With any new season, there will always be an adjustment period when there are changes to the club’s home ballpark.
And for the first time in several years, Bethpage Ballpark had significant renovations to its edifice.
Of course, most of the changes have not affected the on the field product, unless the players are going up to the luxury boxes. However, the installation of new LED lights came right into play on opening night.
A dropped popup on the infield, by the Long Island Ducks, looked like it was lost in the lights, something the LED could have caused.
But manager Kevin Baez said it would have happened under the old lights or even candlelight.
“It went above the lights,” Baez said. “It would have happened under the old lights too. It’s going to be an adjustment period.”
Light adjustment has happened all over baseball. Balls were dropped at Yankee Stadium a couple of years ago when the Bombers went green. Orioles manager Buck Showalter commented at the time the LED lights are brighter and therefore making it tougher to pick the ball up.
Now that will be good for a team like the Ducks, since minor league parks are notoriously poorly lit. Brighter lights may make it easier for the players.
“We took batting practice (under the lights) last week, but it was our first time playing,” Baez said. “So it’s going to be an adjustment. But I think it got better as the game went along.”
Ultimately, this may help the Ducks in the long term. The team will get used to it. But Bethpage Ballpark seems to be the first green stadium in the Atlantic League, so the opposition – which only come in on occasion – will have to adjust to the lights even more than the home club.
It’s something to chew on as the season gets underway.
The Ducks also installed a new field this season. Although it played well on opening night, the real effect will come when the first rainstorm comes through. Because of a new drainage system, it will take less time to get the field ready after a storm.
It doesn’t mean there will be fewer rain-outs, because economics come into play, but rain delays may have shorter turnaround times.