Dutchess Stadium – Hudson Valley Renegades
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Let’s Go Dutch
The Hudson Valley is known for many tourist attractions such as Franklin Roosevelt’s National Historic Site in Hyde Park, George Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh, and West Point. Add in the scenery in the rolling hills, wineries scattered about, state parks and you have the makings of a great vacation. What is less known is that there is professional baseball in the area, namely the Hudson Valley Renegades of the New York-Penn League, who play out of Dutchess Stadium in Wappinger Falls, New York.
Affectionately called “The Dutch” by locals, it seats nearly 5,000 fans while playing host to the short-season affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays as well as the Manhattan College baseball team. Although there are only 38 home games per season in the NYPL, the team has no shortage of promotions and activities as we found out on our recent visit.
Food & Beverage 4
For such a small park, the Renegades have a number of concessions that should provide something for everybody. The fixed stands offer typical ballpark food such as hot dogs ($3.75), hamburgers ($5.75), nachos ($5), and chicken tenders ($7.50), as well as a daily special, which was a chili and cheddar burger for $6.50 on the day of our visit to the stadium.
The specialty concessions include Totally Tacos for Mexican (tacos are $4 or 2 for $7 while quesadillas are $7.50), On The Go Pizza (slices range from $3.50-$5), and the Bourbon BBQ and Grill (grilled sandwiches starting at $6.75). Pepsi products are available for those who don’t wish to drink, with fountain sodas running from $3.50-$6.50, water at $3.50, and Gatorade for $5.
Regular beer is $6.50 for a 16-ounce cup, but there are good choices for craft beer for just a dollar more, especially at the Beer Garden just under the stands along the first base line with 18 taps listed on the menu. Along the third base line is a sit-down coffee and wine bar with a couple of taps of its own and a TV too, making it a good place to escape from the sun before the game starts.
Finally, there are plenty of dessert options, with an ice cream truck offering cones and cups and the fixed concessions providing ice cream sandwiches and king-size candy.
Outside, the stadium looks quite typical, with a single main entrance behind home plate and a season-ticket holder entrance along first base. The box office is just to the left here; note the plaques commemorating local Hall of Famers just to the right.
Inside, you will find a two-tiered facility with a walkway between the upper and lower levels that runs from the left field to right. A picnic area is in the left field corner, while the Landshark Grill, which is open to the public, is on the opposite side. There is also a children’s play area in left field.
There are nine rows of green folding seats in the lower level, while the upper level is red plastic seats with arms, which are the best option for shade, particularly in the high rows, as the sun sets behind home plate. Suites are above the area and if you are sitting in the last row of the upper deck, you can feel the cool air from the suites when the doors are open. Down each line are the general admission benches, which are generally out in the sun for most of the game. Concessions and the team store are found along the covered concourse behind the seating structure.
The ballpark is located in a forested area and there are trees behind the fence, although I-84 is visible just beyond the right field fence. The scoreboard, which is quite nice for this level, is just above the fence in left field. One interesting aspect is that the field is AstroTurf GameDay Grass, a rarity in the minor leagues, but the same used by the parent club at Tropicana Field.
During the game, the usual promotions take place in inning breaks while music is played after nearly every pitch. The mascots have been known to be over the top at times, but on the day I attended, they were seen only rarely, likely due to the heat. Overall, Dutchess Stadium is a relaxing environment in which to take in a ballgame.
Wappinger Falls is a small town just north of Beacon, which is home to an internationally recognized museum, Dia Beacon. As it houses only large-scale contemporary art pieces, it can be fun to visit for art lovers and cynics alike. Although there are a couple of small eateries by the stadium, including the Red Pepper Diner, Main Street Beacon is where you will want to head before or after the game, as it boasts dozens of small restaurants and bars. The Yankee Clipper Diner has a bit of a baseball theme. There are also a couple of craft breweries: 2 Way Brewing Company and Hudson Valley Brewing, plus Denning’s Point Distillery for those who like their drinks a bit stronger.
There are also plenty of tourist attractions and wineries within driving distance. You will most likely need a car to visit the Renegades so plan a day trip if you can and see some of the beauty that the Hudson Valley has to offer.
There was a good crowd on hand for the game we attended and they were into the action from the start. They cheer their team and their fellow fans who are participating in the promotions as well. One unique touch is the standing, dancing, and singing of the “Hey-Ho” song after the Renegades plated a run.
The stadium is located just off Route 9-D, just north of the Interstate. You can take a Metro-North train from Grand Central to Beacon and then grab a taxi or Uber the final two miles, but do not consider walking as there are no sidewalks along the route.
Parking is $5, but much cheaper than taking a cab to the game. There is only a single stoplight to allow traffic back onto Route 9-D, so there can be a wait after the game as cars make their way back into traffic.
Inside the stadium, there is plenty of space to move around and there are no long lines at concessions, while restrooms are plenty. There is even a family restroom if you are with a young child.
Return on Investment 3
Box seats are $14, the reserved seats are $11, and general admission is $6. All of these are advance prices; expect to pay $2 more on game day, and another $2 for a fireworks night. With the $5 parking charge and food slightly higher than average for this league, the ROI comes in about average as the experience is quite enjoyable.
The Hall of Famer plaques honor Eddie Collins and Dan Brouthers and should be read by all visiting fans. It is always great when a team commemorates those who may not have played there but grew up in the area and went on to fame in the big leagues.
The Renegades are the defending league champions and the trophy is on display in the team shop.
A final point for the thought and effort put into the promotions. On the day of our visit, it was Pirates and Princesses and not only were the staff attired in costume, but many fans had brought their little ones in the appropriate attire. A parade was held along the walkway during an inning break, and the fans who were in their seats stood and applauded.
Dutchess Stadium is in its 25th season and has aged quite well. Just 60 miles north of New York City, it provides an escape for fans who want to get away from the city and enjoy a bit of scenery and baseball. Although there are only 38 homes games per year between mid-June and early September, it is well worth adding the Hudson Valley Renegades to your list of teams to see.
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