Highlights of the 2017 Schedule

2017-schedule-blog-story

The day that Ducks fans have been waiting for is finally here! The Atlantic League today released its schedule for the 2017 season, which will also be a milestone year for the circuit. Next year represents the 20th Anniversary Season for the league, which began play back in 1998 with six teams. Only two remain members of the league (Bridgeport Bluefish and Somerset Patriots), but the ALPB has since grown in both the number of teams (now eight) and in distance, reaching as far out as Sugar Land, Texas. Fans will be treated to the same clubs that encompassed the league during a memorable 2016 season and will continue to enjoy a 140-game slate, divided into two 70-game halves, with extremely talented ballplayers among each roster.

Long Island, meanwhile, will also have a lot of similar traits dotting their schedule. They will begin the season and end the season away from Bethpage Ballpark but will be home for some key holiday dates, including Memorial Day Weekend, Independence Day and Labor Day. The Ducks will face each team 20 times like in 2016, though the schedule will not feature an even balance of home and away dates against each team nor an even distribution in first and second half games against each club. Here is a breakdown of Long Island’s slate against their ALPB foes:

ATLANTIC LEAGUE
TEAM
HOME
GAMES
ROAD
GAMES
FIRST
HALF

SECOND
HALF

Bridgeport Bluefish

10

10 10

10

Lancaster Barnstormers

11

9 7

13

New Britain Bees

10

10 10

10

Somerset Patriots

10

10 13

7

Southern Maryland Blue Crabs

9

11 10

10

Sugar Land Skeeters

10

10 10

10

York Revolution

10

10 10

10

Although not a perfect split, the only situations in which there are an uneven number of home and road games are against Lancaster and Southern Maryland, two non-divisional opponents, and the difference is fairly small. There are also only two differences in first and second half games, one against the Barnstormers and one against the Patriots. It’s notable that the Ducks have 13 first half meetings with rival Somerset and just seven in the second half. Of those 13 first half matchups, seven will be on Long Island. Those games could very well determine the First Half Liberty Division champion, so it’s somewhat of a benefit that the Ducks have an extra home game against them.

One disadvantage for the Flock as they look to repeat as first half champions is the large number of road games they have in the first half compared to the second half. Of Long Island’s 70 first half games, only 32 are at home while 38 are on the road. An even closer look shows that the Ducks will play just nine home games in June and 19 on the road. Most notably will be a seven-game series in Sugar Land, equaling the team’s longest series ever in the Lone Star state.  That comes during the final 10 days of the half, with the Ducks returning home to close out the half June 30-July 2. The month will surely be a major test for a Ducks team that went 31-39 on the road in 2016 (compared to 41-29 at home).

Here is a look at five of the most notable dates on the 2017 schedule:

OPENERS

Fans will surely want to mark the dates that the season begins, both overall and at home, for the Ducks. 2017 will mark the seventh consecutive season in which the Ducks begin their campaign on the road. Long Island opens the season against Southern Maryland, who will be kicking off its 10th Anniversary Season, with four games at Regency Furniture Stadium April 20-23. The Ducks and Blue Crabs will face each other to begin the season for just the second time ever. Both sides met to open the 2009 season and split four meetings in Maryland; they would go on to face each other in a highly entertaining Liberty Division Championship Series, which the Blue Crabs took in five games.

The Ducks will return to Bethpage Ballpark on Friday, April 28 for their Home Opener. This year’s opening game on Long Island will be against the league’s newest franchise, the Bees, who entered the league in 2016. New Britain gave the Ducks some trouble during their inaugural season, taking 11 of the 20 games, so the Ducks will be looking to bounce back this year.

REMATCHES

After a tremendous run by the Ducks to their fourth Atlantic League Championship Series appearance in six seasons, players and fans will likely circle the dates of their first meetings with the teams they faced in the 2016 playoffs. For Long Island, they will have an early rematch against the Patriots with three games at TD Bank Ballpark on the opening road trip (April 25-27). Somerset won both of their home games over the Ducks in the 2016 Liberty Division Championship Series, but it was the Ducks who roared back and took three consecutive home games to win the series. The Patriots’ first visit to Long Island will come not too far into the season on the weekend of May 19-21.

As for the Skeeters, they will surely hear the boos of the faithful flock from May 30-June 1 when they fly to Long Island for a three-game set. It will mark their first visit to the Duck Pond since they defeated the Ducks in Game Three of the Atlantic League Championship Series to claim their first-ever league title. Meanwhile, the Ducks will make their first trek down to Texas for the aforementioned seven-game set June 23-29. The only other seven-game series in Texas came in 2014 from September 2-7, but that was due to a rainout that took place on May 26. Long Island will also close their 2017 regular season in Sugar Land September 15-17 after playing their penultimate series of the 2016 campaign in Texas.

FERRY CUP MATCHUPS

The highly anticipated Ferry Cup Series between the Ducks and Bluefish will continue in 2017, marking the ninth year the cross-sound rivals will battle for the Ferry Cup. Long Island won the title last year after taking 12 of 20 meetings with the Bluefish, marking the fifth time in eight years and third time in four years that they earned the Cup. Coincidentally, the first meeting of the year between the two teams since the installment of the Ferry Cup has always been in Bridgeport. That will not change in 2017, as both squads battle for the first time in Bridgeport May 23-25. The Bluefish won’t make their first trip to Bethpage Ballpark until June 9-11. They will also be back on Long Island in a series that could potentially decide the Second Half Liberty Division champion September 8-10, the final three home games of the year for the Ducks. Here are all of the matchups for this year’s Ferry Cup Series:

May 23-25 (Doubleheader on May 24) at Bridgeport
June 2-4 at Bridgeport
June 9-11 at Long Island
July 28-30 at Bridgeport
August 3-6 at Long Island
September 8-10 at Long Island

HOLIDAY AFFAIRS

Fans will be treated to a host of games on holidays or holiday weekends at Bethpage Ballpark in 2017. Independence Day has always been the most highly-anticipated time of the season, and this year, the celebration will be like no other. Those at Bethpage Ballpark will be treated to FOUR consecutive fireworks extravaganzas beginning on Saturday, July 1 and running through Tuesday, July 4. The first two of those dates could be extremely important on the field as well, with them being the final two games of the first half. Last year, 7,063 fans saw the Ducks clinch the First Half Liberty Division title on July 2 against Sugar Land. Then, a franchise record crowd of 7,602 fans attended the Ducks-Skeeters game on July 3, the final day of the first half.

While the Ducks will not have a home game on Memorial Day itself, those looking to enjoy a relaxing Memorial Day weekend can do so at Bethpage Ballpark. Long Island will host the Lancaster Barnstormers May 26-28, with a 6:35 game on Friday night, a day/night doubleheader on Saturday (1:05 and 6:35) and an afternoon matinee at 1:35 on Sunday. Bethpage Ballpark will also be the perfect place to spend your Labor Day weekend in 2017. The Ducks will host the Bees for a four-game weekend wraparound set September 1-4, including a matinee on Labor Day at 1:35 p.m.

CAMP DAY

For the fifth consecutive season, the Ducks will be hosting a special Camp Day in 2017. As was the case in 2016, this year’s date will be on Wednesday, July 26 when Long Island hosts Sugar Land. Unlike any other weekday game, first pitch for this game will be at a special time of 11:05 a.m. to accommodate campers around Long Island. Each season that the Ducks have hosted this event, thousands of kids have packed the ballpark with their respective camp groups to cheer on the Flock and have a fun outing with their fellow campers.

If your child attends summer camp on Long Island, this is an event they will surely want to attend. Camps will be able to begin reserving outings for Camp Day in November on Group Sales Opening Day. Be sure to keep your eye out at LIDucks.com for a date announcement and reach out to your child’s camp to make sure they reserve their outing as early as possible!

Which dates are you looking forward to the most on the 2017 schedule? Let us know in the comments section of this post. In addition, our promotional schedule will be announced in early March, so fans will be able to get a first look at some of the most notable giveaways and theme nights on the calendar for the Ducks’ 18th season of play.

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Posted on October 28, 2016, in Ducks News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I am looking forward to another wonderful season of Duck baseball!!

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