Monday, August 6, 2018

Brooklyn Cyclones 5 at Hudson Valley Renegades 6 (New York-Penn League) - August 5, 2018


Just over a decade ago, I saw a game at Dutchess Stadium in Wappinger Falls, New York, home of the Hudson Valley Renegades. That was part of an extended road trip and I made the drive over from Binghamton on the Fourth of July weekend. I remember that the large crowd combined with a somewhat inaccessible location made the experience unpleasant, and have since not considered a revisit.



Little did I know, however, that Wappinger Falls is just outside of Beacon, a town that is on the Metro-North Railroad. Just 90 minutes from NYC and home to an internationally famous art museum, Beacon is a place I have visited on several occasions without realizing that the ballpark is just over 2 miles away. When I finally discovered that fact, I immediately convinced my wife to take a day trip to combine the museum and the game, which we did on Sunday.



Dutchess Stadium was opened in 1994 and that fact is commemorated with seating capacity set at 4,494. Unlike most minor league ballparks, it has an Astroturf field, which was installed in 2014.



It is located just off Route 9D slightly north of I-84, in a forested area. It is not advisable to walk here, as there are no sidewalks on the road, so you will have to drive and pay the $5 parking charge, quite high for the short-season New York-Penn League. There is a single stoplight at the stadium, which means that getting out after the game can take some time, so consider that when choosing your parking spot.



The ticket booth is to the left of the main entrance and offers 3 main types for walkup fans: a premium box seat at $14 if you want to sit close to the field (green seats in the photo above); a reserved seat for $11 above the walkway (red seats below); and $8 for general admission, which allows you to sit in the bleachers down either the first base or third base line.



The sun sets behind the press box, so getting a seat in the high rows between sections 201-206 is the best way to avoid the sun for a 5:00 start. You might think climate change is a hoax, but I can tell you that it is getting more and more uncomfortable to go to afternoon baseball games in the summer and this was no exception. It was hot and humid, with no breeze to cool you down.



Before entering, check out the two plaques for local Hall of Famers to the right of the ticket office. One honours Eddie Collins, who was born in Millerton, about 40 miles northeast of Wappinger Falls; the other commemorates Falls native Dan Brouthers, who played regularly in the majors from 1879-1896.



The concourse lies behind the seating area and is where you can pick up your food and drink, as well as find a bit of shade. There is a bar here as well where you can actually sit and order beers instead of watching the game. Given the weather, this shady spot was the place to be, although it seems like they need to improve their ID checking, as you can see below.



Just underneath the stands along the first base side is a beer "garden" with good craft beer options. There are plenty of unique concessions here such as the Bourbon BBQ and Grill (sandwiches for $6.75) and a taco stand ($4 each), while 16-oz craft beers go for $7.50. I like the variety, although prices are just a bit high for this level of baseball.



As is the norm these days, there are large group areas down both lines. A picnic spot can be found in left field...



...while the Landshark Grill is in the right field corner and open to the public.



The scoreboard is in left field and is quite impressive for this level, with high-quality replays offered along with player stats.



The team store is small but did have air conditioning, so it was worth stopping in. Even better, the championship trophy, which seems to lack a name, was on display.



The Renegades won the championship in 2017 and New York-Penn League rules allow the defending champion to keep the trophy for the following season. They are the best team in the league so far, so a repeat performance is not out of the question.



Overall, I was happy to revisit Dutchess Stadium again and improve my opinion of the place. Even at this level, one visit is not enough to really appreciate everything, and now that I know how easy it is to get to, I'm sure to be back more often.

The Game

The Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets) were visiting the Renegades (Rays) and got off to a quick start when Chase Chambers (18th, 2018) hit a 2-run shot in the first off of Easton McGee (4th, 2016). Hudson Valley got one back in the bottom half off Cyclone starter Jaison Vilera and it looked like a high-scoring game was in order. But both pitchers settled down for a couple of innings, until the fifth. With Brooklyn up 3-1, Carlos Cortes hit a two-run homer which I missed as I was getting ready for the Pirates and Princess parade. That was the promotional theme and having a little princess of our own, we had to participate in the parade, which was just kids and parents walking around the concourse after the fifth inning. Of course, Hudson Valley made the bottom half last as long as possible, scoring 3 runs and forcing a pitching change. The participants had to stand for about 15 minutes until the inning finished, at which time they paraded around to much applause. That pretty much exhausted our princess, and having to catch a train back to NYC and suffering from the heat, we left shortly thereafter. The game continued 5-4 for Brooklyn until the 9th, when Hudson Valley scored 2, with the winning run coming on a balk, a true walk-off.

Notes

The art museum that is nearby is called Dia Beacon. It is not for everyone as it is dedicated to large-scale pieces (such as holes in the ground, below), but if you are in the area and not cynical about modern art, it is worth a visit.



There are several other sights in the area, including Franklin D. Roosevelt's house in Hyde Park and George Washington's Headquarters in Newburgh should you lean toward attractions with a historical bent.

Best,

Sean

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