Friday, July 13—Despite the superstitions associated with the date, the Renegades had a stellar evening in what could be dubbed the Joel Caminero Show as the left fielder hit the team’s first home run of the season at Dutchess Stadium and doubled in two more tallies as the Gades blanked the Batavia Muckdogs 4-0 and won the three-game series 2-1. Please click here to read the game story on the Gades’ Web site.
Friday the 13th is traditionally a day of misfortune, and it certainly started out that way for me when a Verizon problem in my neighborhood left me without Internet, cable or land line phone service while I was trying to finish and post a Peekskill school board story on Patch and e-mail editor Liz Giegerich. I called Verizon from my cell phone to report my outage but gave up when I found myself on hold while the remaining charge in the phone dwindled. I stopped at the Van Cortlandtville Historical Society (it helps to be the president and have a key to the building) before heading to the stadium, hoping to post my school board story via flash drive from the old, slow computer there. The computer finally booted up but then I remembered that it could not handle files created in Word 2007, which, of course, is the program in which my home computer creates files. At least I got right through to Verizon when I called from the society’s phone and was informed that there was a problem in my neighborhood that should be repaired overnight. (I suspected/hoped as much when I saw a couple of Verizon trucks en route.) I e-mailed Liz about my trouble, then headed for the stadium, grabbing a much-appreciated cup of coffee at Gulf Express in Philipstown on the way and hoping that the overcast sky was not a sign of impending rain.
Things started improving after I arrived at The Dutch around 6 p.m. I washed down a few pretzels with the coffee, then headed inside and was asked at the Pitch for Kids booth if I would be willing to be a source for a massive scavenger hunt—specifically, the signature of the Prospector on the cover of a yearbook. I enthusiastically agreed and posed for a picture of me signing a book.
I then had a pleasant chat with Bob Hand, who was selling tennis balls on the third-base concourse for the post-fireworks toss for prizes. At one point Zolz gave a shout-out promoting Bob’s sales efforts and, as I pointed at Bob, Zolz added that he was with the Prospector.
Matters really improved as the game progressed. After four hitless innings, Caminero, who hails from the Dominican Republic, led off the fifth by crushing an 0-1 pitch over the left-field fence, a 395-foot wallop that proved to be the winning run. He doubled home two more runs in the sixth and, in the seventh, saved the shutout with a rocket throw that nailed Muckdog Gary Apelian as he was trying to score. The Gades posted their final run in the eighth when second baseman Tommy Coyle led off with a triple and scored on a throwing error.
The victory improved the Gades’ record to 14-11 and brought them within a game of the division-leading Brooklyn Cyclones. “We beat a good team twice,” I said of the Muckdogs, who are now 15-10 in the Pinckney Division.
“Good game, Skipper!” I called to a smiling Jared Sandberg as he left the field after the game.
Fresh on the heels of last night’s net incident, a young boy of about 6 was scampering in and out of the empty Interstate Battery seats late in the game, putting his face close to the net and putting his fingers through it. Buoyed by Zolz’s comment last night I told him twice to stay away from the net so he wouldn’t get hurt. He finally sat down, and after the game I complimented the lad on his improved behavior and explained how the net will not protect you if you are too close to it. Whether he really understood I don’t know, but I tried.
The game was followed by a nice eight-minute fireworks display that included several loud boomers. Afterward, while the tennis-ball toss was in progress, I thanked a police officer who was part of the Orange County Stop DWI program, which had a table and presentation near the front gate tonight.
In the parking lot, while looking for a couple of staffer friends, we met up with pitcher Eduar Quinonez and a female companion who were waiting for their ride. They had not seen the folks we were looking for, but we began a nice chat with the lady, whose English had a hint of a Spanish accent. Eduar, who comes from Venezuela, initially had not said much but, after I had the opportunity to slip a “muy bien (very good)” into the conversation his eyes brightened, followed by a big smile. As I suspected, he was more comfortable speaking Spanish, so I marshaled what I remembered from high school classes and other experiences with the language and we had a nice chat, with cautions that I spoke only “un poco” (a little). I also learned that a Spanish verb for “pitch” is “pichar.”
After their transportation arrived we retired to Bob’s car for the usual refreshments, which for the third consecutive night included large leftover pretzels, plus chips from Hal and Grant. Umpires Jeff Andrews (who handled the plate tonight and remembered me from last year) and Matt Moore joined us for a beer and reassured me that Gary Apelian experienced only a glancing blow to his helmet when he was hit by a pitch in the seventh, even though it sounded like it might have been much worse. Jeff and Matt are on their way tomorrow to Norwich, CT, to umpire some games for the Tigers in what we all agreed is a beautiful stadium.
I joined Hal and Grant for a time outside the clubhouse, where I met Noreen, a likeable woman whose husband has coached Grant in Little League. Grant, her two sons and another friend were collecting autographs and having fun throwing a ball around until it was time for Noreen and her charges to head to the Croton Falls station to pick up someone on the midnight train.
The fox made another appearance in the parking lot, and we got a good, if fleeting, look at it in the light by a pole – pointed ears and a nice rust-colored coat.
We went our separate ways after midnight. The Route 9 repaving in Philipstown continues to make good progress and the delay tonight was only a few minutes. I filled my car’s tank at the Appalachian Shell; I didn’t have enough cash with me to buy gas at the discounted price ($3.479 a gallon) but, at $3.579 a gallon credit it was still the best price I had seen by several cents, which probably explained why there were several vehicles at the pumps around 1 a.m.
Next home game: Saturday, July 14, vs. Mahoning Valley Scrappers, first pitch 7:05 p.m.