FISHKILL – The Hudson Valley Renegades played their first home game since September 2019 on Tuesday night. The homecoming was spoiled by their opponents, the Aberdeen IronBirds, 4-0 but officials are confident that things will improve at the improved Dutchess Stadium, a county-owned park.
“We’re excited to be back,” said Renegades Vice-president Rick Zolzer, who has been the voice of the Renegades. Zolzer has been affiliated with the Renegades since they arrived in Dutchess County 30 seasons ago.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, a Mets fan, expressed his enthusiasm for this year’s Renegades, the newest New York Yankees affiliate. “I am thrilled at the relationship that we now have.” The Renegades are now a part of the High-A East League minor leagues. As a result of the rearrangements made by Major League Baseball (MLB), the Renegades will now play 60 home games this season (counting Tuesday’s opener).
Some of the other requirements by MLB required that the Renegades and the county make several improvements to the stadium to be eligible for the revised league.
Molinaro credited the county’s legislators with supporting an ambitious improvement plan that will cost nearly $1.4 million to achieve. The new LED lights and seats have already been installed, said Molinaro, with plans for new batting cages, pitching tunnels, and clubhouse improvements coming soon. The legislature will consider funding the additional projects when they are presented to them in June. “The investment is earning a significant profit,” said Molinaro through the county’s rent agreement with the team.
The Renegades have made it a safe and friendly environment,” added Molinaro. “We’re going to increase capacity over the summer and people are once again going to make memories in Dutchess County.”