As we link toward the end of the baseball season here in New York, you look for bright spots. At Yankee Stadium, well they are still alive, but on life support and the plug about to be pulled.
And it’s wait ‘til next year in Queens.
However, the Long Island Duck -, who were eliminated on Thursday from playoff contention – seem to be baseball recession proof. A meaningless game against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs brought in an over-capacity crowd of 6,656, which is the fourth largest crowd of the year.
Now, the Ducks are used to large crowds. They have done it for years with 639 sellouts in their 15 year history. Those high numbers have dropped over the past few years with Long Island only averaging around 5,100, not 6,000, but maybe the team can thank the drop off in quality in the Bronx and Queens for that type of dip.
The Ducks still have their draw, which is cheap and affordable family entertainment. They are not competing with the Mets or Yankees for the baseball dollar, but with movie theaters and miniature golf courses for the family buck.
If you ask most in the crowd, they couldn’t name any players on the team, which is comprised of Double-A and Triple-A players, who are looking to hang on.
Rather, they are here for a good time. The Ducks winning in the ninth inning obviously helped and the fireworks kept the crowd around longer.
The baseball boom of the 2000s seems to be over. Some minor league teams, such as the Newark Bears, Atlantic City Surf and Sussex Skylarks have all folded, leaving their ballparks empty, while others like the Camden Riversharks and Bridgeport Bluefish have hung on by threads for years.
They all can’t be success stories like the Brooklyn Cyclones, Somerset Patriots and, of course, the Ducks.
But there’s no denying success and the Ducks have it. Baseball has been called a conversational sport where you can talk to your friends while not missing any action. The Ducks are the prime example of that. The game is almost the backdrop where the fans just want to cheer and really don’t care of the overall outcome. Even though the Ducks were the two time champions, there isn’t an expectation to win.
Rather, it’s gathering of families here to cheer and smile.
It’s a winning formula that has lasted the test of time.
A sellout crowd for a meaningless game – what is better than that?
And even though the season ends tomorrow, the Ducks will be back in 2015. Long Island’s summer pastime is only months from returning.