By Colin Capece and Alex Gelabert
Chaminade High School
Oyster Bay High School
Since the Long Island Ducks’ inaugural season in 2000, nearly 7 million fans have walked through the turnstiles of Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip to experience one of the most entertaining teams in professional baseball.
From the upbeat music that blares from the scoreboard, to the friendliness of Ducks mascot QuackerJack, there are countless things at the park that appeal to Long Islanders. Each individual game provides a fun-filled experience for kids and adults alike, but for fans that just can’t get enough of Long Island’s favorite team, the Ducks offer season ticket packages.
Fans who purchase season tickets have the opportunity to enjoy the Long Island Ducks experience at all 70 home games. “It’s just a nice place to be,” said Eric Reinhold, 71, of Smithtown, who has been a season ticket holder for the past 12 seasons. “There’s a lot of entertainment other than just the baseball game itself. There’s fireworks and events that they do in-between innings. It’s a good place to be entertained.”
Season ticket holders also enjoy many added benefits besides just admission to all home games. “They receive a host of different benefits,” said Michael Polak, director of media relations at Bethpage Ballpark. “There are a lot of different things included for them; [season ticket holders] are our V.I.P. guests here at the ballpark.”
There are, indeed, many benefits that come with being a Ducks season ticket holder. Aside from the fact that a red carpet is literally rolled out for the approximately 1,000 to 1,500 season ticket holders when they enter the park, these fans can take advantage of special perks at games throughout the season. According to the official website of the Long Island Ducks, season ticket holders can gain early access into the ballpark 15 minutes before the general public, and entry into the “Duck Club” restaurant and bar. They can also take advantage of discounted pricing on official team merchandise at the Waddle In Shop, and the names and photos of season ticket holders appear on the scoreboard throughout the game.
Another benefit is that season ticket holders will automatically have their seats reserved for playoff games. Fans can take advantage of the perk this season, as the Ducks already clinched a playoff berth by winning the Atlantic League’s Liberty Division in the first half of the season. First- round playoff games 3, 4 (if necessary) and 5 (if necessary) will be played at Bethpage Ballpark.
Season ticket holders also have the opportunity to give back to those who are less fortunate. For tickets that they cannot use, season ticket holders can make a tax-deductible donation to an organization called Seats of Dreams. This organization provides game tickets to children who cannot afford to buy tickets of their own. “We provide the opportunity for organizations for those who are less fortunate and can’t make it out to a game normally to come out and enjoy a game,” Polak explained. “We’ve built a very good relationship with them over the past few years.”
Claudia Lashley of Farmingville and her family have had season tickets for the past two seasons. “I enjoy coming to Ducks games because I just like to be with my family,” said Lashley, 20.
Ticket-holder Reinhold also likes that his season tickets allow him to spend more time with his friends and family. “I bring my grandchildren, my sons and my daughters, as well as friends from out of town who come to visit. I also bring my sister who visits once a year from Plattsburgh. She really loves it here.”