Stepping Out

Ducks celebrating 15th season

All-time attendance approaching six million


A family of four or more can still enjoy a night at the ballpark without breaking the bank.

The Long Island Ducks, celebrating their 15th season and looking to become the first team in Atlantic League of Professional Baseball history to capture three straight championships, offer field box seats for a $12, free parking, and a promotional giveaway at nearly every game at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip.

“In late May or early June, we’re guaranteed to make history when our six millionth fan will walk into the ballpark,” President and General Manager Mike Pfaff said. “It’s a milestone achievement that speaks to the sustainability of what’s become a very popular and affordable family entertainment option on Long Island.

“We’re really proud of what we’ve accomplished over the years, and much more excited about what’s to come,” Pfaff added.

After a six-game road swing to open the campaign, the Ducks, led by fourth-year manager Kevin Baez, play their first of 70 home games this Friday night against the York Revolution. Prior to the first pitch, set for 7:05 p.m., the 2013 champs will be honored with a banner and presented with rings. The first 1,500 fans through the gates will receive a replica championship ring courtesy of P.C. Richard and Son.

“We’re excited, especially since there’s no more snow on the field,” joked Baez, whose assistants include bench coach Buddy Harrelson, pitching coach Steve Foucault and hitting coach/outfielder Lew Ford. “We brought back a good group of guys and have some key new additions as well,” Baez added.

Everything came together at the right time in a rollercoaster 2013 for the Ducks (63-77 regular-season record, 6-2 in playoffs), who beat the Somerset Patriots in the fifth and deciding game of the championship series, 6-4, after losing the previous two games in extra innings. “You really find out what kind of character you’ve got when things aren’t going too well,” Baez said. “Every season has peaks and valleys. I knew if we got into the playoffs, anything could happen because these guys never quit.”

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