Mired in one of the coldest and snowiest winters that I'm sure most of us can can remember this year's call of "pitchers and catchers" to report to Florida and Arizona was more welcome than ever.

Now this time of year has always been one of my favorites and to me is the true marker of the promise of Spring finally being around the corner even if that little overgrown hamster does see his shadow (hell, how could the fat little bugger not see it?...he's bigger than a dog!)

But finally someone in this world did stand up, by the way, and arrest his furry little tuckess for "failing to do right." Now he has some time to reflect on what he's done and maybe start an exercise regimen.

Anyway it's pitchers and catchers in the sun and not this darned cold, daily updates of more than just speculation and trade rumors and, for me, a new season of managing my many fantasy baseball teams while obsessively following my beloved Pittsburgh Pirates.

They, though, are not the only team I root for as we here in the valley have our very own Hudson Valley Renegades. Their season opens at home against Aberdeen, last year's division winner, so mark June 13th as the date that another summer of fun at the Dutch gets underway. For now, they are pretty aware of the doldrums of winter too. Check out the Snow Storm Survival Pack they have available of ski lift passes plus a 5 game flex ticket plan for the summer.

If you haven't had a chance to enjoy a night at the park with the Renegades you're missing out on the great time that is Minor League Baseball and you're missing out on unforgettable nights of family fun.

- between inning contests that get fans onto the field for great games.

- specialty group nights from Boy & Girl Scout groups, to Little League or Camp organizations to a night where you can even sleep over at the park. There are picnics and the cool Baseball Buddies program that can get your little ballplayer on the field with the team!

- of course you can't forget plenty of fireworks to go with the fun.

And it's affordable fun. We all know It's not that easy to find something the whole family can do without breaking the bank but the Renegades at the Dutch can offer just that.

Plus you never know when the next Evan Longoria or Josh Hamilton is going to come through the Valley on their way to the Majors.

Thanks for giving us a light at the end of the tunnel baseball and thanks to the Gades for giving the whole family fun summer nights to look forward to at the ballpark right here in our own backyard.