More than a mascot

By Matthew Kolbert, Glen Cove High School &
Ashley Johnson, Baldwin Senior High School

Baseball fans are known for focusing on what happens during the innings. At Bethpage Ballpark, home of the Long Island Ducks, it’s the entertainment between the innings that has fans coming back for more.

QuackerJack quacks "Happy Birthday" to four of his young fans on July 24, 2012 at Bethpage Ballpark. Photo by Lyla Dale

QuackerJack quacks “Happy Birthday” to four of his young fans on July 24, 2012 at Bethpage Ballpark. Photo by Lyla Dale

“A lot of people look at the Yankees and say Derek Jeter is the face of that franchise,” said Michael Polak, Media Relations and Broadcasting Manager. “QuackerJack is the face of this franchise.”

QuackerJack has been a part of the Long Island Ducks family since they became a team in 2000.  Ever since, he has been a favorite of the fans and a star of every game.

The feathered favorite is a critical factor in attracting families and their children to the 6,000-seat ballpark, Polak said. “He’s here at every home game,” he added. “Every one wants to see QuackerJack.”

QuackerJack never leaves the sight of the fans. Dancing, signing autographs, taking pictures and throwing T-shirts to the crowd are just a few of the forms of entertainment he provides.

“My favorite thing he does is when he goes crazy and runs in the dugouts,” said fan Nate Worthman.

High-pitched screams of little children can be heard throughout the stadium as they try desperately to get QuackerJack’s attention.  Most are able to meet him, and even snap a photo. Thomas Kahl, an avid young baseball fan immediately answers “QuackerJack” when asked who his favorite mascot is.

QuackerJack isn’t confined to the walls of Bethpage Ballpark. He also participates in community events throughout Long Island, Polak said. He visited the Patchogue-Medford Library to encourage reading in addition to visiting Tamarac Elementary School in Holtsville to raise awareness about child abduction.

The Long Island Press named QuackerJack the Best Long Island mascot in its 2012 Best of Long Island awards. The decision was made by an online poll in which QuackerJack beat out mascots Wolfie of Stony Brook University and Sparky of the New York Rangers.

“We were going to the Mets tonight but we chose to come here instead,” said fan Debbie Calabria. “It’s very inmate. We feel like we’re part of the game.”