Faithful fans flock to Ducks

From April to September, the Long Island Ducks dominate their home stadium in Central Islip, where the 11-year-old franchise founded by Frank Boulton has developed into a favorite family pastime with a sizable following.

“We probably have one of the more passionate fan bases” said Media Relations Coordinator Michael Polak during a press conference before the July 27 game.

David Purdy of South Setauket is a dedicated Ducks fan

David Purdy of South Setauket is a "die-hard" Ducks fan / Photo by Jessica Colarossi

The “Duck Pond” a nickname for Bethpage Ballpark, houses on average about 6,000 spectators each game, a capacity crowd.

David Purdy of South Setauket, a fan since 2002 and a frequent attendee to the games, says it’s the attractive atmosphere, the price of $11 a ticket and the love for their fans that the Ducks hold that keeps him coming back to the games.

“Yes, I am a die-hard fan” Purdy said with a smile. Purdy showed his Duck pride by sporting the usual Quacker noisemaker and a Ducks baseball cap with a duck-shaped stuffed animal perched on top.

Many fans said they love how “everything is so personal” at the ballpark compared to that of the Major League parks.

“Everybody here, the staff, the players, everybody here is just so wonderful,” said a highly energetic Stephen Grossman. “I’ve become a real die-hard Ducks fan. I’ve been to about fifteen games this year.”

Charlie Barbeisch, another enthusiast, has been taking pictures of the team for the past nine years. He says they are like a family to him and that he’s been with the team through every championship.

“We all love him.” said Community Relations Assistant Lauren Brady, speaking of Barbeisch.

Fans on line at Bethpage Ballpark

Fans flock to Ducks' stadium to quack for the team / Photo by Jessica Colarossi

“We have a really good family base of fans here, so there are a lot of people here we see every game so its kind of like we are seeing our friends,” said on-field host Paul DeGrocco, who emcees the on-field entertainment between innings. “We get really close to fans.”

The Ducks make sure they do all that they can to keep their close fan base informed at every step. When the team plays at home in Central Islip, a webcast of the game is posted to their website for any fans that missed the game.

They also have an official radio station of the Ducks, My Country 96.1 FM, that broadcasts every Friday, Saturday and Sunday game whether at home or away.

Some fans really take their loyalty seriously. A program created by the Ducks for super fans, The Faithful Flock, has begun to capture the true essence of the personal interaction the Atlantic League has.

The program was created by a group of four men who call themselves The Quack Pack. Members pick one of the eight other teams in the Atlantic League and buses fans over to that field to cheer the Ducks on, bringing the sounds of a home game to a rival team’s field.

“Pay attention to the atmosphere and the people, everybody is smiling,” said an eccentric Grossman.