By Parker Schug
Bayport-Blue Point High School
and Zoe Gordon
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
A man in an orange shirt selling Quacker whistles. A woman cheering when a fan wins a raffle prize. A teen walking up and down the aisles selling cotton candy to children in the stands. These are some of the summer employees you may see at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip, home to the Long Island Ducks.
“We have 72 home games during the course of the season, so we need a good amount of people to fill roles,” said Michael Polak, director of media relations and broadcasting. “These roles include everything from ushers to on-field hosts.”
Whether it’s the advantage of watching your favorite sports team, making money, working with friends, or simply just getting experience, some teens believe that taking a summer job at the baseball park is an obvious idea.
“I think it’s cool because if you work at a sporting event it’s the benefit of working and having fun,” Stephan Schmitt, an 18-year-old Ducks fan from Roosevelt, said Wednesday. “It’s also really important to get experience working.”
The Ducks hire about 250 employees each season. Many are young adults hoping to work their way up in the sports business, according to Michael Pfaff, president and general manager of the Ducks.
“What you’ll see with a lot of the full-time positions in sports is it’s very hard to land a good internship, and it’s hard to land a good internship without exposure in an organization,” Pfaff said. “It’s a good first step.”
Many employees are brought into the Ducks’ staff through the annual job fair, which was held on March 3.
Polak said that, along with being passionate about working for the Ducks, aspiring employees should strive to be diverse in their skill set.
“The more versatile they are, the more intriguing they are as an employee for the Ducks,” Polak said.
Fans Colleen Schalk and Allison Caminiti, whose daughters performed in an Irish dance routine in honor of Irish Night, described employees at Bethpage Ballpark as “very helpful.”
“They are all very friendly and polite,” Schalk said.
Former on-field host Robert Shapiro, 49, of Hicksville, who worked for the team in 2000 and 2001, said the job was a thrill. “I was performing in front of 6,000 fans. If I was 23 at the time and not married, I’d probably still be working there.”