It looks like Christmas came a bit early this year! Last week, the Long Island Ducks and B-103 Radio Personality “The Wiseman” teamed up for three trips to local hospitals to give their season greetings and to provide toys for juvenile patients.
Representing the Ducks on this wonderful cause were manager Kevin Baez, co-owner and Coach Bud Harrelson, shortstop Dan Lyons and of course, team mascot Quackerjack. Their tour began at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, which is the only pediatric intensive Care Unit on Suffolk’s south shore. They visited 30 children and surprised them with gifts. These gifts were generously donated by the fans at Bethpage Ballpark as a part of the Ducks annual Holiday Toy Drive.
The Ducks’ visit was a special day for the children. In fact, this 15-year tradition for the Ducks has never really failed to bring a smile. “It is very difficult for many children and their families to be at a hospital, especially during the holiday season,” said Cynthia Rosenthal, DO Chief of Pediatric Critical Care at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center. “Having people such as the team from B103 and the LI Ducks bring gifts and spend time with the children brings smiles to both patients and the staff. Their efforts are what the Christmas spirit is all about.”
Harrelson, who has been with the Ducks since their inception, is no stranger to events like this. “We had some really sick kids here who were very happy to see us and Quackerjack” said Harrelson. “It’s a fun thing, which makes your heart feel good.” Harrelson, a World Series champion, is a well-known figure in New York, especially in Suffolk County, where he is an instrumental part of the Ducks organization.
Baez, who has managed the Ducks for the past four years and has been with the organization for the last 12, also has had his share of spreading joy for the kids. “It is a pleasure to come out here and do this” said Baez. “To bring smiles to their faces with toys and joy, it’s a special day.” Lyons, a newcomer to this tradition, also helped give out gifts and take pictures with the children alongside QJ.
The Ducks later made stops to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore and Stony Brook University Medical Center. The Long Island Ducks are always there to provide not only family fun and entertainment at the ballpark, but they also strive to reach out to the community with their generosity and heartfelt wishes. They are the first Atlantic League team to reach the sixth millionth mark in attendance and their popularity continues to grow here on Long Island.