TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – As is the case most summers, the Tri-City ValleyCats look brand new.
There’s only one player on the 33-man roster that played at the Joe last season, and another from New York. But beyond them, it’ll be an adjustment for most of the guys.
Thursday was media day for the ValleyCats and was the first chance for media to chat with some of the players as they settled into their new surroundings.
“My first thoughts when I heard Troy, New York, I was like, ‘Where is that?’” catcher Anthony Hermelyn said.
But Hermelyn, the highest of the Astros draft picks in Tri-City this year, is embracing the Northeast.
“You know, I’m just happy to be here, honestly,” he said. “I saw the ballpark. It’s a beautiful ballpark, and the people are friendly just like down in the South.”
It also helps that Hermelyn’s joining a team with some familiar faces. The catcher played college ball with two of his current teammates. In fact, he and second baseman Kolbey Carpenter go way back.
“I actually played with Anthony from the time I was, I think, 13 years old,” Carpenter said. “So we’ve been playing together for a while. So it’s cool we ended up on the same team.”
From Texas to the University of Oklahoma to Upstate New York, the one constant for the players has been the expectation to win.
That doesn’t change now – the ValleyCats have been in the New York Penn League finals each of the last three years and won the championship in 2013. Manager Ed Romero expects to keep up the winning ways in his third season at the helm.
“It’s very important that we keep the tradition of this ball club going in the right direction, and we’re going to do everything possible to develop these guys and win,” he said.
The players are on board.
“Getting rings is what it’s all about,” Hermelyn said. “At the end of your career, you’re counting your family friends and how many rings you got.”
The team opens the season with a six-game road trip starting in Connecticut Friday night.