Scout’s Eye: Lots Of Passion For the Game At The Long Island Ducks

Down on the Duck pond in Central Islip Long Island you will find a safe, fan friendly, inexpensive and beautiful place to watch some pretty darn good baseball, with some pretty darn smart baseball fans. As I walked down among the crowd, I could sense the joy as they filed into the ballpark. Some going to their seats, while others were at the concession stand, buying hotdogs and beer. I began to ask people if they had to come far to get here. Over and over they repeated the same thing. Fifteen minutes, ten, twenty, not far or around the corner. Then I began to sit with people and talk baseball while they watched and enjoyed the game. I asked, “What draws you to this place?” Again, over and over he same answers were coming from these fans. Free parking, inexpensive tickets, every seat is close to the field. The baseball is good.

One of the biggest things that stood out to me, like that big red apple in that other ballpark, was the baseball knowledge of these fans. One of the more interesting fans I talked to was a season ticket holder, first name Frank from Patchogue / Medford. His wife Cathy was taking score. Holy smokes, who does that anymore? As the game was being played, I was asking him a bunch of questions. Frank answered them yet never stopped watching the game. In the middle of an answer he would comment on what a player did wrong or if the manager did something not to his liking. Frank is not a fan of this manager. As a matter of fact, he was not fond of any of the Duck’s managers.

He really knew his baseball and is a throwback to what I remember being a fan was like, back when we had three major league teams in New York back in the fifties. When I looked down at my notes, I saw that I had nothing written down. I didn’t have to because Frank and I were on the same page in our love and passion for the game. Nothing wrong with the new fans of today, just different. Much like life, things are always changing in baseball and that’s okay. But as I made my way around the stands sitting and talking to people, I began to get caught-up in what I remembered as a kid when I would go to games with my dad. I came across lots of people like Cathy, who were keeping score! That is something that people who have a passion for baseball will do.

Tonight’s game between the L.I. Ducks and the Somerset Patriots, remained close until the seventh inning and was interrupted by a brief shower that required the tarp to cover the field. Fans retreated to the cover of the concession area and unlike Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, They seemed to all go back to their seats to watch what they came to see, a ballgame. They never stopped rooting for their team despite the Patriots taking a two run lead in the seventh inning. The Ducks were down to their last strike with two outs three times in the bottom of the ninth inning, but these true fans got behind them like a bobsled team pushing for victory. And then it began to happen. First a single by Elmer Reyes and a walk to Marc Krauss had the crowd on it’s feet cheering, Then Alex Burg singled in a run, making it a one run game. Another single by Delta Cleary, Jr. tied the score. Giovanny Alfonzo looked bad on the first two pitches and then received a questionable ball call with two strikes. At this point these seasoned Ducks’ fans could smell victory. And Alfonzo didn’t disappoint them as he drilled the next pitch into center for a walk-off win, sending this loyal and smart fan base home with a well deserved win.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright. The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light. And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout. And tonight there is joy in Mudville, for mighty Casey did not strikeout.

Far from the maddening crowds in the big city, there are happy people out on Long Island tonight.

About the Author

Get connected with us on Social Media