KIDSDAY / LET'S TAKE A TRIP / The Long Island Ducks

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We recently talked with the Long Island Ducks baseball team

manager Bud Harrelson. Your parents may remember when he played shortstop for

the 1969 World Champion New York Mets. He told us the Ducks are planning

several giveaway days during the season, thanks to sponsors who are donating

the items. And when the team isn't playing at EAB Park, the LI Rough Riders

will be playing there. Harrelson, a Suffolk resident, said he wanted to have a

baseball stadium in the area.

Q. How did you become involved with the Ducks?

A. When I left as manager of the Mets in 1991, I really didn't want to give

up baseball. Until I was 45, baseball had dominated my life. In 1993, along

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with [Ducks principal owner Frank] Boulton, I bought a team in Wilmington, Del.

We sold it in 1995. After that we started the Atlantic League, which as you

know, is an independent league. It is not attached to any Major League team. It

has taken four years to get the league here, but here we are. I live only a

few miles from the EAB Park. I've paid taxes in this community for 31 years and

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I wanted very much to bring baseball to this area. We don't have sports

entertainment in Suffolk County the way Nassau County does. And of course we

hope that the ticket prices will draw people to the stadium, as well as their

love for the sport.

Q. What are some of your season's goals for the team?

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A. I have great faith in my players, but I also realize we are an expansion

team so we will lose players. If we do lose players, I will find replacements

to fill their shoes.

Q. Do you have any advice for kids our age who want to become professional

baseball players?

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A. Practice, practice, practice. Some kids think you must have a team to

practice and that's not true. I can remember throwing the ball against the

wall. You can hit off a T. It takes a lot of eye-hand coordination to self-hit.

Throwing that ball up in the air, watching it, and swinging at the right time

are all an important part of practice. Practice with a pitch back. If you are

serious about the sport, practice is the only way you are going to prove to

yourself that you have what it takes.

BALLPARK ANSWERS

Location: The stadium is at EAB Park, Exit 56 on the LIE, Carleton Drive,

adjacent to the Courthouse Complex, Central Islip. Parking is free. There are

signs to the park along the way.

EAB Park: The stadium has 6,002 seats, 600 of them on the luxury suite

level. The Clubhouse admission is $12.

Ticket Prices: Tickets are $7 to $9, $5 for kids 12 and under.

For more information: Call 631-940-DUCK, or visit the Web site

www.liducks.com

This story was sent in by students at the Gardiner Manor School in Bay Shore.

If you are between the ages of 7 and 16, send your story along with a picture

to: Kidsday, c/o Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, N.Y. 11747-4250.

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