Today is Bugs Bunny’s favorite day.
It’s the opening of Ducks Season.
Now, before you call PETA, we aren’t talking about hunting ducks…well if you are the Somerset Patriots then maybe. However, we are talking about Long Island’s baseball team, which is back for its 17th season.
“Atmosphere was great,” said Ducks manager Kevin Baez. “Considering we came from New Britain the first two games, it’s nice to play in this kind of atmosphere. It gets the juices going.”
The Ducks play in the Atlantic League, which is mainly based in the Northeastern Corridor and many familiar names have graced the field in Central Islip over the years.
This year’s squad is led by former Baez – a former Met – in his sixth season as manager and, of course, 1969 Met Bud Harrelson coaches first for many of the home games.
“You can’t get more popular than Buddy or Quackerjack,” Baez said and that was on display today when the 5,469 who braved the cold received a Harrelson gnome statue. Although it may not be as popular as the Synder-gnome being given out at Citi Field on Saturday, everyone in Bethpage Ballpark seemed to be pleased.
Besides the games – which the Ducks won 6-4 over the Southern Maryland Bluecrabs – there are a few new parts of the park for fans this season.
In the entrance to the upper deck behind home plate the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame set up a permanent exhibit honoring all the Long Island Ducks teams. The baseball one, of course, and also the hockey team that played in Commack until 1973.
And down the left field line the club set up a beer garden for fans, which features many local Long Island beers, including Shock Top, Goose Island and Blue Point.
However the family experience makes a night in Central Islip pretty affordable and fun for families.
Tickets generally run around 10 bucks, so it’s even cheaper than a movie.
Or hunting wabbits.