Let’s take in a ball game. Oh, it’s a beautiful evening for baseball. Check out the Mets. Let’s see. Uh, tickets are $324 each for the best seats; you can start moving further back for $295; or $155 or $99 or $81. There are even some at $20 — a long way away from the field.
OK. Let’s go. What’s the traffic like around the ballpark, say, 6 p.m. on a weeknight evening in Queens? Uh, oh. What’s a hot dog and a beer cost? Uh, oh.
Baseball fans, there is a lovely alternative for you during the months of June, July and August. It’s right in Wappingers Falls, in Dutchess County.
The Hudson Valley Renegades (of the New York-Penn League, a single-A, minor-league professional baseball outfit) play fine ball in an accessible spot — the cozy (4,500 capacity) Dutchess Stadium. There the best seats cost $15 and vary on down to general admission of $6. There’s not a bad seat in the house, parking is in the on-site lot for $5 per car. You can get a season ticket for $375, $325, or $250. The stadium is right on Route 9D, one mile north of Route 84.
The team’s 21st season begins at home Friday, June 13 against the Aberdeen IronBirds, who were the winners of the McNamara Division of the league last year, beating out the Renegades, who tied for second, one game above .500. Other teams in the league include the Brooklyn Cyclones, Staten Island Yankees, Auburn Doubledays, and the aptly named Vermont Lake Monsters.
The nights are replete with promotions. There’s a Father’s Day Get-In-Free promo, with a free ticket for a dad with the purchase of a general admission seat. There are lunchbox giveaways, Pirates and Princess nights, mini-golf, and a camp out at the ballpark.
Dutchess Stadium will debut a new Astroturf playing surface this year.
The Renegades, who were New York-Penn League champs in 1999 and 2012, have been the proving grounds early in the careers of major leaguers Ryan Dempster, Evan Longoria, and slugger Josh Hamilton of the Los Angeles Angels, who helped Hudson Valley to its 1999 league title. Scott Posednik, a former Renegade, won a World Series with the Chicago White Sox.
This year the team will be managed by Tim Parenton, with Jorge Moncada as the pitching coach and Manny Castillo as the hitting coach. Player turnover is constant. Teams in the league can’t have more than three roster players with more than four years combined in professional baseball.
Starting Friday, June 13, a 77-game schedule is compressed into less than three months, ending Sept. 1. Often the team will play as much as two to three weeks at a time without an off day.
The Renegades box office can be reached at 838-0094. And tickets can be purchased, schedules viewed, other information gathered at www.hvrenegades.com.