life in and around NYC is insane

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Duck, crab, hot dogs and fireworks

Tonight found us at Bethpage Ballpark, which, counter-intuitively, is NOT in Bethpage.  The ballpark is in Central Islip, a good 20 minute ride east of Bethpage - if you take the parkway, that is. This little oddity occurred because the Bethpage Federal Credit Union bought the naming rights to the ballpark when Citibank gave up those rights -- I suppose Citibank didn't want any confusion between a 6,000 seat minor league ballpark and its 40,000 seat stadium in Queens.

Bethpage is the home of the Long Island Ducks, an Atlantic League team. The Atlantic League is an independent league, not part of the farm team system of Major League baseball.  There are 8 teams in two divisions.  The Ducks currently hold first place in their division.  The team mascot is Quackerjack.

Now you know I love the Mets. I have fond memories of games at Shea and Citi Field.  But Ducks games are fun in a different way.   You see a lot if families with young kids -- it's less expensive than a major league game, and there's a lot of fun and games, and prize giveaways, between innings.  Usually you will see Brownie or Cub Scout troops, or elementary schools, singing the National Anthem or "God Bless America". It's more intimate, more kitschy, more home spun.  You will see contestants answering trivia questions, or kids racing tricycles, or guys kicking a football.  The best one is when they ask contestants to make themselves dizzy by leaning on a baseball bat and rotating around in circles, then trying to run. And the hot dog race -- three guys dressed in costumes -- is hysterical.

When we got to the ballpark, the Wise Man and Frank (on-air personalities from our local oldies station, B-103) were doing giveaways in the parking lot.  We walked past the Waddle-In shop to the stadium entrance and found our seats right behind third base.  (Last year we sat on the first base line, and I found myself looking at the back of the first base coach all night -- that would be former Met Bud Harrelson, by the way. . . )

We examined all the food choices -- chicken tenders, burgers, pizza, even pulled pork from Smokin' Al's, but wound up with hot dogs and fries.

Tonight the Ducks hosted the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.  Exciting game.  The Crabs scored first, but the Ducks tied it up, and went into the bottom of the 9th with a score of 1-1.  Drew was thinking "extra innings?"  But . . .with two out and men on second and third, the Crabs pitcher threw a wild pitch, a run scored and the Ducks won the game.

Afterwards there was a special treat, a ten-minute fireworks show by the Gruccis, another Long Island institution.  I am a sucker for fireworks.

We're going again in August.

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