Tuesday, Aug. 28—The Renegades, so close to clinching a playoff berth and yet so far, dropped their second game in a row to the Staten Island Yankees, falling behind 3-0 before they even got to bat and never quite making up the difference, finally losing 7-5. The Gades were down 6-1 after five innings but closed the gap to 6-5 with a four-run sixth, fueling hopes that they might stage another late-inning come-from behind victory. Instead, the Yankees posted an insurance run in the eighth while Hudson Valley was scoreless for the final three innings. The loss left the Gades five games ahead of Brooklyn in the McNamara Division and still one victory away from clinching a playoff berth. Please click here to read the game story on the Gades’ Web site.
A personal highlight (or lowlight) for me came in the middle of the third inning, when I reluctantly agreed to participate in an on-field dance contest with Bob Hand and Big Steve. Jessie, the staffer who arranges such between-innings activities, asked me early in the game; at first I declined, but finally gave in to the entreaties of her and the folks around me. The contest, sponsored by a local steak house, features three people making whatever movements the spirit and the music inspire for 20 seconds, the winner (of food coupons) being whoever gets the loudest cheers from the crowd.
“We have quite a cast of characters,” Zolz said in announcing the Bugaboo Boogie. I bounced back and forth, did a couple of drops and rolls that somewhat resembled calisthenics and something that Grant later told me reminded him of a dance called The Worm. Toward the end, as I was doing a couple of turns, I noticed that Bob and Steve were both flat on the field, hopefully not from anything serious. I thought I might win because I was the only contestant still standing, but Bob, a stadium fixture even longer than I have been, got the loudest cheers and was declared the winner, although he told me later he secretly hoped I would win.
I returned to Section 107 amid loud cheers from the folks who encouraged me to participate (and I was glad I did). Tom Fleischman, always good for a reality check, said he was “scarred for life.” Allison Cassidy, daughter of Pete, captured the competition on her cell phone and the video has made its way to You Tube. For graphic evidence of why I should stick to singing, scorekeeping and cheering from my seat, please click here. From left, Steve, me (in white jersey) and Bob.
On a more serious note, the Renegades presented a check for $5,000—collected from donations and the special tennis ball toss last week—to the family of the orphaned children whose parents were killed when, police said, a driver who did not stop for officers ran a red light and slammed into their car on the East Arterial in Poughkeepsie early this month.
Tonight was Bobblection Night, in which fans “voted” for president of the United States by choosing a bobblehead of either Democratic incumbent Barack Obama or his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. Five hundred of each were in stock; whoever was completely distributed first was declared the winner. Romney won, 500-493. Come November we will find out if Renegades fans are three for three in predicting the winner; they favored Obama in 2008 and George W. Bush in 2004.
Shane Spencer, an outfielder who played in four World Series with the New York Yankees, was at The Dutch tonight, signing autographs and selling memorabilia.
Tonight was Prostate Cancer Awareness Night, with promotional literature encouraging men to have themselves checked so the disease can be detected early and treated.
The Tucci family, friends from church and owners of the Interstate Battery seats, were at the stadium tonight. Mario told me he was ringing my cowbell in support of me during the dance contest, but to no avail.
The K-man came through for the fans for the third time in a week, with Yankee third baseman Fu-Lin Kuo striking out three times, not just the required two, which meant that we all can play a free round of miniature golf at Fun Central in Wappingers Falls.
Manager Jared Sandberg was still under the weather, as he had been last night on Staten Island, so Hitting Coach Dan DeMent shifted from his usual first-base coaching slot to Jared’s spot at third. Felix Gonzalez handled coaching duties at first. I wished Jared well after the game and urged him to get well soon.
Managers and coaches get ejected by umpires from time to time as they vehemently disagree with calls, but ejection of players is a less frequent occurrence. But it happened tonight, for the first time in recent memory, when Renegades catcher Luke Maile was tossed in the top of the fourth after trying to throw out a runner that the umpire ruled safe at second and vigorously protesting the call.
Young Thomas joined me for the final couple of innings after the Tuccis departed (work and other morning commitments). After the game his mom offered me a delicious cupcake with a peanut-butter-based frosting and wrapped in paper with a baseball motif.
Despite the loss, spirits were high in the parking lot as we spoke of tomorrow’s game against the Cyclones and speculated that some new names on the Yankees’ roster might indicate, as with Lowell a few weeks ago, that the team was now better than its record indicated.
Allison Cassidy showed us her video of the dance contest and agreed to e-mail the link to us after she posted it online. Still laughing, we thanked her for making the memento available.
Bob and I shared our favorable observations about Call of the Wildman after watching two hours of shows about the Turtle Man Sunday night on Animal Planet. We suggested that we should invite him to The Dutch to deal with the skunk population, which seems to be getting bigger and bolder. Several were in evidence tonight, including one that curled up under a groundskeeping vehicle. While there were no incidents, several folks were concerned.
Next home game: Wednesday, Aug. 29 vs. Brooklyn Cyclones, first pitch 6:35 p.m.