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Cultural historian Jacques Barzun once famously wrote, “Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.” If you want to know the pride and joy of Hudson Valley, you’d better check out the Renegades.
For nearly three decades, the Hudson Valley Renegades minor league baseball team has provided the community with fun, affordable entertainment at the hometown ballfield, Dutchess Stadium, newly renamed Heritage Financial Park.
Since being promoted to a High-A affiliate of the New York Yankees just before the 2021 season, the excitement has mounted. The team entered its 29th year with a 10-year partnership with Heritage Financial Credit Union. The announcement granted the Hudson Valley-based credit union naming rights for the former “Dutch.” The newly christened Heritage Financial Park is also nearing completion of a $25 million construction and renovation project, which greatly enhances the entertainment potential of the venue.
“We are more than a baseball venue,” says Renegades General Manager Tyson Jeffers. “When it’s not baseball season, Heritage Financial Park hosts cupcake festivals and beer festivals, concerts, car shows, craft fairs, and flea markets. Last year we hosted Nitro Circus.”
During baseball season, which kicked off on April 7th this year and runs through September 10th, the focus is all on Renegades baseball. The High-A South Atlantic League affiliate of the New York Yankees draws crowds eager to see the “stars of tomorrow,” like Oswald Peraza, Anthony Volpe, and Jasson Domínguez.
But many fans come for the unpredictable between-innings entertainment and to witness the shenanigans of the team’s mascot Rascal the raccoon. No two games are the same. All 66 are unique in presentation, which keeps it fresh and fun for everyone!
T-shirt Tuesdays are popular because the first 1,000 fans through the gate get a free Renegades t-shirt. Thursdays feature $1 Hot Dogs, Thirsty Thursday drink specials, and college students with ID get in free. Friday night fireworks are presented by Friendly Auto Group and last the whole season, while Saturday night fireworks start in June. Plus, special events like the Veteran of the Game Program recognize local veterans and active-duty service men and women at every home game during the 2023 season.
Later this season, the Renegades will hold “Snooki Night,” which includes an exclusive meet-and-greet with “Jersey Shore” star and Marlboro native Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi. The game includes a Snooki bobblehead for the first 1,000 fans as well as specialty jerseys for team members to wear during the game.
The Renegades rebrand their jerseys with different themes for most games. This season, the team will pay homage to the Cider Donut—because who in the Hudson Valley doesn’t love apple cider donuts? For four games this season, the team will sport special Cider Donuts uniforms, featuring the themed mascot of Dusty the Donut.
The 2023 Hudson Valley Renegades season promises to be a big hit for baseball fans of all ages. “But, you don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy a Renegades game. Probably 90% of our attendees don’t know a lot about baseball,” Jeffers says. “But they end up having so much fun that they leave with a smile on their face.”
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