Weekend Debate: Most Anticipated Games of 2014

Oh, the weather outside is frightful. It’s another freezing cold day here on Long Island, and the snow is set to fall again on Saturday after we got our first taste of winter earlier this week.  Check out the view from inside the Duck Pond on Tuesday:




With all the weather forcing everyone to think about salting driveways, shoveling snow and wiping off their cars, we want to bring some warmer and exciting thoughts into your mind. What better thought to think of than baseball and the upcoming season? The 2014 campaign is just over four months away, and before you know it, the first pitch will be thrown around the Atlantic League. The schedule for the upcoming year has been released for quite some time, and there are a lot of dates and series to be excited about. The question is: which one are you most eager to be in attendance for? For this edition of the Weekend Debate, we take a look at some of the most anticipated games on the calendar for next year:

April 25-27: Opening Weekend

The Ducks will pick up where they left off when the start the 2014 season arrives. That’s right, the team will open up the year with a three-game series at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, New Jersey against the Somerset Patriots. It was at that same ballpark where the Ducks won the 2013 Atlantic League championship in Game Five on September 29 to earn their second straight League crown. The Ducks are sure to hear their fair share of boos during the weekend after they prevented the hometown Pats from winning their league-record sixth title, but the visit will certainly be the league’s marquee match-up as the season gets underway.

May 2: Championship Celebration

One of the most anticipated days on the calendar every year is Opening Night. Just like it was in 2013, the first home game at Bethpage Ballpark this year will hold a little extra meaning. The Ducks will open their home schedule at 7:05 p.m. on Friday, May 2 against the York Revolution, and the night will feature the championship ring and banner raising ceremony to honor the 2013 team. Players and coaches from the championship winning squad will surely be in attendance to receive the rings they earned last season. After losing to York in the 2011 Championship Series, when the Ducks were the favorites to win the Atlantic League title, it may have a little extra meaning to celebrate a second consecutive trophy with them in attendance.

May 19-22: Battle with the Blue Crabs

The Ducks and Blue Crabs have become notorious postseason rivals of late. In four of the last five years, the two have met in the first round of the playoffs, with Long Island winning each of the last three series. The latest chapter of the rivalry featured a dominant 3-0 sweep of the Blue Crabs in the 2013 Liberty Division Championship Series. The two teams will face each other first in Waldorf, Maryland April 29-May 1, but their first visit to the Duck Pond will certainly recall some memories. Bethpage Ballpark was of course the place Long Island won the 2012 LDCS against Southern Maryland and where they rallied from a 5-2 deficit to win Game Two of the 2013 series, 6-5, in 10 innings on a walk-off wild pitch. It will also be the first time the Ducks face the Blue Crabs since Southern Maryland moved to the Freedom Division.

May 30-June 1: Patriots Return

The weekend of Friday, May 30 to Sunday, June 1 will feature the anticipated return of the Somerset Patriots to Bethpage Ballpark. Ducks fans will be sure to remind Patriots fans of last year’s outcome while the Pats will seek revenge after Long Island rallied for two dramatic wins at home in the Championship Series to take a 2-0 lead. The images of Josh Barfield’s game-winning three-run homer in Game One and Lew Ford’s game-tying two-run blast in Game Two are some of the most iconic moments in team history. Somerset’s first visit in 2014 will surely invoke those memories. It’s also Long Island’s first home match-up with the Patriots as Liberty Division foes.

June 30-July 3: Fireworks and Pennant Fever

The Ferry Cup Series is always highly anticipated either at Bethpage Ballpark or The Ballpark at Harbor Yard. When the Bluefish come to town during the final homestand of the first half, the meeting could be even more exciting than normal. The fireworks shows on July 2 and 3 always bring out large crowds to the Duck Pond, but all four games could be monumental in determining which team wins the first half in the Liberty Division. Long Island and Bridgeport are almost always fighting neck-and-neck to secure a playoff spot, and we’ll see if that holds true despite Somerset’s move to the division and Camden’s desire to  return to the postseason.

July 21 and August 4: Camp Days

After Camp Day 2013 proved to be a great success, with thousands of campers from around Long Island attending, the Ducks have scheduled two Camp Days in 2014. The first 11:05 a.m. game will take place on July 21 when the Ducks host the Bluefish, and the second comes on August 4 when the Revolution come to town. Camp Days have become a staple among minor league baseball teams, and the presence of thousands of children cheering on Long Island’s hometown team helps create an energetic atmosphere in Bethpage Ballpark.

September 19-21: The Final Push

Unlike in 2013 when the Ducks ended the season in Somerset, the 2014 campaign will be completed on Long Island’s home field. The Ducks close out the regular season against the Blue Crabs in a weekend three-game set, and you can be sure that Southern Maryland would love to prevent Long Island from clinching a postseason spot should it come down to that. After all, the Ducks have spoiled the Blue Crabs’ hopes for their first-ever championship three consecutive seasons. With three potentially crucial games to close out the year, even if Southern Maryland is now a Freedom Division opponent, Bethpage Ballpark will surely be the place to be that weekend.

So, we’ll leave the decision up to you fans. Which series or game are you most excited for in 2014? There are so many great match-ups and moments that will take place next season that it really is almost impossible to choose. Leave us a comment on this post as to which you are looking forward to and why. You can also place your vote in the Fowl Poll on the bottom of the page as to which Atlantic League opponent you most enjoy watching the Ducks play. Have a fun and safe weekend amidst the snowfall and stay warm!


Posted on December 13, 2013, in Weekend Debate and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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