Matt Vogel is hoping for two rings this fall.
One is guaranteed. The Medford native and newly-acquired Ducks reliever will marry his college sweetheart in two weeks in his parents' backyard.
The other is not as certain, but hopeful, for both Vogel and the Ducks — a championship ring.
Will Vogel even be around for the chance to win one? He isn’t sure, but he sure hopes so.
Acquired on Tuesday from the New Jersey Jackals of the Frontier League for a player-to-be-named, Vogel will spend less than a week with the Ducks before he takes a leave for his wedding and honeymoon in Antigua.
For now, Sunday will be his last day with the Ducks. But, should the Ducks advance deep in the playoffs — which begin Oct. 11 — he hopes to be back.
"After the wedding and the honeymoon and everything, hopefully these guys are still playing and I can continue to help them out to win a ring," Vogel said Friday.
The 26-year-old righthander said he was apprehensive about even agreeing to suit up for his hometown team. After all, he knew that his availibilty would be limited.
"Originally, and this might come off the wrong way, I didn’t want to play because I felt like I was taking away someone's spot on the roster that could be here longer than I was going to be," he said. "But, when I talked to [Ducks manager] Wally [Backman], he said ‘come throw for us for a week, help us out.’ So, I'm here."
Backman was only part of the persuasion. For Long Island kids like Vogel, memories of childhood summers at Ducks games are indelible. That pull was hard to ignore.
"I remember being a kid and running around here, blowing on the Quacker," he said. "It’s great. I’m excited to be here. I have a lot of family that hasn’t seen me pitch or play since high school. So, it’s a opportunity for my family and close friends to come watch. It makes it a lot easier and it’s more enjoyable to me, especially being a lot closer to home."
Entering Saturday night’s game against the York Revolution. Vogel had thrown three scoreless innings, allowed two hits, and struck out eight.
"The ball comes out of his hand very good," Backman said. "I would like to get him back for the playoffs."
Vogel, who grew up a Mets fan, played briefly with current Mets starter Marcus Stroman when Stroman was a senior in high school and Vogel was an eighth-grade call up. He stayed in brief contact with Stroman throughout the rest of his high school years and said he still knows him casually.
"Teammate or not, it’s always a good thing to see people from Long Island be successful," Vogel said.
The Ducks brought in another Long Islander on Friday, aquiring reliever and Wantagh-native Adam Heidenfelder in a trade with the Gary (Indiana) SouthShore Railcats of the American Association for a player-to-be-named.
Heidenfelder, 25, whose family had Ducks season tickets when he was a kid, played for both Hofstra and SUNY-Old Westbury after graduating from MacArthur. He pitched briefly in the Cubs organization this summer.
"It was always something I looked forward to possibly doing in the future," Heidenfelder said of playing for the Ducks. "To have it come to fruition now is really cool … It kind of came out of nowhere. But as soon as I got the phone call, it’s an opportunity I knew I had to take."
Ford focused on history
Ducks outfielder/hitting coach Lew Ford entered Saturday night needing seven hits to tie Ray Navarrete’s franchise record of 963. Although Backman said he would like to see Ford break the record on Long Island, the Ducks hit the road for a 10-game swing beginning Tuesday in Lexington, Kentucky.
"I’m going to make sure Lew breaks that record, no matter what," Backman said. "I would like to see him do it at home, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it because we have such a long road trip. I want to keep Lew fresh because he really is starting to swing the bat like we saw him swing it in '19 right before the playoffs and into the playoffs. He’s going to be a force for us."