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OpEdNews Op Eds    H5'ed 7/2/22

Take America out to the ballgame

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Baseball, minor league, style.
Baseball, minor league, style.
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By Bob Gaydos

It was '90s Prom Night. All the music was from the '90s. There were teenaged girls in lovely prom dresses. Their dates wore matching tuxes. There was a race against a video opponent. Sing the next line of the song. Show us your best '90s dance moves. Yes, musical chairs! Crown a prom king and queen. A rousing chorus of "God Bless America." A six-year-old boy wearing a DiMaggio #5 jersey. A 66-year-old wearing a Maris #9. Another rousing chorus of "Take Me Out to ". ... Yes. The ball game.

But not just any ballgame. A Hudson Renegades/Brooklyn Cyclones ballgame. Class A minor league baseball at its best. The future Yankees (the Renegades) hosted the future Mets at a splendid ballpark in Dutchess County, not far from the Hudson River and a one-hour commuter train ride from the big ballpark in the Bronx.

What better way to spend a perfect summer night than with America's traditional pastime when much of the rest of the country was participating in America's new pastime "- bickering over how serious it was that a defeated president threw his lunch against the wall because his coup attempt was not going well. A couple of thousand locals thought the same.

The only hint of possible friction at the ballpark came when the public address announcer reported that the Houston Astros had defeated the Mets that afternoon. The hometown Renegades/Yankees fans cheered loudly. All in fun.

Americans, I think, are desperate to have fun again. Real fun, relaxed fun, not frenetic demonstrations of rebellion against a Covid mask mandate or some other hyped display of look-at-me bravado.

A hot-dog-at-a-ballgame kind of fun.

Without trying to sound corny, a night out with friends at Dutchess Stadium really was a perfect antidote for what ailed me --- Trumper tantrums, MAGA mania and a Supreme Court run amok. I had had the unsettling talk with myself earlier that went something like, "I've been promoting a pro-choice, gun control, equal rights, save-the-planet agenda in my writing for decades and yet, here we are. I need a ballgame."

I was right.

The whole country needs a ball game, especially one between young men in their early 20s chasing a dream "- to someday become a Yankee or a Met. I'd venture to say that, to most in the crowd, the outcome of the game didn't matter nearly as much as simply being there.

Even when the Renegades pitcher walked the first Cyclone batter, hit the next one with a pitch and gave up a home run on his first pitch to the third batter, everyone seemed to be pretty relaxed, having a good time, except maybe the Renegades pitcher.

But never fear, there was still a lot of baseball to be played. And hotdogs and burgers and peanuts and popcorn and french fries and even tacos to be eaten. Local sponsors got promoted on the big screen. Birthdays were announced. Bases were stolen and home runs were hit. Three in all.

In the end, the Renegades won, 8 to 5. In honor of the evening's theme, there was dancing on the field after the game to '90s music under flashing colored lights. Dancing on the field!

To top it off, since the Renegades are now an uptown team, they play the Yankees' traditional send-the-fans-home-happy song "- Frank Sinatra singing "New York, New York." We all knew the words.

Start spreading the news. The MAGAs will still be there. I'll make a brand new start of it ... Tomorrow.

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Bob Gaydos is a veteran of 40-plus years in daily newspapers. He began as police reporter with The (Binghamton, N.Y.) Sun-Bulletin, eventually covering government and politics as well as serving as city editor, features editor, sports editor and (more...)
 

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