It’s opening night at “The Joe”

@Dylan Rossiter
Graphic: ValleyCats sports information/provided.

TROY — A night after dropping their first game of the season in a 9-0 shutout against the Connecticut Tigers, the Tri-City ValleyCats will host their first game of the New York-Penn League season at Joe Bruno Stadium Wednesday evening.

The ‘Cats, who failed to make the playoffs in 2016 under manager Lamarr Rogers, host the Lowell Spinners (Red Sox affiliation) at 7:00 p.m. with a new man at the helm, Morgan Ensberg.

A former USC walk-on and MLB All-star with the Houston Astros, Ensberg has New York-Penn League roots. 18-years-ago, he was a rookie cutting his teeth with the Auburn Doubledays, the former NYPL affiliate of the Astros before they jumped to the collar city. He remembers and knows what his young players are going through.

“It really is empathy,” Ensberg told the Times Union’s Mark Singelais. “It’s, ‘Do you understand what these kids are going through and can you make those connections with those kids?’ And I can, and so can the staff. I think we feel a tremendous responsibility to introduce them not only to pro ball but the way the Houston Astros go about teaching and playing pro ball.”

Before landing the top job at Brno Stadium, Ensberg rolled around the Astros’ minor league system as an assistant. Wednesday’s contest will be his first minor league home opener as a manager.

First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. and the game is presented by the Rensselaer County Department of Health. With it being the home opener, a rare midweek fireworks show will follow the game.

For tickets, click here. Team management tells Spectrum News that they are expecting a sellout.

[Times Union]

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