MARLBORO, NY – I’m far from a cheap sonofabitch, so let’s just say I’m frugal and quite happy living without a fancy lifestyle. There is an order of balance to my world; cheap beer is a favorite but I’ve also been known to plop down forty to fifty bucks on a good bourbon. There is no substitute when it comes to my Boston Bruins but there are alternatives when we’re talking about the baseball I pay to see. I enjoy Mets games but they bleed you for everything at MLB parks across the country. I have another choice for you to consider and if you’re wise you’ll take my advice on attending Minor League Baseball games in our area and more specifically, the Hudson Valley Renegades.
Getting there For me, it’s more of a no-brainer in taking the short ten mile ride to what is known as home to fans of the Tampa Bay Rays’ Single-A Short Season affiliate. Dutchess Stadium, affectionately called “The Dutch” for short, lies along Route 9D (take Exit 11 off of I-84) in Wappingers Falls . Wednesday night I left the apartment at 6:09 and was in my seat with a beer in hand at 6:32 waiting for the Renegades home opener. Don’t drive or have access to a car? Then easily take the Metro North train to Beacon and get the connecting bus that takes you to the stadium.
The cost Outside of what it may cost to get you to the stadium, I paid 13 bucks for a reserved third row seat in section 203 behind home plate and when I tell you there isn’t a bad seat in the house I mean it–doesn’t matter if you spend $8 for a grandstand ticket or $14 for a seat behind the dish. You’ll pay two dollars more on fireworks nights.
Concession prices are reasonable compared to the big league parks and for the serving sizes. If you don’t want the healthy-sized hot dog or hamburger, there’s a pulled pork or brisket sandwich served on a pretzel bun to satisfy your hunger. And the beer, oh, the beer. A well stocked beer garden -as soon as you enter along the first base entryway – has twenty craft beers on tap for $7.50 per 16oz. cup. You’ll pay $10 for a crappy Michelob Ultra at CitiField (just sayin’). There’s also something called the Southern Hudson Comfort sandwich – a Belgian waffle baked with scallions, bacon and cheddar. The waffle is topped with chicken tenders, crispy bacon, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and finished off with a honey bourbon BBQ sauce. ‘Nuff said.
The baseball Once we got to the game after the ten different ceremonial “first” pitches, the play was far from crisp with four errors and what you would expect from 19-24 year olds looking to advance or extend major league dreams. There is enough going on peripherally and in between innings to keep millennials with their Attention Deficit Disorder involved in their ballpark outing.
The crowd I sat among a few sixty-something know-nothings. One guy told his wife Bo Jackson was a pitcher as I kept my mouth shut muttering to myself there was no use in arguing with the guy. There was also a Minnesota native who spent his honeymoon in Cooperstown and kept score of this game won by the Staten Island Yankees 3-2. It was far from the crowd I would prefer to sit among so maybe I’ll bring some people next time. Either way, it’s worth the trip and a welcomed alternative to the big league raping you undergo at Yankee Stadium or CitiField.
That’s it. Please comment below and come back tomorrow for a man who sold his soul to interview Roger Clemens yesterday, DJ Eberle. And please follow us on Twitter – @CheesyBruin & @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.