Fairfield Properties Ballpark - Long Island Ducks
Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29
Fairfield Properties Ballpark 3 Court House Dr Central Islip, NY 11722
Year Opened: 2000
The Long Island Ducks are an independent baseball team, a part of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. They play at the family friendly Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip, NY.
At one point in time, duck farming was a big industry on Long Island, thus the name of the ball team.
The ballpark has been known as several names: Suffolk County Sports Park, EAB Park, Citibank Park, and now Bethpage Park.
A new LED lighting system was installed in 2017 proving the organization is committed to making the ballpark up-to-date for today’s fan’s desires and needs. Additional improvements in 2017 included replacement of the playing surface, replacement of the carpeting in the suites and restaurant, improved touchless lavatories, and a brand new craft beer called “Duck Tail Ale.”
The Long Island Ducks are the Atlantic League Champions for the 2004, 2012, 2013 (runners up in the various other seasons).
Note: The stadium name changed to Fairfield Properties Ballpark in 2020.
Food & Beverage 5
The food at Bethpage Ballpark is more than what you would expect at a high-level independent league venue.
Standard fare of nachos, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken fingers, chicken sandwich, and fries run $5 – $8. Churros, pizza, Italian sausage and pulled pork sandwiches price between $5 and $9. Mister Softee provides the ice cream. One concession area offers heros and wraps. On the healthier side, full Caesar, Cobb, and garden salads cost $8 each. Fruit and cheese, crudité, or a small side salad run $4.
Unusual food choices at the ballpark include a peanut butter and jelly platter, hard boiled eggs, celery and peanut butter, and a peanut butter platter priced between $3 and $6.
An abundant choice of beer is available for $7 – $8 including local Long Island beers from Great South Bay Brewery and Brooklyn Brewery. Bud/Bud Light, Sam Adams and others are also on offer. Wines choices run $7.
Pepsi products are the soda choice and are priced at $4.
Open to all fans, the Duck Club, a restaurant and bar is located on the club level of the venue with some seats allowing fans to eat, drink and watch the game. Outside food and beverages are not permitted inside the park.
The cleverly named Waddle In Shop provides a vast amount of LI Ducks merchandise and souvenirs.
The Long Island Ducks provide an enjoyable family friendly entertainment environment, one that fans of all ages will enjoy.
Seating includes two sections of long rows (20 seats), green fold-down stadium chairs with cup holders and decent legroom separated by a narrow walkway on the lower level. Twenty luxury seats are available on the club level from the third to first baseline. A net is only around the home plate area; the dugouts are net free! Lots of foul balls enter the seating area so be on the lookout when walking the concourse while play is in action
Between inning and other activities include the usual minor league shenanigans like sumo wrestling, musical chairs, 50/50 contest, etc. The music volume is perfect; not too loud. One can have a conversation with their neighbor without having to yell over the music.
The starting line up is posted on a whiteboard placed on concourse. The stadium offers a constant view of the game action, so even when fans are enjoying the festivities down the foul lines or grabbing a hot dog, they can still see the game in full. One cannot walk the entire circumference of the concourse. Kids bounce houses and activities are at the end of both the first and third baselines.
The scoreboard provides the line score as well as video content. Bethpage Park has an attractive, lush green field. Be sure to check out some Long Island Ducks history on the walls when going up to the Duck Club.
Like many of the other Atlantic League ballparks, the framework is very geared towards family entertainment.
Bethpage Park is located in the Suffolk County District Court Office complex with residential areas beyond that.
A TGI Fridays and Carrabba’s are within walking distance. The best bet, though, is to try any of Long Island’s delicious pizzaria’s like Vinardo’s Pizzeria & Restaurant just a short drive away. Be sure to visit Great South Bay Brewing and Tasting Room (a sponsor of the LI Ducks), about five miles from the ballpark.
The Duck’s home field is only two or so miles from the Long Island’s south shore beaches and Heckscher State Park. Bayard Cutting Arboretum is one of Islip’s top tourist attractions and is well worth a visit.
Other professional sports on Long Island (though not necessarily close to Bethpage Park) are the New York Lizards (MLL), Long Island Rough Riders (USL), and the New York Islanders (NHL).
For those wanting to spend the night close to the venue, a Courtyard Marriott and a Residence Inn are right across the street from the ballpark.
Lots of families attend Ducks games. At the game of this review, not a lot of fans were there (frigid temperatures) but those that were there were quite hardy.
The Long Island Ducks generally sit in first or second place in attendance for the Atlantic League averaging greater than 5,000 a game the last few seasons.
They have a deep understanding of the game being close neighbors of the NY Mets and the NY Yankees.
The ballpark is located off the Southern State Parkway, though there are a variety of highways and routes to get there based on starting point. Click here for specific directions. The LIRR (Long Island Railroad) does not have a stop within walking distance to the park. The closest station is Central Islip on the Ronkonkoma Line, about 2.5 miles from the park.
Long Island MacArthur Airport is an 8 – 9 mile drive.
Parking is in a well-ordered semi-covered parking lot. If attendance is low, traffic in and out is very light. Even if it’s a packed house, worse traffic can be found in the shopping centers on Long Island. Traffic disperses in several directions so it moves out well. Parking is always free; playoff games too.
The concourse is open and wide and easily traversed. Plenty of handicapped parking and seating are available.
Return on Investment 5
A fan’s sports entertainment dollar is well spent at a Ducks game.
Individual ticket prices range from $12 – $15. The Duck’s have various promotional days such as Military Mondays, Two-fer Tuesdays, Waddle In Wednesdays, and Thirsty Thursdays where tickets prices or concessions are reduced. They also offer offer ‘Unused Ticket Days’ where if you couldn’t make it to a game but still have your ticket, you can exchange it for select games towards the end of the season.
Concession prices are affordable and parking is free.
The Duck’s organization has many additional points of note to mention.
The staff is extremely friendly and helpful – in person and over the phone.
Co-owner and first Ducks’ manager, Bud Harrelson, can often be seen on the concourse autographing baseballs and other souvenirs. Harrelson, a former Mets shortstop and coach has won championships as a player (‘69 Mets World Series; ‘73 Mets NL Championship), a coach (‘86 Mets World Series), and owner (‘04, ‘12, and ‘13 Ducks Atlantic League Championship).
Plenty of promotions are offered: Sundays – kids run the bases and a pregame player autograph session is available. All Saturday home games provide fireworks after the last out.
Modernizing and updating the venue to meet today’s baseball fans standards deserves extra credit.
A fan can listen to all Ducks games online – no fee.
Summer on Long Island can be a lot of fun with the beaches, piers, and boating. When on Long Island, be sure to spend an afternoon or evening enjoying a laid back, entertaining nine innings with friends and family at Bethpage Park.