(Renegades taking the win, July 7. Photo from website)

I love baseball….I’ve loved it since I was a kid and watched the ’69 Mets create the miracle of their first World Series win.  I actually brought a transistor radio to school with me to listen to the on the way home from school!  I watched every night game on a black and white TV.  Now I’m really aging myself.  I went to my very first Mets game with my brother, Gerry, who taught me how to keep score in the program with that teeny tiny pencil.  He taught me about “balks,” which I still don’t really get (to me, it’s being a little too anal), and about the strategy of running the bases. When the Mets returned to the World Series arena in ’86, I was just beside myself, and very sleepy as I stayed up ‘ til the wee hours of the morning for those games that went into extra innings. 

What this is all leading to is my visit to Dutchess County Stadium for the Renegades baseball game last night.  Now that tickets for major league games are through the roof  (despite not really having any..roof that is), and the commute to these pricey and sparkling new ball parks is just not enjoyable, how cool is it to be able to make a dash across the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge for what is still a great professional baseball game.  Every seat at the stadium gives you a close-up view, and between innings, there are some goofy field events to keep everyone captivated and interested.  Like last night, if the staff wasn’t flinging tee-shirts into the crowd, they were doing the “chicken-dance” and making everyone else get up and do it, or else they were hosting a dance contest, or a relay game of skill and silliness.  And when the Renegades took the field, we knew we were watching players who were major-league wannabes, yet who who played with the same gusto as multi-million-dollar players.  

Yes, while I may not keep score like I did as a kid, I still get caught up in the drama of the duel between pitcher and batter, the chances of catching a foul ball, the wisdom of third base coaches, and the crack of the bat.  Consider a family outing at Dutchess Stadium before the baseball season ends.  Tickets are $15 or under, firework nights are still available, and the giveaways are a lot of fun.  (Last night was Harry Potter Jersey Night — how cool is that!)