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Hudson Valley Renegades vs Tri-City ValleyCats

Posted by Sean Rowland on July 18, 2018

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I did this for the first time a long ways back (eight years ago) and forgot how enjoyable it is doing a stadium comparison. Last month, I made a very spur of the moment stadium trip to see the Tri-City ValleyCats, up in Troy, NY. It was a nice visit and the stadium draws some of the largest crowds for an NYPL team. While driving back, I passed the Lower Hudson Valley and thought it would be interesting to compare the two stadiums, separated by 90 miles. For reference, the Hudson Valley Renegades are also in the NYPL and their stadium (Dutchess Stadium) was built in 1994. I visited the park in 2011. Joseph A. Bruno Stadium (The Joe) opened in 2002. Fun Fact: HV and TC were stadium visits #98 and #198. Let’s take a look at it all….Tale of the Tape style!


Location
Neither are great as each ballpark sits relatively alone in an open area. The Joe is on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College, but at least it has a couple quality restaurants near the entrance to the school along Route 4. It also has Troy, five minutes away. Not exactly a vacationer’s paradise, at least the downtown is architecturally intriguing. Can’t say as much for Dutchess.
………Slight win to Tri-City

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Accessibility/Parking

Gravel lots and an odd arrangement of cars at Dutchess Stadium gives the edge to the ValleyCats. Both are easy to get to, but the parking situation and traffic egress is a little better in Troy.
………Slight win to Tri-City

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Exterior
Lots of slight edge wins here for the northern team and the exterior is no different. Dutchess Stadium uses the classic kelly green / brick look that is so overdone in minor-league baseball. The Joe goes a different route, but is less appealing as the drab brown, tan and faded green isn’t a great look. The big difference is the outside landscaping as it is wonderful around Bruno Stadium.
………Slight win to Tri-City

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Concourse
It’s nice that Hudson Valley offers protection from the elements, however the main area is behind the seating structure and it is a little cramped (not to mention bathroom space is limited). The area is decorative at least. While The Joe’s concourse is almost completely exposed, it is wider, open to the field and features some nice, side hangout areas.
………Slight win to Tri-City

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Food
A win for the Renegades, but not to the fault of the ValleyCats. I loved my burger and salt potatoes from Buddy’s and also appreciated some of the local beers. Each stand had a main theme with multiple variations of the highlighted item. Where Hudson Valley got the win was the wide variety of both beer and food available. My favorite: the Edible Arrangement fruit cups (wonder if they still have them?).
………Slight win to Hudson Valley

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Cost
Ugh, they nickle and dime you all over the place at Dutchess Stadium: $5 for parking, $3 for a program, $2 extra on tickets to fireworks night. You don’t see any of those shenanigans in Troy, plus the tickets are cheaper.
………Win to Tri-City

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Interior
I flat out dislike the seating set-up at Bruno Stadium. It’s a spread-out set of sections that go way down the line, putting many away from the infield. The pitch of the seating bowl is very shallow too and it’s easy to have somebody’s head get in your way. Sightlines are a lot better at Dutchess Stadium. Not too say their ballpark is perfect (huge gap openings to concourse and not all seats are chairbacks).
………Win to Hudson Valley

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Scoreboard
These are practically identical.
………Even

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Displays
There is a lot of team recognition throughout Bruno Stadium and that always scores points with me. I loved the little touches here too, like the paws on the walkway and the sign that says “430 Feet – 79 Altuves” (as in Jose Altuve, who played here as part of the Astros organization). In Hudson Valley, they were missing a lot of the team stuff, but they did have a cool section on the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame.
………Win to Tri-City

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Fan Support
These two teams do very well in the NYPL attendance standings and on each night that I attended, there was a good crowd in the house. Playoff attendance over the last five years is staggeringly close as well with both averaging 2100 – 2200 (tops in the league).
………Even

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Atmosphere
Maybe I caught the ValleyCats on a bad night, but I was unusually annoyed at this game. There was more people than normal getting up and down during the game and they made a habit of just standing there in my way, either chatting with a neighbor or randomly contemplate something. They also managed to loudly cheer an out from a rundown despite the fact that it led to giving up two runs. Hudson Valley was more of a typical minor-league experience with only mild care to what was going on on the field. It just wasn’t as bad as Troy.
………Big win to Hudson Valley

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My Gut
These are both stadium experiences that are quite typical across the country. I have a hard time with this one because interior design and atmosphere are big components in what I want in a stadium visit. That advantages goes to Hudson Valley, while most of everything else, I liked better in Troy. I want to call this even, but that probably isn’t fair. I’m going to go with that I probably overvalued the atmosphere in HV and caught Tri-Cities on a night where I was particularly irritable, so the very slight edge goes to Joseph L. Bruno Stadium where I would rather watch a game.
………Slight win to Tri-City

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Final Result
Let’s add them up! One point for a slight win, Two points for a win and Three points for a big win. The head-to-head comparison is listed below, as is my Total Experience Ranking from each game. Atmosphere and Interior count a lot in those rankings as I value them highly, that’s why this is a close one. Tri-Cities wins the numbers game, I’m curious where you would rather go?
        Head to Head Final:                        Joseph L. Bruno Stadium 9-6
        Total Experience Ranking Final:    Joseph L. Bruno Stadium 60.5 – 59.5  

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