The ValleyCats open their 2017 season this week

tri-city valleycats night game

The Tri-City ValleyCats open their 2017 home season this Wednesday at The Joe against the Lowell Spinners. There will be fireworks after the game. It's part of a six-game homestand that runs through next Monday. (Their season opens on the road at Connecticut Monday night.)

The ValleyCats are a farm team for the Houston Astros in the New York-Penn League, which is the "short-season A" level. (Minor league baseball's levels go from rookie ball up to AAA.) And while that's a few steps from the majors, more than 30 one-time ValleyCats have ended up making appearances in MLB -- including Hunter Pence, Ben Zobrist, Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Dallas Keuchel.

Many of the Astros top draft picks -- especially older players out of college -- end up being assigned to the ValleyCats.

Tickets start as low as $5.75 (the most expensive are $11), so it can be relatively cheap night out. And The Joe -- Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College -- is a nice venue. Also: It's minor minor league baseball, so there are a bunch of promotions, wacky theme nights, and the mayors race.

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