Venue Review: Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, Troy, NY - Home of the Tri-City ValleyCats

I've lived outside of Albany, NY for a little over five years now, and there has only been a few times I've ventured over to Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy, NY to watch the Tri-City ValleyCats. My weekdays are hectic, and my weekends are spent traveling between Vermont and Long Island visiting my family, so it's hard to get to games. However, my experiences going to ValleyCat games have always been great.

Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, Troy, NY. Home of the Tri-City ValleyCats (Photo/Corey Mansfield)
Joseph L. Bruno Stadium or the "The Joe" as the fans call it is located in Troy, NY on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College. It's located about five minutes off Interstate 787 which runs through Albany. It's extremely accessible for fans coming from any direction.

One thing you'll notice immediately about the stadium is that there is a lot of parking close to the stadium. Not only is it close to the stadium, but it's free! Which makes it even better. There is also other auxiliary parking for fans if the draw a big crowd. Those are located only about a quarter mile walk away from the field.

Tickets to the games are extremely affordable, with prices ranging from $5.50 to $11.50 depending on where you want to sit. The ValleyCats also provide standing room only tickets for fans when a game sells out. I highly recommend printing your tickets off in advance instead of buying them at the box office, or picking them up at Will Call. This is much easier and will get you in the game faster.

Getting ready to go through the turnstiles (Photo/Corey Mansfield)
After entering the turnstiles you are always greeted by a member of the ValleyCats staff. I don't think I've ever gone through the gate and not had someone say "Enjoy the game!" Also, the ValleyCats are one of the few teams that hand out free programs to fans with a score card.

Finnigan's Sports Cards of Albany, NY with a table with games for younger fans during Camp Days (Photo/Corey Mansfield)
As you the enter "The Joe" you'll notice the team shop on your left which carries various merchandise of the team. It's one of the bigger team shops I've seen in the minor leagues and the prices are extremely reasonable with $29.99 for an official team hat or $10.00 for a team card set.

"The Joe" has a huge concourse. It's so big in fact that many people stand on it and watch the game. I've been to a few games where it seemed like more fans were standing on the concourse then in the seats. The concourse provides a great view of the game and if you weren't able to get a decent seat this allows you to stand and get a better view of the game.

The concourse (Photo/Corey Mansfield)
The concessions are also located on the concourse. The ValleyCats offer various choices of food and beverages for fans. I'm traditional baseball guy so I bought two hot dogs and soda, and only paid $6.00. I've been to other venues where a soda is $4.50 alone, so the prices were a pleasant surprise.

Enjoy some local brew from Brown's Brewing Company during the game (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

Overall, the atmosphere of the games are always great. In between innings they run promotions like other minor league venues, so there is always something to watch and keep small children entertained. The ValleyCats also offer a play area for kids.

Play area for kids (Photo/ Corey Mansfield)

The ValleyCats also feature a few different mascots including SouthPaw and the now defunct Albany River Rats' Mascot, Rowdy. At times there can be up to eight mascots cheering the crowd on.

Southpaw getting the fans going! (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

If you're wondering about the level of play you'll see at "The Joe" then here's a quick lesson. The ValleyCats are the short season Single-A Affiliate of the Houston Astros and play in the New York-Penn League. The level is one of the lowest levels of minor league baseball, and many of the players in the league are fresh out of college or in developmental stages in their careers.

Here's a quick look at the Houston Astros minor league system. 
While many of these players will not make it to the major leagues, many of these players will have successful minor league careers.

The 1st Overall Pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, Mark Appel pitched a few games for the ValleyCats this season (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

Overall, my experiences going to see the ValleyCats at "The Joe" have been awesome. I've never had a problem with fans or employees. I've been able to strike up conversations with other fans at games, and they are extremely knowledgeable about baseball. It's a great atmosphere! If you're ever in the capital region and want to check out a baseball game I recommend checking out the ValleyCats. 

Here are some other pictures of "The Joe"

Left view of the concourse (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

The grounds crew getting the field ready before a game (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

A shot of the first base line (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

Picnic area (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

Left field and the score board (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

A view of the concourse and suites (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

A view from right field (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

The berm area behind left field (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

Some drinks at the Tiki Bar (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

The scoreboard (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

Another view of the berm (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

A view from the left field berm (Photo/ Corey Mansfield) 
Pappy talking to some fans (Photo/Corey Mansfield)
Rowdy the former River Rats' Mascot adopted by ValleyCats (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

Ribbie another one of the ValleyCats' mascots (Photo/Corey Mansfield)

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