Patrick Czark, an effervescent, 8-year-old ball of energy encased in a Yankee championship sweatshirt stood near laid back Marc Stander, 46, bearded and wearing his black Mets jacket over his green Jets shirt.
Outside the Long Island Ducks' Citibank Park for the first day of ticket sales yesterday, the two were brothers in die-hard baseball fandom.
Czark's father, Chris, of Setauket, and Stander, of Holbrook - strangers in every other way - have made a tradition of the event for the past decade. They've come every year to buy a handful of tickets meant to take them through the regular season, whether it be for the fireworks or special promotions ("The kids love the soccer balls," Czark said.) . . . or, you know, baseball.
And, much like QuackerJack, the Ducks' lumbering mascot, the two have become common sights and constant companions in the ticket line.
"Somehow, we always end up together on line," Czark said. This year, both migrated over to Central Islip at 4:15 a.m, - flocking to the same spot on the cement stairs in front of the ticket booth like, well, ducks.
"All these fans," said Stander, indicating the line of hundreds that spanned from the stadium's east gate to the west gate, minutes before the booth opened at 10 a.m. "They're all big time Ducks fans."
With temperatures in the 70s and clear skies, Patrick's first ticket line experience was swell. "I love to wake up early," Patrick said giddily, showing no sign of weariness.
"I mostly like everything" about going to the stadium, he said. "I like the fireworks . . . and the bounce-house" that the Ducks provided for the event.
Just as enthusiastic, Jane Pino, 73, of Islip Terrace, also showed her Ducks pride. She had waited in line since 5:15 a.m. and has been doing so for six or seven years, she said.
About 20 feet from the front of the line, "this is the closest we've ever been."
Though Saturday showed no signs of any of inclement weather, Pino prepared like a veteran: a warm Ducks jacket and her hand-knit, green and orange Ducks scarf complete with little felt duck applique and the words "LI Ducks."
There is, after all, no skipping out for her: "It's a family event," she said. "And we've been here - be it rain, snow, sleet or hail."