Blog | Sports: The Hot Corner
Atlantic League Expanding to Nassau
If you like the Long Island Ducks and live in Nassau County, you won’t have to travel too far now to catch a game.
Nassau County officials announced Monday that the rights to operate a minor league baseball team as part of the new Coliseum development has been awarded to the Atlantic League and Frank Boulton, founder and CEO of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, according to Ducks management.
Boulton’s group was one of two groups to answer the County’s request for proposals, along with the New York Mets.
As a member of the Atlantic League, the Nassau County expansion team will compete against the Long Island Ducks, who have more than 18 years remaining on their lease to play in Suffolk County at Bethpage Ballpark, instantly forming an “Expressway Rivalry”.
“We are pleased to have been awarded this opportunity,” said Boulton. “We look forward to helping County Exec. Ed Mangano bring affordable, family entertainment to the taxpayers of Nassau County in the same fashion the taxpayers of Suffolk have enjoyed for 12 years with the Ducks.”
The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Clubs has brought a high level of professional baseball and affordable family entertainment to selected communities since 1998. Since beginning play 13 years ago, the contracts of more than 600 Atlantic League players have been purchased by Major League organizations.
LI Native John Mackey Dies
John Mackey grew up in Roosevelt and played football at Hempstead High School before settling at Syracuse University and making history in the NFL with the Baltimore Colts. Mackey, who suffered from dementia, died this week at the age of 69.
At Hempstead, Mackey won the 1958 Thorp Award as Nassau County’s top football player.
The NFL Hall of Famer, who roomed with Ernie Davis at Syracuse, is arguably the greatest tight end in the history of the sport. He was selected in the second round of the 1963 NFL draft by the Colts and played in the league until 1972. During that time he caught 331 passes for 5,236 yards and 38 touchdowns.
His most prolific catch was a 75-yard touchdown reception in Super Bowl V off the arm of Johnny Unitas. The ball tipped off the fingers of Cowboys defensive back Mel Renfro into Mackey’s hands.
The top tight end in Division I football is given the John Mackey Award and the NFL, thanks in part to the efforts of Mackey’s wife, started the “88 plan” – after Mackey’s number – which provides $88,000 annually for nursing home care and $50,000 for adult day care to retired NFL players in need.
Harris, Jenkins Drafted
Long Island undertones rang through this year’s NBA draft.
Tobias Harris, a Dix Hills native, was selected by the Charlotte Bobcats and traded to the Milwaukee Bucks with the 19th overall pick.
Hofstra’s Charles Jenkins was selected in the second round, 44th overall, by the Golden State Warriors.
Jenkins becomes the first Hofstra player chosen in the NBA draft since Speedy Claxton was a first-round pick of the Philadelphia 76ers (20th overall) back in 2000. Claxton also played part of his NBA career with the Golden State Warriors during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.
From Hofstra sports information…
The last Pride player to reach the NBA was Norman Richardson (‘01), who was a free agent selection of the Indiana Pacers in 2001 and played parts of one season for the Pacers and Chicago Bulls.
Rich Laurel remains the highest-ever NBA Draft selection by a Hofstra player, as he was a first-round pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in 1977 (19th overall) and played for part of the 1977-78 season with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Bill Thieben was a third-round selection (22nd overall) of the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1956 and played for the Pistons for three years.
Other Hofstra players to be chosen in the top 60 (the modern NBA Draft has 60 selections) include John Irving, who was a third-round selection by the Detroit Pistons (58th overall) in 1977, and Steve Nisenson, who was chosen by the New York Knicks in the fifth round in 1965 (40th overall).
Hofstra players who earned selections in later rounds include Richie Swartz (1962, 7th round), Barry White (1969, 8th round), Bernard Tomlin (1976, 6th round), Henry Hollingsworth (1979, 8th round) and Doug Mills (1984, 10th round).
LI Sports Notebook
Higgins going for Lord Stanley
Long Island native Chris Higgins is playing for the Stanley Cup with the Vancouver Canucks. He’s trying to be just the second island native to capture Cup glory behind Syosset native Rob Scuderi, who won a title with Pittsburgh in 2009.
Long Islanders selected in MLB draft
A handful of Long Island natives had their dreams come true when they were selected in this year’s Major League Baseball draft. They include Nick Tropeano (Stony Brook – Astros), Matt Colantonio (Brown – Padres), Dave Kubiak (Albany – Rays), Dennis O’Grady (Duke – Padres), Ian Dickson (Lafayette – Cubs) and Pat Cantwell (Stony Brook – Orioles). Robert Nixon, who is from Canada originally and plays at Adelphi, was also drafted by Cleveland.
Freeport’s Hall Wins Belmont Stakes
Freeport native George Hall, the owner of Ruler On Ice, was a happy man this weekend at the 143rd Belmont Stakes. His horse, a 24-1 long shot, won the final leg of the Triple Crown in 2:30.88.
Sowell Out, Stony Brook Job Left Open
Stony Brook lacrosse coach Rick Sowell is out as head coach of the men’s lacrosse team. He took the same job at the Naval Academy. Right now Stony Brook has not released any potential candidates.
Ducks Launch Mobile Site
The Long Island Ducks have announced the launch of a brand new mobile web site, liducks.com/mobile. Fans can now follow the Ducks on with a mobile-friendly version of the team’s official web site, liducks.com.
“We are happy to provide fans with a way to follow the team wherever they might be,” Ducks’ president/general manager Michael Pfaff said in a statement. “The Faithful Flock can now stay up-to-date on the team despite their busy, on-the-go lifestyle.”
On the new site, fans will be able to view the team’s upcoming schedule, complete with promotional giveaways and game times, as well as check up-to-the-minute status of that night’s game. In addition, the site provides links to follow the game through Pointstreak’s mobile GameLive application and to contact the Ducks with questions or comments.
Social networking users can now follow the Ducks on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Foursquare right on their phone with icons located at the top of the mobile site. Fans can also sign up to receive text messages from the team with game status updates and special offers.
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