Long Island Ducks

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Long Island Ducks
Founded in 1998
Central Islip, New York
LIDucks.PNG LI Ducks cap.PNG
Team logo Cap insignia
League affiliations
Name
  • Long Island Ducks (2000-present)
Team Colors
  • Black, green, orange, white
                       
Ballpark
Championships
  • League titles: (3) 2004, 2012, 2013
  • Division titles: (4) 2004, 2011, 2012, 2013
Owner(s)/
Operator(s):
Frank Boulton, Bud Harrelson, Seth Waugh
General Manager: Michael Pfaff
Manager: Kevin Baez
Media:
New York Newsday
Website
www.liducks.com

The Long Island Ducks are an American professional baseball team based in Central Islip, New York. They are a member of the Liberty Division of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. Since the 2000 season, the Ducks have played their home games at Bethpage Ballpark - formerly known as EAB Park, Citibank Park, and Suffolk County Sports Park.

The "Ducks" name refers to Long Island's duck-farming heritage, which is further represented by the Big Duck ferrocement. The Big Duck is in Suffolk County, in which Central Islip is also located.[1]

The Ducks currently own the independent league baseball single-season attendance record of 443,142 fans. They reached this total in the summer of 2001, surpassing the previous record of 436,361 fans which the team had also set in 2000. The Ducks reached the 3 million mark in attendance in September 2006.

Bud Harrelson, a 1971 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner, is a part-owner of the Ducks. He was the first manager of the team following a stint as the New York Mets manager.

History[edit]

Residents of Long Island anticipated the arrival of professional baseball for many years, until the Ducks' inaugural 2000 season. The New York Mets and the New York Yankees own the territorial rights to keep an affiliated team, Major or Minor League, from moving within 75 miles of their respective ballparks. The last attempt by any team to move to Long Island was made by the Albany-Colonie Yankees. The Albany-Colonie team hoped to reestablish themselves in Suffolk County, home to the Ducks, but the Mets prevented the move. The Yankees later moved to Norwich, Connecticut, becoming the Norwich Navigators and, later, the Connecticut Defenders (now the Richmond Flying Squirrels).[2] Baseball fans on Long Island enthusiastically support the Ducks and have led the Atlantic League's attendance since its beginning.[citation needed] In 2007, team owner Frank Boulton expressed his contentment with the Ducks to Baseball America saying, "The Long Island Ducks are the best thing I've ever done in baseball."[3] Despite their success at the gate, the Ducks did not field a championship team until the 2004 season, when they defeated the Camden Riversharks in a three-game sweep to capture the Atlantic League Championship Series.

In 2005, a controversial former MLB player John Rocker signed with the Ducks in an attempt to revive his career. He asked New Yorkers to "bury the hatchet," claiming his willingness to play on Long Island proved he had matured since his controversial comments. Rocker was poorly received by the fans and ended up pitching with an 0-2 record and an ERA of 6.50.

On August 14, 2007, the Ducks appeared in national headlines in the United States after former Major League player José Offerman assaulted opposing players of the Bridgeport Bluefish. In his second at-bat with Bluefish pitcher, Matt Beech, Offerman was hit by a pitch. He retaliated by hitting Beech's hands with a bat, as well as striking catcher John Nathans in the head. Nathans was taken out of the stadium on a stretcher, and Offerman was arrested and taken into custody.[4]

On Monday November 10, the Ducks announced that Gary Carter would be the new manager for the 2009 season.

Former MLB All-stars Dontrelle Willis[5] and Ramon Castro[6] signed with the Ducks in 2013. In 2014, the Ducks made headlines when they stated they were open to signing Alex Rodriguez after he had been suspended by MLB for over a year due to his PED controversy.[7] On April 1, 2014 they called a press conference reportedly to announce the signing of Rodriguez, but it was revealed to be an April Fools joke. A sign on the lecturn where signed players are typically introduced revealed the joke.

Go Green[edit]

The Long Island Ducks have implemented an environmental conservation program called "Go Green." The program includes the placement of solar panels on the roof of Bethpage Ballpark to power the luxury suite level, the placing of "Ricky Recycle" receptacles throughout the ballpark for each home game so fans can recycle their bottles and cans, the enrollment in an electricity reduction program called Operation Save New York, and the participation in "Reuse a Shoe" program, in which sneakers are collected at Bethpage Ballpark to be recycled and used for materials to create new playing surfaces and sports equipment.[8]

Logos and uniforms[edit]

The official colors of the Long Island Ducks are black, green, orange, and white. The primary logo features the "Ducks" wordmark in orange with black outline. The wordmark begins with a stylized, cartoon duck head in the form of a capital, cursive "D." The secondary logo is the webbed foot of a duck in orange with black outline.

The Ducks wear caps produced by The Game Headwear and uniforms by Rawlings. The home caps are black throughout with the cap logo centered on the front. The cap logo is the stylized, cartoon duck head. The away caps are green with the duck head cap logo. The batting helmets are green with the webbed-foot logo.

The home jersey is white with black pinstripes with the "Ducks" wordmark centered across the front. The numbering on the jersey is primarily in green with white outline and black drop shadow. The away jerseys are grey with the "Long Island" cursive wordmark centered across in green with white and orange outline. The numbering is in green with white outline and orange drop shadow. The alternate is a sleeveless, green jersey with the "Ducks" word mark centered across the chest. The numbers are in orange with white drop shadow.

Season-by-season records[edit]

Long Island Ducks - 2004 to 2013[9]
Season W - L Record Winning Percentage Finish Playoffs
2004 65-61 .516 3rd in North Division 5-1 (won championship)
2005 66-74 .471 1st in North Division 1-2 (lost division final)
2006 73-53 .579 2nd in North Division 0-2 (lost division final)
2007 72-54 .571 1st in North Division 0-2 (lost division final)
2008 71-69 .507 1st in Liberty Division 0-2 (lost division final)
2009 73-65 .528 1st in Liberty Division 2-3 (lost division final)
2010 70-68 .507 3rd in Liberty Division Did Not Make Playoffs
2011 78-47 .624 1st in Liberty Division 4-4 (lost in championship round)
2012 63-74 .460 3rd in Liberty Division 6-4 (won championship)
2013 63-77 .450 2nd in Liberty Division 6-2 (won championship)
Totals (2000–2013) 1,040-954 .522 1st Place 5 times 3 championships
Playoffs 23-22 .511 - -


  • 3 Atlantic League Championships (2004, 2012, 2013)

Back to Back Championships[edit]

The Long Island Ducks won back to back Atlantic League Championships in 2012 & 2013. They have accomplished this feat despite posting losing records in each of those seasons. In each year they have defeated opponents in the championship series that won at least 25 more games than the Ducks won.

The Atlantic League uses a split season format to determine playoff berths. The league currently consists of two divisions with four teams each. The division winners in the first half play the division winners in the second half of the season in a five game playoff, then the playoff winners meet in a five game championship series. As customary in split season playoff formats, the winners of the first half division are guaranteed a playoff berth and have little incentive to win games in the second half. There is no additional benefit for a team to win a division in both halves of the season. If a team does win both halves, a wild card team is selected to compete in the playoffs against said team. The wild card team is the with the best overall record who has failed to win either half of its division. As a result it is rare for a team to win both halves of the season. Oftentimes a team who wins the first half plays to a far worse won loss record in the second half. This playoff format have proven vital to the Ducks winning their championships despite their losing records in both years.

In 2012, the Ducks won the first half of their division with a 39-30 record. With their playoff berth secure in July, they played the second half of the season to a 24-44 record finishing in last place. Their overall record was 63-74. They defeated the second half winner Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in five games in the divisional playoff series then upset the Lancaster Barnstormers, who had won a league record 88 games (against 52 losses) that year and who won both halves of its division. The Ducks were able to play the deciding fifth game in their own ballpark because the league employs a rotating division system as to what team gets home field advantage in the championship round. As such the Ducks won their title with a walk-off bunt single by SS Dan Lyons in the bottom of the ninth scoring the runner from third.

In 2013 they surprised the league by winning their second consecutive championship. They finished the first half with a 30-40 record, well behind the division winners Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at 37-32. With their playoff berth guaranteed, the Blue Crabs had little motivation to continue winning into the summer and finished the second half of their division with a far worse record of 28-42. The Ducks won a weak division in the second half with a 33-37 record, for a combined record of 63-77. It was actually the sixth best record posted in the eight team league. Meanwhile in the other division there were two teams with far superior records than the Ducks. The Sugar Land Skeeters a second year expansion team that plays just outside of Houston Texas won both division halves and posted a best overall record of 95-45, bettering the record set the year before by the Barnstormers, and better than the Ducks by a mind boggling 32 games. Their division rivals the Somerset Patriots were close behind the skeeters all season long and posted a 90-49 record, and entered the playoffs as the wild card. The Patriots posted a mild upset in the divisional playoffs by sweeping the Skeeters, and the Ducks did the same to the Blue Crabs setting up the championship series. The Ducks were helped by the late season signing of former major leaguer Lew Ford who had played in the majors as recently as 2012 and had just been released by the Baltimore Orioles AA affiliate in late August 2013. He had hit in 16 of the 17 regular season games he participated in and hit .412 in the playoffs. The Ducks defeated the Patriots in the first two games at home and the Patriots took the next two games in their park, setting up a deciding game five at Somerset. The Ducks won the game 6-4 with the help of a three run home run in the top of the fourth by Ray Navarrete, giving the Ducks a 6-1 lead that they would never relinquish. They won a championship over an opponent that was 27 1/2 games better than them in the standings. It exceeds the record at the major league level for largest deficit to overcome to win a championship series, set in 1906 when the Chicago white Sox at 93-58 defeated the Chicago Cubs at 116-36 for a 22 1/2 game differential. The Cubs record still stands today as the best regular season winning percentage in major league history.

In a league where player turnover is high as it consists of players constantly being signed away by major league affiliates, Navarrete has played for the Ducks since 2006 and is their longest tenured player, and holds most of the teams offensive records. He has become a fan favorite and has even married a former team employee. He had announced earlier in the season that he retire from playing and the game where hit the game deciding home run would be his final game as an active player.

Ferry Cup[edit]

The Long Island Ducks contend with the Bridgeport Bluefish over the Ferry Cup, which is sponsored by the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company. The two teams border on Long Island Sound, and many fans of both teams regularly cross it to support them. The current Bluefish/Ducks rivalry record is 85-83, in favor of Bridgeport.[10]

Radio[edit]

All of the Long Island Ducks weekend games are broadcast on WRCN/103.9 starting in 2013, with the rest of the games broadcast over the Ducks official website. Chris King, David Weiss, Michael Polak and Tom Felice serve as the team's official broadcasters.

Live on Internet TV[edit]

The Long Island Ducks' games are broadcast live on iBN Sports.

Mascot[edit]

The Long Island Ducks' official mascot is an anthropomorphic duck named QuackerJack. He wears the Ducks' full home uniform with green and white sneakers. He debuted on March 18, 2000 at Citibank Park.[11] His name alludes to a popular baseball game food produced by the Cracker Jack brand, and the quacking sound of a duck.

Current roster[edit]

Long Island Ducks roster
Active (25-man) roster Coaches/Other

Pitchers

  • 17 Eric Niesen
  • -- Casey Barnes



 

Catchers


Infielders

  • 12 Dan Lyons

Outfielders

  • -- Jon Myers
 

Manager

Coaches

Injury icon 2.svg Disabled list
‡ Inactive list
§ Suspended list

Roster updated February 1, 2014
Transactions


Retired numbers[edit]

Jackie Robinson LGI.PNG
Jackie Robinson
2B
Retired throughout
professional baseball
on April 15, 1997

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Official websites[edit]

Blogs[edit]


Achievements
Preceded by
Long Island Ducks
2012
Atlantic League Champions
Long Island Ducks

2013
Succeeded by
Achievements
Preceded by
Long Island Ducks
2012
Liberty Division Champions
Long Island Ducks

2013
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Nashua Pride
2003
North Division Champions
Long Island Ducks

2004
Succeeded by
Nashua Pride
2005