next, followed by Oneonta and Brooklyn.

The staff at The Joe were very helpful, assisting me when I arrived, though I stood outside the gate for a moment while the young ticket taker got a colleague to make sure it was OK to let me in. That's never a problem, so long as they don't venture into "over-officious" territory. They were quick to bring scoring decision and other items to us (even bad scoring decisions, like giving Mark Thomas an error on a ball hit to the right of the shortstop).

Of course, I'm happy anytime there is a fully-stocked fridge of drinks. Lemonade, RC cola, water, and others kept my cool on this warm and muggy night in the Capitol Region.

As for food...OK, "The Joe" doesn't top Aberdeen, Lowell, or "The Dutch."

We were off the air by 10:05, and I was home just after 12:10 AM. I even followed the directions of "Sean the GPS", who instructed me to use some roads other than what I expected. I would have taken US 4 back to I-90 to the Taconic, but "Sean" said to take US 4 to I-90 to US 9 to NY 9H to NY 82. I did it, since nobody was on the road. It made it easier to find a gas station.

I might have one more road trip in me before the end of the season (Lowell? Oneonta? Brooklyn? Staten Island?). We'll see.


Tim Parry said...

Peanut gallery? Come on! We press box vagrants are like the Wack Pack to your Howard Stern! The John and Yoko to your Howard Cosell! Without us, you're still... Rob Adams, I guess.

Rob Adams said...

Oh please! I wish you were the "peanut gallery" in question. I'm talking about the PA guy, the parent, the hanger-on, the spotter, the person with too much to say about name pronunciations, facts, and general BS.

You bring quality to the broadcast.