Steve Gliner didn’t think much of the tornado warnings that buzzed across his phone as he sat in his office at Dutchess Stadium yesterday afternoon. The Hudson Valley Renegades president look outside and saw nothing but clear skies—a seemingly perfect day for a ballgame a month from now when the New York-Penn League season begins.
That all changed a few minutes later.
Renegades employees took shelter in their offices early yesterday afternoon as a storm battered the ballpark for about 10 minutes, knocking down a portion of the outfield wall, tearing down much of the stadium signage, overturning equipment on the concourse and toppling trees in the parking lot. No determination has been made if a tornado passed by the ballpark, but at the very least Gliner said “it was probably the strongest thunderstorm to ever come through here.”
“We were in our offices. It was just a regular work day,” Gliner said. “Then it got dark pretty fast and the next thing you know we started hearing things bouncing around on the concourse.”
Gliner and his staff planned to take a more through inventory of the damage done to the 24-year-old ballpark today. Yesterday, they were just trying to figure out how to get home. Downed trees blocked both roads in and out of the ballpark. The staff retreated to Leo’s restaurant across the street, which like the ballpark was without power, and dined on leftover pizza. They finally were able to leave for home amid a state of emergency at around 7 after local authorities cleared a lane of traffic.
“It took us about 40 minutes or so to go 2 miles,” Gliner said.