Joe Bruno Stadium
Review by Gary
The Tri-City Valley Cats have called Joseph L. Bruno Stadium home since the ballpark was built for them in 2002, when they arrived from Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, MA. Named after a NY senator who put up the “benjamins” to fund the stadium, ‘The Joe’, as it’s known to the locals, is located on the campus of the Hudson Valley Community College. The team is named for the three cities of the NY capital region; Albany, Schenectady and Troy.
The 10:30 am exhibition game we attended featured the host 2018 NY-Penn League Champion Cats taking on the Albany Dutchmen, a member of the Perfect Game Collegiate League. The Cats’ championship trophy was on proud display in the team’s gift shop. Many times, the trophy sits in the offices for only the employees to see, so this was a very nice touch for the fans to check out the hardware up close. With a packed house of mostly elementary school kids in attendance, those adults paying attention to the game witnessed a shellacking by the visiting college men, 10-4. I discovered afterwards that the 2019 Valley Cats were comprised mostly of new players, which explains why they didn’t play like champions on this June morning.
The Joe itself is a very nice open-air ball park for an independent league team. While the kids, baking like toasted cheesers, were being hosed down by mascots wielding super soakers, I found great places to view the action from all around the stadium. If I were a regular at Bruno Stadium, I would probably always find a way to sit in the Top of the Hill Bar & Grill, located above the left field wall. Unfortunately, this section is normally reserved for group events, but on this day, it was empty. The only drawback to sitting in this section is that it’s beneath the only scoreboard in the entire stadium, so unless you’re keeping score or listening to the game on the radio, you may lose track of the game while imbibing refreshing beverages served by the barkeep.
Speaking of scoreboards, The Joe’s line score of LED lights was almost impossible to read for the morning game. I’m sure it’s completely legible for night games, but at noon, there was not much chance to see which of the recessed bulbs were lit. The only other negative I encountered at the game was the location of the Dipping Dots (Ice Cream of the Future) stand. Whether from the past, present or future, placing the stand right in front of the gift shop was not the best idea, especially on Education Day at the Joe, where most of the sodden school children stood formed a mosh pit in the main concourse, screaming for ice cream.
Those wanting to escape any direct exposure to the sun on particularly warm days will either have to congregate on the shaded concourse or drop some cash and reserve one of the 10 enclosed luxury suites. With the exception of a few umbrella-covered tables in the picnic pavilion, none of the 4,500 seats at The Joe are covered. On a positive note, all the seats at The Joe are extra wide with seat backs that provide ample legroom. I would also add that Matt, the group sales associate, was very helpful on the phone with purchasing tickets in advance. When next you are near Albany, Schenectady or Troy, NY during baseball season, check out a Valley Cats game at The Joe.