Blog Archives

20th Anniversary Team Voting – Second Base

Harrison-Navarrete-Valdespin

19 seasons of Long Island Ducks baseball have come and gone. Players from all around the world and of all varieties of baseball experience have worn the Ducks uniform since the first pitch on April 28, 2000. In that time, they have played in front of nearly 8 million fans in Central Islip, and millions more around the rest of the country. Those players and coaches have also earned three Atlantic League Championships, seven Division Championships, 13 half-season Division Championships and over 1,300 victories. As the Ducks 20th Anniversary Season, presented by Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, approaches, it is time to determine which members of the Flock have stood above the rest.

Two weeks have come and gone, and fans have had their say on who should represent the catcher and first baseman positions on the 20th Anniversary Team. With hundreds of ballots being cast each week, those voting have shown that it hasn’t been easy determining a clear cut winner at each position. Now, we move on to the first of our two middle infielder positions with the second basemen. This week’s candidates feature a trio of different experiences with the Flock. One spent eight seasons with the club, another donned a Ducks uniform for three years and the third has only played one year on Long Island. However, all three certainly have made strong cases for their spot among this exclusive group. Here are the nominees:


Adonis Harrison
Adonis-Harrison-20th-Voting

The first three seasons of Ducks baseball saw Adonis Harrison man second base primarily. In those three seasons, the California native made a big impact in helping the franchise get off to a strong start. The 2000 season saw him play 87 games with Long Island and register 97 hits, totaling a .307 batting average and a .379 on-base percentage by season’s end. After helping the Ducks to an 82-58 record that still stands as the best regular season in team history, he followed that up by increasing his playing time in 2001 to 110 games. Harrison posted a 100-hit season and played a superb second base as well. Following his final year with the Ducks in 2002, the former Seattle Mariners draft pick had totaled 271 games with the Flock, a .286 batting average, 102 RBIs, 156 runs scored, 36 doubles and 55 stolen bases. Harrison would play four more seasons of professional baseball before retiring, including time in the Angels and Rockies organizations.


Ray Navarrete
Ray-Navarrete-20th-Voting

Our second nominee’s resume certainly speaks for itself. Ray Navarrete, who played multiple positions throughout his Ducks career but spent the most time at second base, enjoyed an eight-year stint on Long Island. In that time, he earned five Atlantic League All-Star Game selections and a host of other accolades. He became the first player in franchise history to be named Atlantic League Player of the Year in 2009. He set the league record for doubles in a single season with 50 in 2012. Navarrete slugged 25 or more home runs, totaled 90 or more RBIs, and scored 100 or more runs in three seasons apiece. By the end of his time with the Ducks, he had set franchise records in hits (963), home runs (137), RBIs (548), runs scored (599), doubles (245) and games played (863), though that last one has since been surpassed by Dan Lyons. Navarrete’s career ended with him being carried on the shoulders of his teammates after winning the second of back-to-back Atlantic League championships, after he went the six previous seasons without a title despite reaching the playoffs in five of them. He then was bestowed with the greatest honor any player can receive from a team, as he had his #16 jersey retired in a pre-game ceremony, fittingly on the 16th of August in 2015.


Jordany Valdespin
Jordany-Valdespin-20th-Voting

Our final candidate has just one season of experience with the Ducks, but the amount of honores accrued in that single campaign certainly make him worthy for this spot. Jordany Valdespin joined the Ducks in 2018 following a four-year MLB career, two of which were spent nearby in Flushing with the Mets. He came out of the gates swinging a hot bat, launching the team’s first home run of the year and earning Atlantic League Player of the Month honors for April/May after leading the league in hits (45), runs (29), total bases (73), extra-base hits (17), and at bats (131). Valdespin represented the Ducks at the Atlantic League All-Star Game, played on Long Island, and proved to be a consistent offensive force throughout the 126-game regular season. The Dominican Republic native ended the year with league-best totals in hits (154), runs scored (94), and triples (7) while ranking second in batting average (.3377), just .0007 behind the league leader. After helping lead the Ducks to a third consecutive Liberty Division Championship, Valdespin became the third player in team history to be named the Atlantic League Player of the Year. He also was chosen as the first Ducks player ever to win Baseball America’s Independent Leagues Player of the Year award.


Three candidates with three outstanding cases, but only one can garner the second base spot on the 20th Anniversary Team. Cast your vote from now through Thursday, December 27th by clicking the button allow. Fans can vote as many time as they would like, but you can only choose one candidate. The winner, along with the remainder of the 20th Anniversary Team, will be unveiled at the beginning of the 2019 season!

20th-Anniversary-Team-Voting-Button-Second-Base

Be sure to check back again next week, as we’ll reveal our three nominees for the shortstop position.

Advertisements

20th Anniversary Team Voting – First Base

Jennings-Rose Jr-Sing

19 seasons of Long Island Ducks baseball have come and gone. Players from all around the world and of all varieties of baseball experience have worn the Ducks uniform since the first pitch on April 28, 2000. In that time, they have played in front of nearly 8 million fans in Central Islip, and millions more around the rest of the country. Those players and coaches have also earned three Atlantic League Championships, seven Division Championships, 13 half-season Division Championships and over 1,300 victories. As the Ducks 20th Anniversary Season, presented by Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, approaches, it is time to determine which members of the Flock have stood above the rest.

We had a great deal of voter input during our first week of balloting, with hundreds of fans casting their ballot for our three catcher nominees: Francisco Morales, Jamie Pogue and J.R. House. This week, we make our way 90 feet towards the right side of the infield to unveil our three options for the first base spot on the 20th Anniversary Team. The Ducks have had their fair share of power bats and stout defenders man the ‘3’ position on the baseball diamond. While there are many deserving candidates for this spot, we at “Quack of the Bat” have chosen three that stood out from the rest:


Doug Jennings
Doug-Jennings-20th-Voting

Five-year Major League veteran Doug Jennings is our first nominee for the coveted first base position. The Atlanta native joined the Ducks during their inaugural season of 2000 and made an immediate impact. In 84 games, he tied for the team lead with a .330 batting average while adding 14 home runs, 64 RBIs, 65 runs and 22 doubles. Thanks to his incredible debut, Jennings would go on to play more seasons at first base than any other player in franchise history. In his six years with the Flock from 2000-05, he posted a batting average of .320, ranking second in franchise history behind only Lew Ford (.322). Additionally, he totaled 62 home runs, 296 RBIs, 305 runs, 445 hits, and 107 doubles in 405 games. Jennings was also a constant on the basepaths, posting an on-base percentage over .410 in each of his first five seasons with the Flock, including a .505 OBP in 2004 that still stands as the Atlantic League’s single-season record. Jennings also had a fielding percentage of .990 or greater at first base each season on Long Island. The former second round draft pick was instrumental in helping the Ducks to their first-ever Atlantic League Championship in 2004 and earned a pair of All-Star Game selections (2000, 2004). He also had his contract purchased twice by MLB organizations while playing for the Ducks (Royals in 2000 and Brewers in 2003).


P.J. Rose
Rose-Jr-20th-Voting

Our second nominee spent three strong years with Long Island. P.J. Rose, the son of all-time MLB great Pete Rose, joined the Flock in 2005 after playing with six different MLB organizations. Following a year in Bridgeport during the 2006 campaign, he returned to the Ducks for two more seasons in 2007 and 2008. During his three years in the orange and black, Rose Jr. was a model of consistency. He played over 115 games in each season, totaling 364 overall, and posted home run totals of 14, 14 and 15 during that time. After collecting 55 RBIs in 2005, he posted back-to-back 95 RBI seasons in 2007 and 2008. The Cincinnati native finished his Ducks career with 415 hits, 190 runs and 80 doubles. While with Long Island, Rose Jr. helped the Ducks reach the playoffs in all three seasons.


Brandon Sing
Brandon-Sing-20th-Voting

2012 Atlantic League champion Brandon Sing rounds out our nominees for the first base spot on the 20th Anniversary Team. Though he only spent one season with the Flock, the final one of his professional baseball career, he hung up the cleats following a tremendous offensive season and with a ring to boot. The slugger got off to a bit of a slow start, hitting just .220 by June 6th. However, as the weather warmed up, so did his bat. Sing hit .307 in the month of July and followed that up with a .344 batting average in August, second on the team only to Timo Perez (.411). He also led Long Island with 10 homers, 21 RBIs and 32 hits in 24 games during August. By season’s end, Sing had compiled a .284 batting average and 26 home runs, a single-season homer total that no Duck has reached since 2012. Sing’s bat continued to sizzle in the postseason, as he launched three homers during their Liberty Division Championship Series win over Southern Maryland. In total, the Joilet, Ill. native led the Flock with three homers and eight RBIs in the postseason, batting .333 as well to lead the Ducks to their first championship since 2004. For his efforts, Sing was named a Second Team Post-Season All-Star by the Atlantic League.


Alright fans, it’s up to you! Cast your ballot now by clicking the button below to help decide who the 20th Anniversary Team first baseman will be. Fans are able to vote as often as they would like from now through next Thursday, December 20th. The winner, along with the remainder of the 20th Anniversary Team, will be unveiled at the beginning of the 2019 season!

20th-Anniversary-Team-Voting-Button-First-Base

Be sure to check back again next week, as we’ll reveal our three nominees for the second base position.

20th Anniversary Team Voting – Catcher

Morales-Pogue-House

19 seasons of Long Island Ducks baseball have come and gone. Players from all around the world and of all varieties of baseball experience have worn the Ducks uniform since the first pitch on April 28, 2000. In that time, they have played in front of nearly 8 million fans in Central Islip, and millions more around the rest of the country. Those players and coaches have also earned three Atlantic League Championships, seven Division Championships, 13 half-season Division Championships and over 1,300 victories. As the Ducks 20th Anniversary Season, presented by Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, approaches, it is time to determine which members of the Flock have stood above the rest.

Today begins the voting of our 20th Anniversary Team, featuring the best players in team history at each position as decided by you, the best fans in baseball. Of the hundreds of players to have donned the orange and black, there have been many who have stood out from the rest of the Flock. Whether they became fan favorites for how they played the game, how successful they were on the diamond or how much they interacted with those in the crowd, this elite group of Ducks have forever etched their name into the franchise’s history books.

We begin our fan voting for the 20th Anniversary Team behind home plate. Throughout their history, the Ducks have had a wide range of players fill the catcher position. Some of had extensive Major League experience while others have needed to fill in fresh out of college. Through 19 seasons of play, there have been a bunch of standout backstops that have certainly made their case for a spot on the 20th Anniversary Team. Here are the three nominees for the coveted catcher position:


Francisco Morales
Francisco-Morales-20th-Voting

The first catcher to put on a Long Island Ducks uniform turned out to be one of the best backstops in franchise history. Morales joined the Flock for the inaugural 2000 season after spending time in the Cubs, Cardinals and Expos organizations. He ended up spending three seasons (2000-02) in Central Islip, totaling at least 20 home runs, 85 RBIs and 20 doubles each year. The Dominican Republic native amassed 63 homers, 261 RBIs, 213 runs, 408 hits and 79 doubles in his 367 games with Long Island. Though he was unable to play postseason baseball with the Ducks, he earned a pair of All-Star selections, including the chance to represent the Ducks during the 2002 All-Star Game played on Long Island. Defensively, Morales compiled a .986 fielding percentage with the Ducks and threw out almost 30% of runners attempting to steal. Previously, he was chosen as catcher on the Ducks 10th and 15th Anniversary Teams in 2009 and 2014, respectively. After his time with the Ducks, Morales went on to serve as the bullpen catcher for the Cleveland Indians.


Jamie Pogue
Jamie-Pogue-20th-Voting

Our second catcher nominee for the 20th Anniversary Team also spent three seasons with the Ducks. Pogue first joined Long Island in 2003 and played 71 games that season, hitting .255 while scoring 38 runs. The native Canadian returned to the Flock in 2007 after spending one season apiece in the Atlantic League with Nashua and Bridgeport. He went on to play two more seasons with the Ducks in 2007 and 2008, increasing his totals in nearly every offensive category each year. Pogue ended his Ducks career with a .257 batting average, 17 homers, 85 RBIs, 130 runs and 210 hits in 245 regular season games. Defensively, Pogue was one of the best backstops in team history, committing just 13 errors in three seasons and totaling a .991 fielding percentage. He helped lead the Flock to a pair of postseason appearances in his final two years and earned a pair of All-Star Game selections (2003, ‘08). Pogue eventually took on the role of bullpen catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, a position he still holds today.


J.R. House
J.R.-House-20th-Voting

Last, but certainly not least, is our third nominee for the 20th Anniversary Team catcher: J.R. House. House only spent one season in a Ducks uniform, but his 2011 campaign was unquestionably one of the best by a backstop in franchise history. After some initial struggles, which he attributed recently to being away from his family and some mechanical issues, the five-year MLB veteran took off. House went on to play 113 games for the Ducks and batted .305 with 19 home runs, 81 RBIs, 73 runs, 128 hits and 22 doubles. His .365 on-base percentage was due in large part to striking out just 37 times during the season while drawing 40 walks. Behind the plate, and a bit at first base, House did not make a single error all year. He also guided a pitching staff that led the league in wins (78) and saves (41) while ranking second in ERA (4.17) and strikeouts (863). The Charleston, W.Va. native deservedly earned an All-Star Game selection and helped the Ducks to their first Atlantic League Championship Series appearance since 2004. House has since put together a successful coaching career, leading to his recent appointment as the Cincinnati Reds Third Base/Catching Coach.


The time has come to cast your ballot for the 20th Anniversary Team catcher. Click the link below to be taken to the voting page and select which of our three nominees is most deserving. Fans can vote as many times as they would like over the next week. The winner, along with the remainder of the 20th Anniversary Team, will be unveiled at the beginning of the 2019 season!

20th-Anniversary-Team-Voting-Button

Be sure to check back again next week, as we’ll unveil our three nominees for the first base position.

Wally Backman’s First Comments as Ducks Manager

Wally-Backman-Manager-Blog

The Long Island Ducks certainly made headlines this week throughout the Atlantic League, professional baseball and sports communities. Their first bit of news came on Tuesday when the Rockland Boulders announced the hiring of Kevin Baez as their manager for the 2019 season. The hire brings an end to an eight-year run as skipper of the Ducks for Baez, one that was highlighted by six Atlantic League Championship Series appearances, back-to-back league championships in 2012 and 2013 and the most wins by any manager in franchise history (600 total, including 571 in the regular season).

That announcement was followed up on Wednesday with the introduction of the sixth manager in Ducks history: Wally Backman. The 59-year-old will guide the Flock after spending one season managing in the Atlantic League with the New Britain Bees. Backman’s Bees were 33-30 in the first half of the season a year ago, finishing just two games behind Somerset in the Liberty Division. His club ended the season at 61-65 overall after he saw six players have their contracts purchased during the season, including five by Major League organizations, four of whom reported to Triple-A clubs.

Overall, Backman brings 20 seasons of managerial experience to the Ducks, including 11 with MLB organizations. He has amassed over 1,100 regular season victories and a .511 winning percentage as a manager, and he has won three league championships as well. Prior to his coaching career, the Oregon native enjoyed a 14-year career in the Major Leagues. Nine of those were spent with the New York Mets, where he helped the team win the 1986 World Series and drew the admiration of many local baseball fans in this area.

Members of the media had the chance to speak with Backman on Wednesday following the announcement of his hire. Here is a transcript from the conference call:


What made you want to join the Long Island Ducks?

“I think what made me want to join the franchise is the people that I have to work with. I think they’re good baseball people. They care about the same things I care about, and that’s winning and trying to put a good product on the field every day.”

How excited are you about coming here, and how quickly did all of this happen?

“It happened pretty quickly. I’m excited about it! I’m back in my old stomping grounds, and I always showed my interest in being in the New York area. With this opportunity becoming available, I thought it was a great opportunity to go back to where I really wanted to be, and that was in New York.”

What did you learn about the Atlantic League last year from being in New Britain?

“Well, I think one of the positives was just how good the baseball was. It was very good caliber baseball. I think I had 14 or 15 guys that had played in the big leagues. I liked the level of play and the way the league was run. I had done independent baseball before I ever went and did affiliated ball, and to come into the Atlantic League last year and see the way it was run and the people that were involved in the Atlantic League, I was excited about it.”

Why did you want to be back in New York?

“The knowledge of baseball from the people of New York. The playing days that I had in New York and the respect that I had for the people because the knowledge of the game was so much different in New York than it was in any of the other cities that I played in or even managed in. They keep you on your toes. They expect good things to happen, and they’re knowledgeable people about the game. That part of it excited me and just coming back to be around the New York media. I’ve always had a good rapport with those people. I know a lot of them are a lot older, like I am…but I’ve always enjoyed the media and had a good relationship with the media. I look forward to the upcoming season.”

Is getting to the big leagues still a goal for you, and how many obstacles have you faced to get there?

“I’ve faced some obstacles, there’s no question, but it’s definitely my goal still. I’ll say this, and I’ll say it to anybody else, that my focus this year is 100% on the Ducks. Yeah, I would like to get back to the big leagues at some point in time, but again, I just signed a contract with the Long Island Ducks, and they’re going to get 100% of Wally Backman.”

How much of a challenge do you think it will be to get to the big leagues?

“You know what, I’m not even really thinking about that at this point. I’m excited about where I’m going. Everything’s a challenge, but I’ve never been a quitter and I’m not going to quit at anything I do.  I would like to reiterate though that my focus is the Long Island Ducks and trying to win a championship there now.”

How much of a factor was it coming to a team that has the foundation and culture of success?

“Well, it’s huge. Knowing that you’re coming to an organization that really wants to win, is about winning and will do just about everything to try to help you accomplish that, I hope that I’m one of the ingredients that puts us over the top and helps us win a championship.”

What’s the biggest difference between managing at Triple-A and in the Atlantic League?

“Probably the biggest difference would be development. You’re trying to develop players in affiliated baseball. You’re still trying to develop, somewhat, in the Atlantic League, but it’s really more based on winning and trying to get guys back to where they can get an opportunity to go back to affiliated baseball or even to the big leagues.”

How nice will it be to reconnect with Bud Harrelson?

“Well, it would be huge. We did reconnect last year when I would come to town when I was with New Britain. Buddy and I have a long history together. I wish Buddy the best, and I hope he’s out there every day with us.”

How does it make you feel that your reception from New York fans always seems to be universally positive now more than three decades removed from that special 1986 championship team?

“Well it’s too long ago, that’s for sure. I’m getting too old now. Like I said, I enjoyed my time in New York. I always did, and I always wanted to come back to New York. To get this opportunity, I’m very grateful for it and hopefully good things come out of it.”

In the analytics-driven world that baseball has become, how much can analytics play a part in managing at this level?

“I’ve been using analytics since they’ve been available. I use the things that I believe help me, things like ground ball percentages, fly ball percentages and the way guys pitch in certain situations. All the information that I’m able to get, I try to go through all of that and use it to the best of my ability to help the team win.”

Do your instincts play a part in making managerial decisions as well? Do you balance the two?

“I think you’ve got to use both. You’ve got to use your eyes and use the things that are on paper too. These are human beings that are playing against you, and the analytics make a big part of that. It helps you tremendously on your defense, and it also helps your players. If you can give them certain parts of that to where they can analyze it themselves, it also helps make them a better player.”

How would you describe yourself in terms of managerial style?

“I’m an aggressive manager but under control. I use the information that’s given to me. I like to be aggressive on the bases. I like to see our guys go first to third. Those are things that I really demand of the players, just not to go through the motions. But I’m a player’s manager as well. I played for some of the best managers in the game, starting with Joe Torre as my first manager in New York to Jim Leyland, Davey Johnson and Lou Piniella. I could go on with other guys that I played for in the big leagues, but you try to take a piece from each one of them. The way that Jim Leyland communicated with his players, I thought, was one of the best that I had ever seen. Davey was a smart manager, and we had a great team in ’86. You try to take pieces from a little bit of all those guys and try to use it as an asset for yourself and go from there. I’m still Wally Backman, but I’ve taken a piece of a lot of those guys and tried to use it to the best of my ability in the way that I manage a game.”

Is it in some ways more fun at the minor league level now because it seems to be more of an old-style, fundamental type of baseball?

“I think it’s a big part in winning. Fundamentally, you have to be able to bunt and move runners over. Everybody loves the home runs, but you can win baseball games a lot of other ways than just the home runs. The strikeouts are a concern with me. A lot of people say, ‘an out is an out,’ but a strikeout, to me, can never be a productive out.”

How much time have you spent on Long Island previously, especially here in Suffolk County?

“Well, I lived in Dix Hills. I built a house in Dix Hills in the 80’s when I was playing in New York, so I’m pretty familiar with the Island.”

What have you learned in 20 years as a manager? How are you different from when you were managing with the White Sox organization to now?

“You know, I’m not a whole lot different. I respect the game, and I expect the players to respect the game. The thing that I probably have changed in those 20 years is the analytics. I’ve tried to use the analytics as far back as I can remember, whatever it might have been. Everything’s available to you today, and I think if you go through certain parts of the analytics, it can really help you win games.”

Is the rotation of players the most difficult part of independent baseball, with guys often going back to affiliated ball?

“Well, I think that’s a part of the Atlantic League. I think that’s why the Atlantic League is, without a doubt, the number one independent league there is in baseball. I don’t know exactly how well we’re affiliated with Major League Baseball. I know we follow all the guidelines and all the rules, but I think it’s important to show those players that we care about the players and are trying to get them back to affiliated ball. Whether it’s the minor leagues or overseas or back to the Major Leagues, we’re there for them. They can show what they can do on the field, and we get scouted very heavily.  There are opportunities for those players, and we’re just a piece of it. We’re giving those players an opportunity to show what they can do on the field and possibly give them another opportunity to get back to the big leagues or just get to the big leagues.”

What did your year managing in Brooklyn teach you about managing in New York that you can bring to Long Island?

“I don’t know that it really taught me anything. I know I played the game a long time, but I think the first and utmost important thing that you do with a player is you earn the player’s respect. Once you can earn the player’s respect and the trust of the player, then it’s like a good marriage. Things go better, and you can get more out of a player. For me, I think respecting the players is one of the most important things for a manager because once you earn a player’s respect, you’re going to get everything they’ve got.”

2019 Schedule Features Many Mouthwatering Matchups

20th-Anniversary-Field-Behind

It’s been a busy past couple of weeks at Bethpage Ballpark! With the Atlantic League awards season now wrapped up, the focus has shifted primarily towards the 2019 season. In recent days, the league’s schedule has been announced for next season, featuring the addition of the High Point Rockers to the eight-team circuit. The North Carolina-based club, which will replace the Road Warriors in the Liberty Division. The league-operated Road Warriors bridged the one-year gap between the end of the Bridgeport Bluefish lease and the completion of construction of the new High Point ballpark, which is slated to open on May 2, 2019. With a schedule now in place, the Ducks also debuted the team’s official logo for the 20th Anniversary Season (pictured above), which will be celebrated in 2019. The logo will be featured on promotional items, merchandise and marketing platforms leading up to and throughout next year.

With the addition of the Rockers to the league, the schedule returns to a 140-game regular season after being trimmed to 126 in 2018. The Ducks will play 70 home games at Bethpage Ballpark along with 70 road games, and the first and second half will be separated by the Atlantic League All-Star Game, which will be played at PeoplesBank Park in York, Pa. on July 10th. The schedule is not completely balanced though, as the Ducks do not play each team 20 times nor have an even home/road or first/second half split with each opponent. This chart helps break down their matchups against league opponents:

OPPONENT

OVERALL GAMES

HOME GAMES

ROAD GAMES

FIRST HALF

SECOND HALF

High Point Rockers

19

9 10 10

9

Lancaster Barnstormers

21

10 11 11

10

New Britain Bees

21

11 10 11

10

Somerset Patriots

19

10

9

9

10

So. Maryland Blue Crabs

21

10

11

10

11

Sugar Land Skeeters

19

10

9

10

9

York Revolution

20

10

10

9

11

Let’s take a look at some of the most notable games/series on the schedule for the 2019 season:

OPENERS

Two games that are always circled on the calendar of every baseball fan are Opening Day and the Home Opener for their favorite team. Sometimes, they end up being on the same date. However, for the Ducks, it has almost always proven to be on separate dates. 2019 will mark the ninth consecutive season in which Long Island begins the season on the road, as they will open against the York Revolution in Pennsylvania. The Ducks and Revs will play a three-game series to kick off the season, with the opener taking place on Friday, April 26th at PeoplesBank Park. The Ducks last opened the season in York on April 24, 2015, coming away with a 5-2 victory. Meanwhile, the Ducks will return home following a week-long trip in Pa. for the Home Opener, which will take place on Friday, May 3rd. Coincidentally, that game will also be against the Revolution, who will be in town for a three-game weekend series. The last time the Ducks played their Home Opener against York was in 2014, when the Flock fell 6-1 on May 2nd.

CHAMPIONSHIP REMATCH

After a thrilling Atlantic League Championship Series in 2018 that saw the Ducks and Skeeters need a decisive Game Five to determine a league champion, Ducks fans will surely be wondering when the two sides will collide again. Long Island will face Sugar Land, looking to exact a measure of revenge after this past season’s tough series loss, in Texas from May 10th-12th. Constellation Field was the site of that memorable Game One between the sides that took 13 innings and a total of four hours, 57 minutes. The Ducks will host the Skeeters for the first time in 2019 on Memorial Day Weekend, May 24th-26th, which will mark Sugar Land’s first visit since celebrating the 2018 championship at Bethpage Ballpark.

CAROLINA CLASH

As we detailed earlier, the High Point Rockers will be making their debut in the Atlantic League this season. There is always excitement around a new club when it enters the league, and this should be no different. The team will be playing their home games in a brand new, state-of-the-art ballpark and for a fan base that has shown tremendous support in anticipation of the team’s arrival. The Ducks are slated to get their first look at the Rockers and BB&T Point Ballpark when they make the trek to High Point, N.C. for a three-game set May 21st-23rd. Meanwhile, the Rockers will make their first visit to Long Island for a three-game weekend series June 7th-9th.

DIVISIONAL BATTLE

2018 saw the Ducks and Patriots both clinch postseason berths and meet in the Liberty Division Championship Series for a fourth consecutive year. In what has become an annual installment between the two teams, fans around the Atlantic League often expect the two sides to be in close division races down to the wire during each half. Last year, the two teams played all of their meetings in each half early, with clubs wrapping up their nine first half games against one another by May 27th and their second half meetings by August 8th. That prevented the teams from playing some tense, dramatic games late in the halves. This year will be a different story. Long Island and Somerset will meet nine times in the first half, all during the month of June. During the 20-day span between June 11th and 30th, Long Island will host Somerset for three games and visit the Patriots twice, including a three-game set at TD Bank Ballpark June 28th-30th after which there are just seven games left in the half. These matchups could very well decide the first half Liberty Division champion. Should the Ducks be battling another team for the first half title, June will still be an important month. Of Long Island’s 28 games in June, 23 are against Liberty Division opponents. The Ducks and Patriots will also face off in two important series against Somerset late in the second half, hosting Somerset for four games August 19th-22nd and three more games August 30th-September 1st.

FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION

The Ducks and the Fourth of July have almost become synonymous with one another on Long Island. Fans have frequently been able to enjoy celebrating the holiday at Bethpage Ballpark in recent years, with the team often having home games on and around the holiday. However, 2018 represented a rare instance when that was not the case, as the team played a three-game set in New Britain July 3rd-5th. That marked just the second time since 2011 the Ducks did not have a home game on July 4th, with 2016 being the other as the team played in Lancaster. However, Long Island hosted home games July 1st-3rd. This year, the Ducks will be back home for a seven-game homestand during the first seven days of July. Long Island will host a four-game series against the Skeeters July 1st-4th to begin the month before welcoming in the Blue Crabs for a three-game set to wrap up the first half. While fireworks dates have yet to be announced, fans can expect to enjoy the best fireworks show on Long Island July 4th! Stay tuned for the announcement of additional fireworks shows, as well as the full promotional schedule.

HOME FINISH

It has not been often that the Ducks have finished the regular season at home in recent years. During each of the past two seasons, the Ducks have ended their year in Texas against the Skeeters, needing road wins to clinch a playoff berth in each season. In fact, you must go all the way back to 2014 to find the last time the Ducks ended their regular season at home. That year, Long Island ended their season with a six-game homestand, including three against the Barnstormers and three against the Blue Crabs. Now, five years later, the Ducks will end the 2019 season with three home games. The Rockers will come to town for the series the weekend of September 20th-22nd. Though the Ducks hope to have a postseason spot clinched prior to that point, it is typically a bit more comfortable for a team to be playing in its home ballpark for games with added importance.

Which games are you most looking forward to in 2019? Let us know in the comments section of this post!

%d bloggers like this: