life in and around NYC is insane

Friday, June 19, 2015

Take me out to the ballgame

So...Atlantic League baseball.

Professional baseball, but separate and apart from Major League Baseball and its affiliates.  Eight teams, including our own Long Island Ducks. Whereas a trip to Citi Field or Yankee Stadium is a major expense, a night at Bethpage Ballpark (which is NOT in Bethpage, by the way -- the naming rights to the Central Islip ballpark belong to Bethpage Federal Credit Union) costs roughly the same as going to the movies.  Which is one of the reasons you see a lot of families at the ballpark.  (The other, of course, is that the Ducks invite scores of school groups, scout troops, etc. to sing the national anthem or carry the flags onto the field.)

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that Drew and I have been Ducks fans for a few years now, we really enjoy the games.  We've been to regular season games and playoff games, in good weather and in bad.  We usually buy tickets along the first base line, or the third base line, a row or two behind the dugout.  But sometimes we use the tickets we get from Drew's friend Joe -- behind home plate, but so high up that they're under the upper tier of the ballpark, a great place to sit if there's a rain delay.

And that this year, our plan is to see the Ducks play at least one game against each of the other teams in the league.

The odyssey began last night, with the Ducks taking on the Sugarland Skeeters.    The plan was for me to drive to Central Islip right after work, and to meet Drew at the ballpark. So when I left the house yesterday morning, I packed my Ducks t-shirt, Ducks baseball cap and (because the forecast called for showers or light rain) the rain poncho I bought in Disneyworld a few years back.

It was Stony Brook Children's Hospital night, which meant hospital-related giveaways -- a small backpack, sunscreen, pens, awater bottle, measuring cup, first aid kit ...  The hospital is linked to Stony Brook University, so the university mascot, Wolfie, came to the park to hang out with Quackerjack, the Ducks' mascot.

The Ducks have a great marketing tool.  Invite as many children as possible to participate in pre game ceremonies, and their parents will buy tickets to the game.  An elementary school chorus sang, a Cub Scout pack carried the flags, and a boys' baseball team was also invited to be on the field.

The ballpark is very small.  The sponsors are mainly local businesses-- I saw a billboard promoting the company that hauls my garbage ...

I had a hot dog, Drew had a burger, and then it was time for the game.  They play a very aggressive game, lots of running, stolen bases, players getting caught in a rundown.  The Ducks won on a two-run homer.

Lots of silly games and prize giveaways between innings.  And no, it didn't rain, thank goodness.

The worst part of the evening -- all the kids want to buy "quackers", a kazoo-like device that quacks like a duck when you blow into it.  So annoying.

All in all, a good evening.

Some photos from the evening:

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