An 18th season of Long Island Ducks baseball has come and gone, and with it, many more incredible moments were forged into the franchise’s illustrious history. From another winning season of baseball on the field to the continued support of the greatest fans in the Atlantic League off of it, the 2017 season featured a plethora of great memories. Though the final outcome of the season came up just short of the team’s goal to bring a fourth Atlantic League championship to Long Island, there were still many wonderful accomplishments for Ducks fans and the organization to be proud of:
Let’s reflect back on some of the highlights and achievements that took place during the 2017 season:
* Over the course of 70 regular season home games and four playoff games, over 354,000 Ducks fans enjoyed baseball in 2017 at Bethpage Ballpark. Over 340,000 fans have attended Ducks games on Long Island in each of the franchise’s 18 seasons of play. In addition, the team added to its all-time Atlantic League record attendance total, which now stands at 7,370,936. The Ducks have now welcomed an average of 5,741 fans per game all-time, constituting 95.6% of the ballpark’s seating capacity of 6,002. Long Island also added to its league record all-time sellouts total, which now stands at 672.
* Multiple improvements were made to Bethpage Ballpark that debuted prior to the 2017 season. They included:
-A brand new LED lighting system installed by Musco Lighting that offered significant energy savings and an enhanced experience for both the fans and players.
-A full replacement of the playing surface with 100,000 square feet of Kentucky Bluegrass. The project was conducted by DeLea Sod Farms on Long Island featured upgrades such as a better-quality field, improved drainage and irrigation and aesthetic enhancement to the game day experience.
-New commercial grade vinyl hardwood replacing the previously carpeted flooding in the Duck Club restaurant and bar along with 10 luxury suites.
-Sensor flush toilets installed in the lavatories at Bethpage Ballpark to complement the no-touch sensor faucets, providing a more sanitary and efficient bathroom experience for fans.
-The debut of a brand new private label craft beer dubbed “Duck Tail Ale”. The Ducks teamed up with Great South Bay Brewery in Bay Shore and Clare Rose Distributors, Inc. to provide fans with the opportunity to enjoy this delicious American Style Golden Ale on draught and in cans at Bethpage Ballpark all season long.
* Atlantic League officials announced that the Long Island Ducks and Bethpage Ballpark will host the 21st Annual Atlantic League All-Star Game during the 2018 season. This marks the third time in franchise history that the midsummer classic will be played on Long Island, with the first two coming in 2002 and 2010.
* On the field, the Ducks posted a winning record overall in 2017 at 73-67. That figure was good for the franchise’s fourth consecutive winning season and 14th winning year out of 18 seasons in team history. With a second half record of 37-33, the Ducks captured the 2017 Second Half Liberty Division title. The achievement earned the Ducks their 12th postseason appearance in franchise history, all coming in the past 14 seasons of play. Overall, it was Long Island’s seventh Second Half title and first since 2013.
* Just as they did a year prior, the Ducks overcame a series deficit to win the Liberty Division Championship. After dropping Game One of the Liberty Division Championship Series at home, Long Island earned three consecutive victories to defeat the Somerset Patriots for a second year in a row. The Ducks outscored their division rivals 14-5 in the three wins and earned their third series victory over Somerset in four postseason meetings all-time. It marked Long Island sixth Division Championship all-time and fifth in the past seven seasons.
* The Ducks set a franchise record, as three members of their 2017 team returned to the Major Leagues after playing with the Flock. Right-handed pitcher Tim Melville had his contract purchased by the Minnesota Twins on June 10 and was called up the Majors just over two months later on August 21. Outfielder Quintin Berry’s contract was purchased by the Milwaukee Brewers on August 17, and he earned a promotion to MLB less than three weeks later on September 5. Finally, right-handed pitcher Henderson Alvarez had his contract purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies on August 26 and earned a call-up less than three weeks later on September 13. The Ducks have now seen 18 players in franchise history reach the game’s highest level after playing on Long Island.
* Five members of the Ducks were chosen to play in the 2017 Atlantic League All-Star Game at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, N.J. Outfielder Angelo Songco was one of the five and also participated in the pre-game Home Run Derby held at the Patriots’ home ballpark. Additional participants included right-handed pitchers John Brownell and Amalio Diaz, catcher Alex Burg and infielder Elmer Reyes. It marked the first ALPB All-Star Game selection for all five Ducks players.
* Marc Krauss was voted by fans as the Delmonte-Smelson Team Most Valuable Player. The outfielder’s first season with the Flock saw him rank among the Atlantic League leaders in several offensive categories. He ended the year second in runs batted in (84), third in walks (83) and on-base percentage (.400), and fourth in runs scored (75), extra-base hits (53) and slugging percentage (.508). The former Major Leaguer batted .282 in 126 games with the Flock and launched 21 home runs, second on the team to Angelo Songco (24).
* In his first full season with the Ducks, Matt Larkins proved to be one of the team’s most effective pitchers. The right-handed starter led the Atlantic League with three shutouts in 2017 while ranking second in strikeouts (139), third in complete games (four), fourth in ERA (3.69) and games started (26) and fifth in innings pitched (156.0). He posted a 9-7 record and turned in 12 quality starts for the Flock.
* The Ducks launched 110 home runs during the regular season, their highest total since clubbing 115 in 2013. By hitting over 100 homers, they met the Chapey’s Home Run Challenge for 2017. In doing so, Chapey’s Funeral Homes made a $5,000 donation to the QuackerJack Foundation. The longball that put the Ducks over the mark came on September 1 at Bethpage Ballpark when Angelo Songco clubbed a two-run homer off of New Britain Bees pitcher Kyle Simon.
As the book on the 2017 season is officially closed, Long Island Ducks players, coaches and front office staff would all like to thank all of those who came to the ballpark and cheered on the Flock this year. The success achieved by the organization on and off the field would not be possible without the support and passion of this great fan base. The team is already looking forward to next year’s All-Star Summer on Long Island and cannot wait to see everyone back at Bethpage Ballpark for the 19th season of Long Island Ducks baseball!