Wednesday, Aug. 29—The Renegades took an early lead against their longtime nemesis the Brooklyn Cyclones but the visitors overwhelmed the Gades with six runs across the seventh and eighth innings and held on to win 7-4. The loss, the Gades’ third in a row, left them still one elusive victory away from clinching a playoff spot and closed the gap between Brooklyn and division-leading Hudson Valley to four games. As several of us said afterward, enough of a wakeup call, now let’s clinch the playoffs and the division.
Hudson Valley was ahead 2-1 after three innings but Brooklyn batted around in the seventh and scored four runs. The Cyclones added insurance tallies in the eighth on a two-run blast by first baseman Jayce Boyd. The Renegades responded with two runs of their own in the home eighth but went out one-two-three in the ninth. Please click here to read the game story on the Gades’ Web site.
The game was the last of the regular season at Dutchess Stadium and attracted a record crowd of 5,525, two more than saw the Cyclones beat the Renegades 7-5 on July 3. The evening did not have the usual end-of-the-season feeling because, unlike the past several years, the Gades finish on the road instead of at home, coupled with the hope that we will be back at The Dutch for as many as four playoff games. Meanwhile, the team is off to Brooklyn, Aberdeen and Tri-City (Troy), where the regular season ends 5 September.
I popped into the ticket office before the game to get my playoff tickets. Out on the concourse I had a nice chat with Fred and the Fleischmans. Tom assured me that he had recovered from watching me dance last night, and I finally reimbursed Rose for a couple of seats I had bought from them. Fred told us that June was not feeling well tonight, but he was able to join me in an Interstate Battery seat for three innings before leaving to spend the evening with his ailing bride-to-be.
Julie Sandberg, who sits with her kids at the end of Row C, two rows behind me, said Jared was still feeling poorly but we were pleased to see him trot out to his usual third-base coaching spot in the first inning. Feel better, skipper and June.
As usual during the final home game, Bob Hand, Jim the Angry Met Fan and I sang Take Me Out to the Ball Game in the middle of the seventh inning but, instead of the traditional trio, we were joined by Big Steve and a group of children. Normally I don’t mind sharing but in this case I was a bit miffed because our tradition was not respected; that being the case, I would have been happy to save the trio for another time and let the others handle it tonight. My mood was not helped by the fact that the Cyclones were scoring four runs while I waited beside the first-base pit, and I was really ticked off at the way the scheduled singer sang her own version of God Bless America, just as earlier she sang her own version of The Star-Spangled Banner, some of the most disrespectful renditions I heard all season. I don’t mean to stifle anybody’s artistic bent but those two songs, especially the national anthem, deserve to be respected and sung properly in such a venue.
As I left the field I offered a few words of encouragement to the Renegades. Charles Epperson, with whom I had a nice chat in the parking lot afterward, acknowledged me with a smile.
The game was followed by a fine eight-minute fireworks display that left quite a pall of smoke over the field in the cool, humid air.
Out in the parking lot, several of us shared conversation, beer and pretzels with umpires Jacob Dallas and Tim Hromada. I thanked Allison Cassidy again for posting the dance video, and a friend of hers told me it was already getting hits. Bob and I asked Marty Gantt to please let his dad know how much we enjoyed Call of the Wildman.
Unlike last night, there were only a couple of skunks noticeable, one of which I followed at a respectful distance through the batting cage area behind the clubhouse until it disappeared into the weeds behind the right-field wall. The other was wandering along a parking lot fence, where I again followed at a respectful distance, and eventually disappeared in the trailer area.
The fox was the wildlife star tonight, scampering about the parking lot. When it sat for a bit I approached slowly and respectfully, still not close enough to get a good photo in the subdued light but closer than I had been before and close enough to get a nice look at its beautiful rust-colored coat, pointed ears and the perhaps quizzical expression on its face as it looked at me. I dumped half a pan of leftover hot dogs by a light pole for the fox and set the pan of remainders by the garbage bin for whatever critters were so included to partake.