Atlantic League Opening Night, Ducks Look For Repeat

Long Island Ducks alternate logo,
The Atlantic League kicks off it's season today with a full slate of games.

Ducks fans will notice a few changes within the league this season. Managers Sparky Lyle (Somerset), and Andy Etchebarren (York) have retired and passed the torches on to Brett Jodie, and Mark Mason. Atlantic League legend Jeff Nettles will not be a member of the Somerset Patriots going into the 2013 season.

Also, during the off-season the Atlantic League approved measures to speed up games, as well as hiring new umpires to help improve the quality of games. 

As for the Ducks, one question lingers, Can the Ducks repeat as Atlantic League champs?

The two previous organizations to win the Atlantic League championship repeated as champions the following season, York in 2010 & 2011, and Somerset in 2008 & 2009.

The 2013 version of the Long Island Ducks is loaded with some big league names, as well as some Atlantic League veterans. However, players like Vladimir Guerrero may not be on the roster for long if they play well early in the season. I can't see a major league team not giving Vlad a shot if he puts up solid numbers.

2004 Topps - Dontrelle Willis
Dontrelle Willis is in a similar situation, trying to resurrect a once promising career. The 2003 National League Rookie of the Year will be the Ducks ace going into the season. If plays well he'll most likely be on his way off Long Island and back to a major league organization. The same can be said for Ramon Castro, Ian Snell and Josh Barfield.

The heart of the Ducks is in it's returning veterans, Ray Navarette, Dan Lyons, and Bryant Nelson. These guys have been through the grind of many Atlantic League seasons and know what it takes to win. If the Ducks turn over a huge amount of their roster during the season, these players are going to be called on to keep stability in the clubhouse and on the field.

On paper the Ducks look like the team to beat. However, I think it's important that they start off hot and win the First Half Championship before their team is pillaged by major league organizations. If they can get into the playoffs anything can happen. Just ask the Lancaster Barnstormers who lost to the Ducks in last years Atlantic League championship series.

The Ducks travel to Texas to face the Sugar Land Skeeters at 8:05pm tonight.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.