Thursday, June 28—The Renegades drew first blood and plenty more as they defeated the Staten Island Yankees 9-3 in a game sponsored by the New York Blood Center. The sponsor and the blood-themed activities were of particular interest to me as a veteran blood drive captain at my parish, the Church of the Holy Spirit in Cortlandt, where our June 20 drive yielded a total of 54 units of blood products that will help save lives in the Hudson Valley area.
The victory brought the Renegades back into a tie for first in the McNamara Division with the Brooklyn Cyclones, who defeated the Gades 4-1 in Brooklyn Wednesday night.
The Renegades took a 1-0 lead in the first, Staten Island evened the score in the second, the Gades went up 3-1 in the fourth—helped by a magnificently executed sacrifice bunt by Leonardo Reginatto that scored Mike Williams from third—and the Yankees evened the score again in the sixth. It was all Renegades after that as they went ahead for good with four runs in the seventh and added two insurance tallies in the eighth. Please click here to read the game story on the Gades’ Web site.
My right thumb was sore by the end of the night from ringing my cowbell so much as part of the traditional “Hey! Ho!” waving back and forth each time the Renegades score a run.
The game opened on a high note—about 2,500 feet high, Zolz announced—as a former paratrooper named Marcus parachuted from a helicopter to the field to deliver the game ball.
Blood donor themes abounded. Participants in the Blood Center’s Little Doctors Program, which helps teach elementary and middle school students about the importance of giving blood, were honored on the field before the game. The center’s blood drop mascot was a frequent sight throughout the evening, and a young singing group called The Droplets sang Take Me Out to the Blood Drive during the seventh-inning stretch, followed by the traditional Take Me Out to the Ball Game.
Bill Richmond and his larger Nikon joined me briefly at the start of the game but his visit was cut short when ticket holders for the Interstate Battery seats–the first I have seen so far this season–arrived. The four young men proved to be enthusiastic Renegades fans and I enjoyed sharing the game with them; ditto for the young family to my left in the Fleischman seats.
Renegades skipper Jared Sandberg waved and smiled at me as he trotted to the third-base coaching box in the first, shortly before he waved Tommy Coyle home with the Gades’ first run.
The long version of the Chicken Dance blared through the P.A. system in the middle of the third, affording me and anyone else so inclined an opportunity to get up and dance by our seats while mascots and staffers cavorted atop the dugouts. Nobody in the immediate area was available for the arm-in-arm/swing-your-partner portion of the dance, which was probably just as well, given the close quarters, so I just gently swayed during that portion. One of my new friends in the Interstate Battery contingent actually complimented me; too bad my son Dave wasn’t present to hear that!
Afterward, many of us celebrated and cheered in the parking lot as the players came out of the clubhouse. I exchanged a few pleasant words in Spanish with pitcher Jose Molina, last night’s closer, who hails from the Dominican Republic and was shaking hands all around. I also learned, over pretzels, that the real first name of the gentleman I had known for years as the “home plate usher” (from his station in that part of the stadium) was Glen. Good sports as always, we waved to the Yankees bus as it rolled out of the parking lot.
As usual, the gathering eventually dwindled to the “three amigos”—Bob Hand, Paul and myself—and an occasional clubhouse or other stadium staffer. No wildlife had been in evidence by the time I left a bit after midnight and I was still so jubilant from the victory that it didn’t even bother me when I was delayed by the Route 9 repaving. To its credit this crew is making excellent progress compared with some road work I’ve seen and, even with the delay, I was home, extra hot dogs in hand, before 1 a.m.
Next home game: Saturday, June 30, vs. Staten Island Yankees, first pitch 7:05 p.m.