By Jerry Del Priore
When you provide a good product, for the most part, you’ll be around for a long time.
This rings true when it comes to the Long Island Ducks baseball organization — who entered the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball in 2000 and will be celebrating their 20th anniversary on Friday, August 2, at Bethpage Ballpark.
Prior to Long Island’s 6:35 p.m. game against the High Point Rockers, the team will host a special on-field ceremony to commemorate its 20 seasons of professional baseball on the island.
The ceremony will include numerous special guests, such as New York Mets legend and Ducks Co-Owner Buddy Harrelson, whose number ‘3’ jersey is retired by the team;
2004 Atlantic League Championship Series MVP Justin Davies, whose number ‘4’ jersey is retired by the team;
2012 Atlantic League Championship Series MVP Dan Lyons;
2012 and 2013 Atlantic League champion and New Jersey native Ray Navarrete, whose number ‘16’ jersey is retired by the club.
Other special guests scheduled to attend the event include Congressman Peter King, Jim Petrocelli, whose company — J. Petrocelli Contracting, Inc — built Bethpage Ballpark in 1999-2000, as well as Chris Vaccaro, the Executive Director of the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame.
During the festivities, the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame will be unveiling a marker that will be permanently affixed outside Bethpage Ballpark, to commemorate the Ducks as the longest-tenured professional sports team in Suffolk County History.
In addition to remarks from various baseball and political dignitaries alike, video highlights from great moments in Ducks history will be played on the DuckVision video board in left-center field.
Throughout the game, video messages from various members of the Ducks’ 20th Anniversary All-Time squad will be also featured on the DuckVision. The ceremony will be culminated by a special announcement from Ducks Founder/CEO/Owner Frank Boulton.