Take them out to the ballgame

By Celia Bever and Philip Brady
The Greene Team

When the Long Island Ducks score a run, fan reactions are as varied as the people who come to enjoy the games.

Unenthusiastic 20-somethings look away in boredom. Intense fans of the minor league baseball team, clad in Ducks caps and t-shirts, clap and lean forward in anticipation and expectation of the next play. But the majority – parents, the elderly, and scores of children – cheer loudly and energetically.

The atmosphere of the games is one that is both family-friendly and geared towards all ages. Said usher Ed Cunn, “It doesn’t get too crazy…it’s family-oriented.”

The team has always been known for its exceptional ability to engage the audience. A variety of entertainment keeps the crowd energized between innings. This includes a dance contest, performances by local youth cheerleading teams, and the colorful humor of the announcer, Paul DeGracco.

“I love coming to these games,” said Peter Smith of East Setauket. “[We come] as much as we can.” His son Conor, 11, caught one of the fly balls. Conor beat out a number of other fans that rushed to catch it, all of whom nearly knocked over those in their way.

Ballgame

Fans filled the 6,000 seat stadium. Photo by Sabrina Syed.

When most of the crowd was cheering for the Ducks, 16-year-old Adam Mastrocola of Hauppauge screamed, “Let’s go Mets!” He explained later that he was “just having a good time” and meant no offense to the Ducks. He comes to at least five Ducks games a year and finds them more fun than major league games.

Even employees enjoy their time at the games. Volunteer fireman Christopher Giamnatteo, 17, works as a vender. He is notable for the bellowing way he yells “Hot dogs!” even receiving tips for performing on request. About working at the stadium, Giamnatteo said, “It’s a lot of fun.” His favorite part is interacting with the fans.

There was one specific member of the audience who was unhappy about his time there. Nineteen-year-old “Green Man” – who would not reveal his real name – came to the game clad in a full body and head covering neon green spandex suit. Inspired by the TV show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Green Man danced in the seats and through the aisles, posing for pictures with children.

Stadium security found the “fun” distracting and threatened to expel Green Man if he did not remove his suit. After shedding his alter ego, Green Man sputtered, “I’m pissed, very pissed. They were very mean to me.” He said he would not be returning to the park.

Ducks games may not be the ideal place for those intent on mischief. But the majority of stadium visitors – those who come to watch the game – leave the stadium smiling, with the roar of the crowd reverberating in their ears.

In the words of Mastrocola, “It’s easy to have a good time.”