Ducks Don’t Disappoint!

“New York, New York (So Good They Named It Twice)” – Gerard Kenney, songwriter

I had quite the New York experience the weekend of June 22-23. On June 22, I visited the Hudson Valley Renegades, about an hour north of the big city. Sunday morning, I attended church at the Cathedral of St. John the Devine in Harlem, had breakfast at a landmark location in NY, then saw the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (independent league) host the Lancaster Barnstormers. I gotta say, life in the big city is certainly diverse!

Sunday Morning

I will diverge a bit from my normal blog posts. I’ve always wanted to visit the Cathedral of St. John the Devine (aka St. John the Unfinished) in NYC. In the mid 70s I attended a church choir camp in North Carolina and one of the leaders was Alec Wyton, organist and choirmaster of the Cathedral. As a 10 year old, it left quite the impression. I found out later how big a deal he was in the Episcopal church and liturgical music. Ever since, I’ve wanted to visit St. John. Here are a couple of snaps from the church

After church, I was on the hunt for breakfast. While not my first choice, I stumbled upon the restaurant used as the outside photo for the Seinfeld episodes. I have to admit, the food was, meh, average, but I couldn’t resist the nostalgic visit! I took pictures of my food but I accidentally deleted them before downloading them. Suffice to say, it’s a fun place to visit if you are a Seinfield fan. Otherwise, stand in line at Absolute Bagels. The line was pretty long, and I probably should have stayed in it!
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Ducks go green

After brunch, I made the 53 mile trek out to Central Islip. Even on a Sunday (especially on a summer Sunday?), there was plenty of traffic. When I arrived at the stadium, two great things greeted me. First, parking was free! Second, it was covered. Nice! And not only was it covered, it was covered with solar panels. Yep, the parking at the Suffolk County District Court is green.

 

Bethpage Ballpark

The Ducks call Bethpage Ballpark home for the summer. It opened in 2000, the same year that the Ducks came into the Atlantic League. Capacity is 6,002, and is a really nice place to watch a game. Since its opening, the Ducks have welcomed over 7 million fans, and have hosted over 670 sellouts. I didn’t get a good photo of the front of the stadium, but this is a great overhead shot (photo credit: Jimerb at English Wikipedia):
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And some views from inside:
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The view from my seat.
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New this season at Bethpage Ballpark is their POW/MIA Chair of Honor that will remain perpetually unoccupied in honor of all of our missing in action and all who are or were POWs.
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Down the third base line is Smokin’ Al’s Party Deck. Looks like a great place from which to watch the game!
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While it does have a bar there, you aren’t too far away from these beauties!
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The Ducks have a very well stocked souvenir shop. I couldn’t resist getting a cap. I am now just waiting for the first person to ask me if it’s the NHL Ducks. I’ll proudly answer, “NOT!”
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That Sunday was bark in the park. It was fun seeing all the dogs, but I have to say, some of them looked pretty miserable being out in the sun. For people, it was a picture perfecct day to watch a game, not a cloud in the sky and mid 80s. For dogs, extra water and much needed shade!
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Food stuff

Unlike most of my ballpark visits, I didn’t go crazy on the food. Not the fault of the Ducks, though. Having had a large breakfast in the city, I just wasn’t all that hungry, although I did indulge in a small hot dog late in the day. There are plenty of food and drink options at the park, and I never saw any long lines. I guess since I wasn’t that hungry, I didn’t get pictures of their offerings. Next time!

Late in the day, I did have a craving for popcorn. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any small offerings, and I couldn’t justify buying it in bulk!
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One place I didn’t get shots of is the Duck Club, which is a restaurant and bar on the club level with seating for 126. Here are some pics, courtesy of the Ducks website.

In game entertainment

The Ducks do a good job with their games between innings. Instead of a “launch a ball” game, they did it with something else (my apologies for not hearing what they were tossing!). This kid has a future with a net three in a row for the win!
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In a race around the bases, QuackerJack had the early lead, but in true “bark in the park” fashion, he got distracted and was told to sit. Good duck!
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And I made a new friend!
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Why didn’t they have this game when I was growing up? Two guys eating dog food (aka Cocoa Puffs).

Game action

With the flags flying out, homeruns came fast and often. The Ducks went yard three times, and the Barnstormers had one round tripper, and at the end of the day, the Ducks were in victory formation with a 7-4 win.

Every game, Lancaster’s catcher Anderson De La Rosa starts off by writing ABBA PADRE. Anderson told me that it means God is my father. Very touching!
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Steve Lombardozzi out at second.
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Danield Fields in his homerun trot.
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Kirk Nieuwenhuis has a pretty good one as well.
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Safe at first.
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And safe at third.
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Finding a place to hang your gear.
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Umpires debating if a play was subject to the infield fly rule. It was.
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Out or safe? You make the call!
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Late in the game, Fields had to come out due to an injury.
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Look out, coming at you!
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Other various shots:

Wrap up

The game ended in a run down on the third base line, and the Ducks end up with the win!
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Bethpage Park is a great place to watch a game, and all the fans were very friendly! If my birthdway was during the baseball season, I would so be doing this!
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Final note

Since I have started my little blog, I’ve seen games all over the (mostly) east coast. For the purposes of this blog, counting just minor league and independent league games, the Long Island Ducks represented game number 40, a nice round milestone. Note, I don’t count spring training games in both Florida and Arizona, and, including those, plus MLB stadiums (some blogged about and in a previous life), I am now up to 63. Sixty four if you count my stop at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, which used to have a stadium but now just a field, and is home to the Dunedin Blue Jays this season while Grant Field is being renovated. Here are my list of stadiums visited:
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It has been a great experience, and has included a few press passes, countless burgers and hot dogs, and great interactions with local fans. If you’ve read this far, thank you! Give me alike or a comment. And here’s to the next 40!

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