(Central Islip, N.Y., March 16, 2022) – The Long Island Ducks and Staten Island FerryHawks today announced the official name for their yearly rivalry series.
This year will mark the first time the Atlantic League features two teams that call New York home, making the Ducks and FerryHawks natural geographic rivals. Separated by just 59 miles, Fairfield Properties Ballpark in Central Islip and the Ballpark by the Ferry in Staten Island can be visited via a journey along the Belt Parkway. On a good day, it could take you an hour and a half to drive from ballpark to ballpark. That said, no one in recorded history has accomplished the feat, thanks to “The Belt”.
The team that wins the season series, or “Battle of the Belt” between the clubs will be awarded a custom-designed championship belt. The belt will remain in that team’s possession until the opposing team wins a season series. Additionally, Ducks President/GM Michael Pfaff and FerryHawks Executive VP/GM Gary Perone have placed a friendly wager on the 2022 Battle of the Belt. The losing team will be required to send a care package to the winning team full of notable items that come from either Staten Island or Long Island.
“This is an exciting day for New York baseball fans,” said Pfaff. “The Atlantic League is full of exciting rivalry matchups, and the ‘Battle of the Belt’ will be no different. We look forward to seeing fans of both teams visit each ballpark and create an atmosphere unlike any other.”
Long Island and Staten Island are poised to face one another 34 times in 2022, which represents over 25% of the season schedule. 17 games will be played in each ballpark, including three meetings in May, nine in June, seven in July, six in August and nine more in September to finish the season. The FerryHawks make their first visit to Long Island during the regular season May 17-19, while the Ducks visit Staten Island for the first time June 10-12.
The matchup also features two managers with connections to both the Long Island Ducks and New York Mets. Wally Backman enters his third season as the Ducks skipper, having led the team to an Atlantic League championship in 2019. He previously spent nine of his 14 years in the Major Leagues with the New York Mets, winning a World Series championship in 1986. Staten Island is led by Edgardo Alfonzo, who played 164 games with the Ducks from 2007-08. He also spent eight of his 12 big league seasons with the Mets, winning a National League championship in 2000. The FerryHawks also feature former Ducks and Mets right-handed pitcher Nelson Figueroa as their pitching coach.
“The ‘Battle of the Belt’ will be one of the coolest experiences New York baseball fans will have all season,” said Perone. “In just one short drive, fans will get to see Fonzie and Wally battle it out while the players work towards hoisting the belt after the season series. Hopefully a little added incentive for the winner will make it even sweeter!”
Ducks and FerryHawks fans will be able to see their teams go head-to-head for the first time during spring training. Staten Island will be making a trip to Long Island on Saturday, April 16, for an exhibition games as part of the Ducks Fan Fest. Gates will open at 10:30 a.m., first pitch scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and admission is free for all fans.
Season ticket holders of both the Ducks and FerryHawks can watch their team play in the opposition’s ballpark FREE OF CHARGE with the Atlantic League Ballpark Pass. Simply present your season ticket holder ID card at the box office when visiting to receive a free ticket, subject to availability. To become a season ticket holder, contact the Ducks at (631) 940-3825 or the FerryHawks at (929) 594-2957.
The Long Island Ducks are members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, a Professional Partner League of Major League Baseball. Over 8 million fans have enjoyed the Ducks brand of affordable, fun entertainment at Fairfield Properties Ballpark since inception in 2000. For further information, visit LIDucks.com or call 631-940-DUCK (3825).
The Staten Island FerryHawks are a Major League Baseball partnered franchise that will play in the high-quality Atlantic League in the Spring of 2022. Their mission is to create a home for everyone in the Staten Island community and solidify a fun and exciting family experience that fans will never forget. The FerryHawks will play their home games at the newly improved baseball stadium next to the Staten Island Ferry along Richmond Terrace in Downtown Staten Island.
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