Road Trip: Wappingers Falls, Home of the Hudson Valley Renegades

For the past decade I've been trying to make my way down to Wappingers Falls, NY to watch the Hudson Valley Renegades play a game at Duchess Stadium. However, things never seemed to work out and I never made it down. Finally, this weekend I was able to make it down Wappingers Falls to watch a game. 

The drive was extremely easy for me (almost all interstate driving) and only took about an hour and a half. One of the cooler moments of the drive is when I went over the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge.  The view on the bridge was beautiful. You could see the Hudson River cutting through the land for miles. It felt like something out of a "Lord Of The Rings" movie.

(Photo Credit: Mapquest)
I arrived at Duchess Stadium much sooner than expected and met up with autograph blogger/collector Howie Kaplan. Howie had come up from Long Island and like myself had never been to Duchess Stadium before. Since we weren't familiar with area, we figured if we just kept driving we'd eventually find a restaurant.

Duchess Stadium (Photo Credit: Corey Mansfield)
About five miles down the road we came across a restaurant called "21 Burgers" (interesting that when I'm in Somerset, NJ for a game I go to a restaurant called "25 Burgers").  The food was surprisingly good and I enjoyed my "Hawaiian Burger." 

21 Burgers in Wappingers Falls, NY (Photo Credit: Corey Mansfield)

After we ate dinner we headed back to the stadium. Fans were starting to file in and for brief time it was extremely cramped on the first base concourse as I stood waiting for the game to begin. One thing I love to do is sit in a stadium before the game begins and soak in the atmosphere and Duchess Stadium had a great one (I'll write up a more detailed experience about the stadium in the coming weeks)

Soon the game began and like I always do... I moved down to seats that would help me get better pictures.  As Howie and I talked baseball I noticed a young man sit down next to us. For some reason he just didn't seem to fit in the stands but rather on the field. After a couple innings I got up to get a soda and when I returned Howie informed me that they guy sitting next to us was named Michael Mader. Mader was the 3rd round pick (105th overall) by the Marlins in the 2014 MLB Draft. He was playing for Batavia (the Marlins affiliate who Hudson Valley was playing that night) and was video taping the pitchers because it was his off day. We struck up a conversation with him and talked baseball.  I was extremely impressed with his Michael's demeanor.  For a 20-year old kid who was such a high draft pick he was extremely nice, and acted professional. The type of player you want to root for to make it to the major leagues. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see Michael pitch later this season either Tri-City or Vermont.

Eventually the game ended on a walk-off home run by Hunter Lockwood in the 11th inning and I headed back home.

Hunter Lockwood (Photo Credit: Corey Mansfield)
I was able to get to Interstate 84 without my GPS which was being fickle. However, I missed the exit for Interstate 87 because the GPS on my phone still wasn't working. I ended up going 14 miles out of the way but eventually made it to I-87.

There's something cool about driving home after a baseball game with the windows in your car down and the stereo cranked. It's almost therapeutic in a way.

After a couple "potty breaks" and a couple Monster energy drinks later I made it home by 1 o'clock in the morning.

It was a fun trip at all and I'm hoping to it again later this summer.

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