Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Top 10 of 2008

It's that time of year. Last-minute shopping, bad sweaters, office parties, and Year In Review lists. We at the Brooklyn Baseball Blog are nothing if not traditionalists, so here's a look back at some of the most memorable (AKA embarrassing, shameful, humorous, insensitive) moments of year that was:

10. 24 Hours of Baseball: I'm lumping this all together as one for two reasons:
A) Most of the experience could comprise a Top 10 list all by itself
B) It's all still a blur and I'm not really sure how much of it was real, and how much was completely imagined, St. Elsewhere-style.
Anyway, 24 was a blast (mostly in retrospect). We took on 12 teams in consecutive two-hour games, playing baseball for an entire day. The sun was up, went down, came back up, and started to go back down again...all before Gary even got his first hit! (But after he broke his ribs.) Read all about it.

9. Tarp Duty: Unfortunately, 2008 was a summer filled with rain. And with rain comes the call for TARP! It's that time-honored minor league tradition, in which every member of the staff, from top to bottom, becomes an immediate member of the Grounds Crew and sloshes around in an attempt to save the field and get the game in before Mother Nature ultimately gets her way. This year alone, we pulled tarp on 17 out of 38 home dates. Amazingly, though, we only had two rainouts! I don't know how that's possible. It's like Steve actually parts the seas for three hours just so we can play that night's game. This year, I personally ruined dress shoes, sneakers, suit pants, khakis, and even spandex! Not fun. Tarp Duty really belongs more on a "Bottom 10" list than a "Top 10," but you can't talk about the Summer of '08 without at least acknowledging it.

8. The All-Star Game: Any time we, as a staff, embark on a road trip, a few things are guaranteed to ensue -- hilarity, misdirection, awkwardness, and borderline violence. The 2008 NYPL All-Star Game was a classic example. In a three-day span, we re-wrote the lyrics to Piano Man to revolve around Gary, learned that my mild-mannered intern was a degenerate horse-racing handicapper, almost got into a fistfight with an umpire, had to help Brad Holt file a restraining order against Pat, played a cutthroat game of darts in a bar in which I thought I might actually get my throat cut, got lost five times despite having two navigation systems in the car, watched Cyclones pitchers blow away the best talent in the league, dealt with a hematoma on my leg, learned the merits of Denny's Moons Over My Hammy, wondered why Joyce was shunning a chiseled strapping Iraqi war veteran, almost went to an after-party in a morgue, and generally questioned the sanity of myself and all of my colleagues. And that wasn't even our most outrageous trip ever!

7. Fireworks Week: What a great idea. A whole week full of fireworks, with spectacular explosion-filled light shows eminating from a movable stage on the warning track. What could be better? That is, until we almost burned down the batter's eye, got fined by a fire marshall, and spent every morning that week on our hands and knees picking up spent fireworks shells from the centerfield grass. Next year, I suggest sparklers.

6. The Follies of Ricky: In the past year, we have watched the inimitable Richard Viola try his hand at catching (you can't really call it that if you don't actually catch any of the pitches, but whatever), fall just short of banging out 20 pushups before collapsing on the floor of Applebee's, come in a close second in a pre-game hamburger-eating contest, miss the mark in his try-out as a pitcher, use his Eagle Eye to work more walks than anyone in the history of 24 Hours of baseball, use that same Eagle Eye to watch fly balls drop inside of a two-foot radius from his position in left field, beat Rebecca in a controversial Battle of the Sexes footrace (I wish I could overlay Chariots of Fire music on that clip), get tackled and mauled by Maverick, attempt to lose 195 pounds in one week, exhibit a paranormal knowledge of all things Billy Joel, make inappropriate comments and advances to men and women at all ends of the spectrum, inquire about purchasing a trained skunk, and regale newcomers to the organization with his exploits (and eventual shame) as a standout High School Wide receiver. You absolutely never know what you're getting from Ricky, but at least you always know it'll be entertaining.

5. Cohen in Costume: Let me preface this with a bit of brown-nosing...there aren't many GMs of successful teams who do what Steve does in the name of entertainment. The guy will literally do anything to make the Cyclones more fun -- on the field, in the stands, or in the office. That includes taste-testing pork rinds and Robbie Dawg treats, singing imaginary lyrics to Broadway musicals in the rain, or screaming a makeshift version of the Spanish language at a street fair. However, when Steve gets in costume, that's when he's at his best. Some of Steve's costumed 2008 highlights include singing Happy Birthday to Joyce while wearing a Sandy the Seagull costume; taunting fans, Applebee's Man, and Warner Fusselle as the Pink Ape or the Land Shark (AKA "Man in a Grey Suit"); nearly asphyxiating as Radioactive Man on Superhero Night; or berating the Ticket Office for their lackluster work ethic while dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow.

4. Mad Mahoney: Kevin's been known to have a temper, just a slight one, from time to time. In 2008, he nearly came to blows with a 75-year-old umpire in a charity game (the guy deserved it...he told Kevin to turn his hat around), two interns at the annual softball game (they deserved it...for being interns), a Parks Department official on the boardwalk (she deserved it...she told Maverick not to poop on the sand), the first-base coach for the Produce Team during 24 Hours of baseball (he deserved it...the pitcher on his team was actually trying to pitch well against us), a pizza delivery guy (he deserved it...he tried to deliver a pizza with broccoli that we ordered), Rishi, Gary, Steve, me, two Season Ticket Holders, the UPS guy, the clubhouse guy, Edgar Alfonzo, Gary, a guy from an ad agency, Carl Erskine, Dean Bell, Gary, a traffic cop, the exterminator, members of the Military Olympics Team, Joe Smith, Carlos Muniz, David Wright, and Gary. I have to admit, I've been known to egg him on from time to time, as well. At this point, I just like to see how quickly I can get him to blow his stack, and try to see if I can beat my own personal best times. I'm pretty sure by the time he gets to this sentence, he'll be coming down the hall to kill me. Success!

3. Down the Stretch: By the way, we do mix in some baseball around here, too. After an up and down season, the team on the field had an amazing final few weeks of the season in which they went 12-4, including nine wins in a row to storm back into the playoff hunt. Unfortunately, we didn't make the playoffs, missing out on a postseason berth by one (measly, stinking) game. A heartbreaking loss on the penultimate day of the season sealed our fate, and a rainout on the last day of the year made the whole ending anti-climactic, but those last couple of weeks were pretty darn exciting. It was a fun team. Lots of good guys, lots of top prospects, lots of good memories.

2. Promo Nights: At the heart of the Cyclones experience is the entertainment that surrounds the game. This year's highlights included Pirate Night, Superhero Night, a Rock Paper Scissors tournament, Medieval Times Night (I get in trouble for the horses every year), thgiN sdrawkcaB, bobbleheads, special appearances, fireworks, clowns, jugglers, stilt walkers, and more. Basically, every night is a party here, and when it all comes together (and it doesn't rain), there's no place better.

1. The creation of the blog: OK, technically it was December of '07, but '08 was really the year it became really real. For real. And technically, it probably wouldn't actually make many Top 10s, but hey, I'm the only one with the password, and it's my list, so take that! (Incidentally, on the subject of blogging autonomy, there is nothing more fun than watching Steve break into a cold sweat and sprint to his monitor when I ask -- while unable to suppress a grin that he knows can't be good -- if he's read the blog lately. Good stuff. It's what keeps me coming in every day.) Full of inside looks and inside jokes, the blog is a way for the front office (OK, mostly me) to think and act outside the box a bit and share other sides of ourselves with Cyclones fans. It's also the thing that I will likely look back on as a cornerstone of my other-worldly success, or the reason I was fired, fined, and arrested/institutionalized (more likely the latter). But that's neither here nor here. A few laughs, a few interesting tidbits, and a few things that -- like the immortal Freedom Williams said -- make you go hmmmmm, and I'll chalk it up as a success.

Stay tuned. There will be even more to blog about in 2009...especially now that I've figured out how this whole Internetblogosphereworldwidewebbything works. (I think it's gonna be huge! We should, like, get a website or something.)

Happy New Year!

-- Dave

Friday, December 12, 2008

What Happens In Vegas...

OK, so my original game plan was to log in with semi-live quick-hit updates throughout the Winter Meetings from Las Vegas, but that was before I realized that I had issues getting online at my hotel (and by "issues" I mean that, as I quickly learned, like everything in Vegas, internet time was grossly overpriced and difficult to get to). So instead, from the "better late than never" department, comes a longer-than-I'd-like-it-to-be post-meeting recap that I hope will still be of some interest (which is currently being written about an hour after my red-eye flight landed, so bear with me).

The Meetings kicked off on Monday with the Bob Freitas Seminar, which is about seven or eight hours of idea sharing via lectures and roundtable discussions. Topics range from things like "How to Incorporate a Cash-Free System Into Your Business Model" to "How to Squeeze As Much Entertainment As Possible Into Every Half-Inning Break," and just about everything in between (the actual titles were much more catchy, but far less descriptive).

You have to pick and choose which discussions to visit, and the ones I attended were all pretty good. In my opinion, what makes them "good" is if you can glean one or two new ideas -- something you can either outright poach from another team, or something that sparks an idea to do something new, or improve something you already do. Lots of times they'll be very small things that might at first seem trivial, but actually all greatly contribute to the overall experience of a Cyclones Game (I won't bog you down with too many details just yet, but look for things like new endings to our Kiss-Cam skit, or a Make-Your-Own Sign station on the Concourse). Anyway, good stuff at the Freitas Seminar. Lots of things I think we already do well (and in some cases maybe even better than the people presenting on the topics), but like I said, if you can grab one or two good ideas, it's a success. And I alone jotted down about six or seven.

On Tuesday, we attended the New York-Penn League General Session, in which the league president, Ben Hayes, leads a discussion of several areas of interest regarding the NYPL's member teams. In addition, each GM briefly recaps the previous season and sums up any new developments for the year ahead. Steve, in particular, captivated the group with his update:
Ben Hayes: What's new in Brooklyn?
Steve: Well, we're getting new carpet in the office. (Silence.) It's blue. (At this point, I actually think I saw a cluster of tumbleweed drift by.) I'm pretty excited.
In general, there's a list of mostly boring housekeeping-type stuff like new uniforms for the umpires, post-game food spreads for the players, budget updates, and rules regarding teams taking infield at the All-Star Game. Among the more interesting topics to me was the ongoing development of the controversial BAM/BIRCO agreement regarding MiLB websites, and how our site and the way we do things online might be affected. Stay tuned.

On Wednesday, we hit the Baseball Trade Show at the convention center, which is probably my favorite event at the Meetings. Vendors introduce new products, new ideas, new foods, new designs, and generally hawk their services. This is a GREAT idea-generator, as far as I'm concerned. Seeing, feeling, wearing, or using the actual products gives you a true sense of what you're buying, and what may or may not be possible. Lots of these ideas are things that will be unveiled on our 2009 Promotional Schedule. I don't want to ruin too many surprises, so I'll keep most of them secret, but things like a paintable bobblehead, a customized Slinky, and a baseball card with a game-worn uniform swatch may make their way into your summer plans.

Overall, I think it was a pretty productive trip, with some fun, merrymaking, money-losing, networking, overeating, overspending, and (over?)socializing mixed in. Hopefully we'll be able to use some of the ideas from the past week to make the 2009 season the best one yet.

-- Dave

Friday, December 5, 2008

Winter Meetings

Starting on Sunday, the Baseball Winter Meetings will be taking place in Las Vegas, and a few of us are heading west for the event.

It's about five days worth of seminars, league meetings, networking, trade shows (by far my favorite part of the meetings), awards banquets, and idea exchanges that hopefully contribute to the enhancement of the overall Cyclones experience. Among other things, the Meetings provide an opportunity to see what our colleagues and competitors are doing, and vice versa. The gathering gives teams a chance to explore what works, what doesn't work, and what we might be able to improve on. Some of our most exciting theme nights and giveaways have been spawned at the Winter Meetings, and hopefully this year will inspire even more.

It's not ALL work, of course, and this year's particular location has made the '09 Meetings one of the most highly anticipated in recent memory. While we're away, I'll try to report in with updates and long as they don't ruin any surprises we have in store for the summer (or get anyone in hot water). I'll clue you in on some of what we learn, some of what we see, and some of the ideas we're kicking around. Basically, I'll try to make sure that not everything that happens in Vegas will stay in Vegas. But don't worry, your inside look will have its limits. I'll spare you the gory details of rooming with Gary, or as I like to call him, "Captain Underpants!"

-- Dave

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lunch: The Most Important Meal of the Day

Here at the hallowed headquarters of the Brooklyn Cyclones, there is one time of day above all others that is eagerly anticipated with bated breath. One time of day that causes us to move as a unified force toward s a common goal.

Of course, I am talking about...quitting time.

Kidding, kidding. I'm really talking about lunchtime.

In addition to fulfilling our basic human need for food, our lunch breaks give us a chance to get to know each other, and share our views on the world in which we live. We have discussed Russia's invasion of Georgia, and the effect it will have on the Braves' attendance. We have debated the merits and legality of a $199 divorce in which only one party's signature is necessary. We have dissected Adrian Pennino's cyclical effect on Rocky Balboa's psyche, and her uncanny ability to believe in her husband's Quixotic (that's for you, Billy) dreams only when he is seconds away from actually realizing them:
Adrian (prior to the fight, when all odds are against Rocky, and in his greatest time of need): "You can't win!"
Adrian (after Rocky's opponent is batterered, bloody, and face down on the canvas and the referree has counted to 8 1/2): "You can do it!"
The act of choosing, retrieving, and eating our lunches at once both unifies and divides us, gives us valuable glimpses into the lives of our colleagues and horrifies us with an overload of TMI. (Coincidentally, while we're on the topic of food, this type of TMI is much better and is actually quite delicious.)

The lunchtime process is not an easy one (despite the fact that we basically have five options which we rotate each week). It is fraught with politics, procedures, and rules that must be followed to ensure the overall happiness and efficiency of the Front Office. It has created clans and cliques -- seismic interoffice fault lines that can be crossed only at the crosser's own peril.

There are the Die-Hards, whose entire day seems to hinge on the midday meal. This group consists of myself, KJ, Ricky, and Joyce (who begins planning for, and incessantly asking about lunch at approximately 9:03 EST each morning...I think she has a tapeworm). We are the driving force, both literally and figuratively. We make the call, round up the troops, and use our caravan of cars to carry out the mission. I have often thought that without us, several of our colleagues would go without food altogether (which, in some cases, might not be a bad thing...Gary, I'm looking at you).

Then, there are the Occasionals -- Steve, Kevin, Rebecca, and Liz -- who may or may not place an order, depending on what the choice of the day is. Kevin likes roast beef but hates Wendy's. Rebecca likes tomato, basil & mozzarella soup. Liz likes to get out of the office. Steve likes the idea of someone bringing him his food, and hates the idea of leaving his desk. This is the group that must always be offered lunch, but will not always accept the invitation. The Wild Cards, if you will.

Steve, by the way, will ask what the options are at the designated lunch destination every day, despite the fact that he has heard these options thousands of times. Those of us being asked have given up on giving him accurate information:
Die Hard: We're going to the Soup Shop today, Steve. Want anything?
Steve: What do they have there?
Die Hard: Soup.
Steve: Sounds good. I'll take one of those.
On the other side of the ballpark lies the Ticket Office, and within its walls, Chris, John, and Pat -- the Hermits. These denizens of the T.O. are modern-day Yetis or Loch Ness Monsters. Tales of their exploits are legendary, yet they have never been captured on film, and are all but invisible to the naked eye. Days -- sometimes weeks -- can go by without catching a glimpse of these rare creatures outside of their habitat. Only Joyce, and Rob before her, has ever been able to escape the T.O.'s icy grip and enjoy quality time with the rest of humanity. No one knows what they eat, and no one asks.

There is Sharon -- the Ninja -- who will magically appear at her desk only after the Die Hards have taken orders and left, or will order food and then disapper, leaving her food to sit untouched on her desk for the remainder of the day. In either case, guilt ensues.

There are the Accountants -- Sharif, Tatiana, and Olena -- who bring their lunches every day, and are both financially- and health-conscious. Wierdos.

There is Operations -- Vlad, Ponte, and Jesse -- who are one level up in terms of visibility from the T.O. We don't see them much, and we don't ask questions. They always seem to be doing something important.

And last, but not least, there is the Perone. Gary is an entity unto himself. He will make plans with three different people for the same time, field calls on three different phone lines while everyone else waits by the door, agree to go and never show up, or decide not to go and show up anyway. He always needs "five minutes," which invariably turn into 10, before finally, 15 minutes later, asking you to just pick him up whatever you're having and bring it back for him, thus making your 20-minute wait pointless.

Ahhh, lunchtime with the Cyclones. From pizza to paninis. From Value Meals to the Dollar Menu. From cold cuts to hot soup. It brings us together and tears us apart. And in the end, it all tastes like chicken.

What are we eating tomorrow?

-- Dave

Friday, November 7, 2008

Let the Memory Live Again

When we meet someone new, we often get the question: “What do you do for a living?” And when I answer that I work for the Brooklyn Cyclones, I always anticipate the inevitable follow-up: “Wow...That must be awesome...what's it like?” That’s when my eyes get a faraway look, as I debate what single moment I could share from the last two years that could possibly encapsulate the uniqueness that is Cyclones employment.

Here are a few of my most treasured memories (I suggest clicking on this link and then opening a new window so that the song can serve as a soundtrack to the following):

  • Pulling tarp. As with most minor league teams, this task requires all hands on deck, from the GM, Steve, to all the interns. I actually think pulling tarp is kind of fun, except when:
  1. We wait until it actually starts raining heavily, “just to make sure”
  2. We wade through deep mud puddles with the tarp and I wonder if I should get a tetanus shot, “just to make sure”
  3. It happens to be Superhero Night, and we happen to all be in costume when we feel the first raindrop
  • Speaking of Superhero Night, my costume is a female Robin costume that I had ordered in a medium size, and somehow arrived in a small. This is also the night that Steve asks me to check on a bachelor party up in one of the suites, where I find myself having to explain that my costume has to do with the current theme night at the ballpark, and is not especially for them.
  • 24 Hours of Baseball. Our front office plays 12 teams for 24 hours straight for charity. I am the least gifted player by far, and keep praying, as I stand in right field, “Please don’t let the ball come to me. Please don’t let the ball come to me.” As we’re playing the Little League team. The one with the six-year-olds, not the eight-year-olds. In my defense, it is the 23rd hour…and I suck at baseball.
  • We hold an annual holiday party for the local children in the community, and Aardvark Amusements generously lends us arcade games for the festivities. One year, one of the games is Dance Dance Revolution, where one is required to physically step on sensor pads in coordination to the music. Rebecca and I have to be reminded repeatedly to let the children have a turn. Ditto for Kevin and Dave at the “Pop-A-Crocodile” game.
  • An enormous bucket of Hershey’s chocolates arrives, addressed to Elizabeth and myself; the sender is anonymous but is presumably a fan. This is the best thing to ever happen to me…until the bucket, still half-full, disappears from the ticket office. Mysteriously, the security cameras reveal nothing. Or so claims a certain stadium operations manager.
  • Before a sold out game, a couple of German visitors are having trouble understanding our “standing room only” policy. I happen to speak German, so I explain the policy to them and a short conversation ensues. I turn around to find the entire ticket office staring at me. Due to this incident, and my complete ignorance of popular culture prior to the 1990’s, Dave refers to me from here on out as “Stalag 17" or "The Spy.”
  • One co-worker, who shall remain unnamed, checks the caller ID on his phone and exclaims to himself, in a grammatical oversight, “Who ‘dis is?!?” Who Dis Is becomes the official rallying cry of the Ticket Office and is uttered each time the phones ring for the next three months, or, approximately 82,567,184 times.
  • The workout. After work one day in the off season, Steve emerges from his office dressed to work out at the gym in our stadium.
Me: “Steve, you work out?”
Steve (gesturing at his body):“This doesn’t happen by itself, Joyce.”
He heads to the gym; I leave the stadium 10 minutes later to find an FDNY ambulance parked outside, and wonder if the two events are related.
Ahhh...Memories. New ones are born every day!

-- Joyce

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

All I Really Need To Know...

With apologies to the book that made the term famous, all I ever really needed to know, I learned from Ms. Pac Man.

Valuable zen-like life lessons such as:
You have to keep moving to succeed
Sometimes you have to go backwards to move forward
Don't look back...something might be chasing you
We all battle the ghosts of our past
It's never good to be cornered with no way out

Lessons in morality like:
Greed kills
There is no right or wrong...only right or left (and up or down)
Mixed messages on risk-taking:
No guts, no glory
Sometimes, you just have to take the money and run
Dietary advice:
Fruit is good for you
Bananas are the nectar of the gods
Pretzels should be considered fruit
Relationship advice:

The more you chase a girl, the faster she will run away
When you stop chasing her, she'll chase you
It's never good to be cornered with no way out
Thank you, Ms. Pac Man, Pac Man, Junior, and even you, Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde. (And especially you, Aardvark Amusement, for giving fans the chance to win the actual arcade game for FREE when they play it at the ballpark.) Without you all, I don't know where I'd be today...besides doing something productive, that is.

-- Dave

Friday, October 10, 2008

Things I Learned at Work Today...

  • I might be the best Ms. Pac Man player on the eastern seaboard
  • Steve does not enjoy listening to popular 1980's video games while on conference calls
  • A good flashlight costs more than $25
  • Steve does a spot-on Gregory Hines tap-dancing impersonation
  • Gregory Peck was not a tap dancer
  • No one ever told Gary not to wear white after Labor Day
  • No one ever told Gary that dark colors are slimming
  • Rishi hasn't worked here in over two months
  • Kevin enjoys torturing people with dead rats
  • "Flat Rat" is probably not a good promo item for '09
  • You are only supposed to consume 2,000 calories a day
  • My standard lunch contains approximately 5,000 calories
  • Some bloggers earn over $75,000 a year
  • It's hard to host a rave with no electricity
  • There are 251 days until Opening Day (unless the schedule changes again)
-- Dave

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Note to Self...Invent Provolone Cake

We had to shut down the power in the office this afternoon to help out with energy conservation. (I'm still confused as to how turning off my 1997 HP printer is going to save polar bears from drowning, but whatever. It makes me feel like I'm going green, and it creates a good excuse to get out of the office.)

We took the opportunity to eat lunch as a group together, and as always, anytime we're all in a confined space for more than 5-10 minutes, uncomfortableness, awkwardness, and hilarity ensues.

From the Too Much Information department, here are some of the things I learned about some of my colleagues today:
  • Joyce can name several provinces in Germany, but cannot identify American icons Frank Sinatra, Oprah Winfrey, Candice Bergen, or Bill Cosby in the lopsided framed pictures on the walls at Applebees (she kind of knew who Elvis was, but answered hesitantly to that one).
  • Vlad enjoys a side of tilapia with his hersey's kisses. Who knew? Maybe it's a symptom of "chocolate fever."
  • Rebecca becomes enraged any time anyone mentions the word "trio" more than three times (her self-imposed limitation).
  • Joyce feels compelled to order three things and create a trio (trio, trio, trio, trio) even if she only plans on eating two of the three items (hey, more spinach and artichoke dip for me!).
  • Gary will eat anything. Lots of anything. And he like to combine weird things that no one else would consider putting on the same spoon or fork (or spork). He ordered a BLT. And a French Onion soup. And a Cobb salad. And mozzarella sticks. And a side order of fries. Then, he proceeded to dump his fries into his soup and mix it all together until it turned into some grotesque French Fry/French Onion Mush. When he ordered ice cream cake for dessert, he actually seemed disappointed to learn that they couldn't melt provolone on top of it (his personal favorite recipe from The Guido's Guide to Baking).
Anyway, while we were wasting time at lunch, we were saving the cheerleader energy, and saving the world. Hopefully, my time spent watching Gary engulf his 9-course meal means that a penguin or two will live to see another day.

-- Dave

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Battle Against The Old Boys

The undefeated Cyclones staff put another notch in the win column on Thursday, besting the Old Boys of Summer (a 65-and-over team) in an epic 13-12 battle. Some of the Old Boys were not actually so old this time around, but we didn't ask to see birth certificates (OK, well, we did ask, but they just kind of ignored us).

It was a back-and-forth struggle for the ages (no pun intended) that featured big hits (by both teams), poor defense (by us), great plays (by them), a near-ejection ("Turn your hat around!" "Shut your mouth!"), a collision at home plate (more below), and stellar pitching (by our guy...I guess their guy was pretty good, too, considering he just had heart surgery about two months ago). It was truly an exciting game. Not the kind anyone would sleep through.

And OK, even though my RBI triple (cough, cough, second one of the game) plated Rebecca with the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 8th, maybe I did get a little carried away when I got into a rundown trying for home and then slid (crashed) headfirst into the Old Boy behind the plate in a move that simultaneously (and accidentally, I swear) injured their catcher and horrified/appalled/ashamed 99% of my teammates (Kevin M. was the other 1%...he actually thought I didn't go in hard enough).

Thanks to our second win of the year against the Old Boys and the trouncing of the interns we have now defeated all challengers -- ranging from 18 to 85 years old -- to keep our record unblemished. Next up is our annual trip to Aberdeen to face the IronBirds staff, our stiffest competition yet. We beat them last year on our turf, but the road team has yet to win a game in the series. (Plus, six hours with all of us in a van is usually a challenge unto itself.)

So stay tuned...the official Cyclones season may be over, but thanks to the front office squad, the thrilling exciting captivating interesting semi-interesting somewhat-watchable action continues!

-- Dave

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Offseason Is Upon Us

And that means a bit of a slowdown around the office, and the Blog. After taking a quick TO to catch our breaths, both mentally and physically, after three and a half months of high intensity, we'll be back at it again soon enough -- planning, plotting, scheming, brainstorming, ideating, and any other buzzword-ing you can think of to make the 2009 season our best ever.

But fear not, loyal Blog readers. We'll still give you the updates you crave on meaningless inter-office shenanigans (like Ricky dropping to the floor to do 20 push ups in the middle of Applebee's in an attempt to disprove public perception regarding his physical abilities -- he got to 19 before his arms started wobbling like Jell-O in an earthquake and he collapsed. Check out the video).

We're taking on the Old Boys of Summer (65-and-over men's baseball league) on Thursday in the continuation of one of sports' most storied rivalries (just after Red Sox/Yankees and Duke/Carolina), and soon we'll be traveling to Aberdeen to take on the IronBirds staff in softball, where we plan to avenge Fonzie and gain a small measure of revenge against the team that eliminated the '08 Cyclones from the playoff hunt.

So stay tuned to the Blog, and to will still be plenty of interesting stuff going on around the office this off-season.

(And if not, we'll just make something up!)

-- Dave

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pictures of Us

The cliché goes: a picture is worth a thousand words. I’ll try to keep this blog post under that (Rejoice!).

Hello all, I’m Brendan McKeon and I make videos. I’ve been enlisted to talk about the 2008 Brooklyn Cyclones Images of the Year, which debuted following Friday’s unfortunate loss to Aberdeen. For those who saw it, we appreciate your patronage. For those who didn’t, what are you waiting for? Check it out.

I’m not going sit here and write up a blog post on video editing techniques. (This would immediately pop into your head.) However, I’ll talk about a couple things about the video and give credit where credit is properly due.

First up, the song choice. The song is always the first thing that’s decided on, as everything else needs to be molded around it. For those who don’t recognize it, the song is called Pictures of You by The Last Goodnight. I’ve been mildly obsessed with it since it came out last summer. (It currently sits at #2 on my iTunes “Top 25 Most Played”… what’s #1? Umm… No Comment.) As a production guy, I have a list of songs that I’d want to make a video for, songs that perfectly capture an emotion (or have a kickin’ drum beat). This fit the bill.

The goal of the end-of-the-year video is to capture not just the 2008 Brooklyn Cyclones baseball season, but the entire experience a fan gets when coming out to KeySpan Park. It perfectly answers the question, “Who are the Brooklyn Cyclones?”

Thus we needed a concept. How we got picture frames from the song title “Pictures of You”, I’ll never know. But still pictures in a frame tell a story that sometimes even the best moving images cannot. So we printed out some pictures, “borrowed” a frame from the office, and went outside to shoot a still image (confession: not as exciting as it sounds).

Most (read: all) the credit for the final product goes to catcher/editor/wall hooky hero Tim Nelson. Anything you’ve seen on our video board that made you think, “wow that was kind of cool” probably came from him. Kudos also to the rest of the video staff for giving us the great great shots to use in it as well.

These are the types of videos every production person loves to make. It’s something that’s been in the works literally the entire year (we’ve had a cut of it since mid-July I believe). It may not be the funniest or most creative thing to come out of the Production Dept, but I think I can say with almost 100% certainty that it’s the most professional piece we’ve ever produced.

With that, I’ll sign off. Hope everyone enjoys the 2008 Brooklyn Cyclones Images of the Year, and that everyone will be back in Coney Island for what will surely be another memorable season of Cyclones Baseball. Cheers, see ya in June!

-- Brendan

Saturday, September 6, 2008

All Good Things Must Come To An End...

Well, it was a pretty amazing run. It came down to extra innings on the second-to-last day of the season, but the Cyclones were eliminated from the Playoff hunt on Friday night, after winning 11 out of the team's last 12 games to surge back into the race.

That the team was even still in the hunt was impressive enough, after battling injury after injury all season long. And that's not just rhetoric, or some kind of excuse...check out the list: Zach Lutz, Reese Havens, Josh Satin, Ike Davis, Matt Bouchard, Matt Smith, Jim Fuller, Mike Lynn, Tim Stronach, John Servidio...all impact players that suffered injuries (and that's just off the top of my head).

Still, there were some pretty special performances. Brad Holt seemed to strike out 10 every time he took the mound. Kirk Nieuwenhuis put himself of the map by leading the team in just about everything, and getting big hits in clutch situations. Scott Shaw, Chris Schwinden Jimmy Johnson, Roy Merritt, and the entire pitching staff kept up the Brooklyn tradition of excellence on the mound, leading the league in ERA for the second straight season. 17-year-old Wilmer Flores became the youngest Cyclone ever, and showed glimpses of the talent that makes him a top prospect. 18-year-old Jenry Mejia wowed everyone with his high-90s fastball. The list literally goes on and on.

Just about every player did something this season, both on and off the field, to endear themselves to the Brooklyn faithful, and take their place in Cyclones history.

It was a pretty amazing run. It's too bad it had to end. But as the saying goes -- for longer than some Brooklynites care to remember -- Wait 'Til Next Year!

-- Dave

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Playoff Hunt

OK, you ready for this?
Entering play on Friday, three teams are still in the mix for the NYPL Wild Card – Brooklyn (45-29), Batavia (44-28), and Jamestown (44-29). Batavia and Jamestown are also battling for the Pinckney Division crown. Brooklyn and Batavia each have two games remaining on their schedules, while Jamestown has three. Winning percentage is the determining factor for a playoff berth, if records are uneven.

BROOKLYN (two games remaining)
If Brooklyn wins both games, it would finish 47-29 (.618)
If Brooklyn goes 1-1, it would finish 46-30 (.605)
If Brooklyn loses both games, it would finish 45-29 (.592)

BATAVIA (two games remaining)
If Batavia wins both games, it would finish 46-28 (.621)
If Batavia goes 1-1, it would finish 45-29 (.608)
If Batavia loses both games, it would finish 44-30 (.595)

JAMESTOWN (three games remaining)
If Jamestown wins all three games, it would finish 47-29 (.618)
If Jamestown goes 2-1, it would finish 46-30 (.605)
If Jamestown goes 1-2, it would finish 45-31 (.592)
If Jamestown loses all three games, it would finish 44-32 (.578)

The first tie-breaker is head-to-head record. Jamestown holds the tie-breaker over Brooklyn.
That means if we win both games and one of the other teams loses, we're in. If we go 1-1, we need one of the other teams to lose three games. If everyone wins all their remaining games, we are out, because of a tiebreaker. If Hurricane Hannah comes in tomorrow, this could all change for everyone.

I don't even know if this is all correct anymore. My head hurts, and I'm seeing stars. It's been like this with numbers and me ever since fourth grade, when Mrs. Levine introduced long division.

All I do know is that we have to keep winning. The rest of it is out of our hands. Scott Shaw on the mound tonight is a good way to get things going, with Brad Toy Holt waiting in the wings tomorrow. Sounds like a pretty good 1-2 punch to me!

Let's go Cyclones!

-- Dave

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

And Down the Stretch They Come...

Whew! The '08 Cyclones sure are making it exciting, aren't they? As of this morning, the team has won nine games in a row to surge into the lead for the Wild Card spot.

Nine in a row!

And they've been doing it in thrilling fashion, thanks to things like:

  • A 17-year old shortstop hitting .400
  • A switch-hitting catcher belting home runs from both sides of the plate
  • A fireballing closer striking out four batters in one inning
  • A leadoff man who also leads the team in virtually every offensive category
  • An All-Star pitcher who leads the league and set a new franchise record with almost 100 strikeouts
  • A league-high 27 one-run games
If you don't know the names of the players described above, you're not paying close enough attention (or you work in the Ticket Office). You should really make sure you come to the last three games of the season and catch up on what you've been missing!

School's back in session, and that means the kids need a pick-me-up. I can't think of a better way to hang onto the last days of summer than by bringing the family to see a pennant race that features great baseball and great entertainment. The way this season has been going, you may even be seeing a piece of history. It seems like something incredible happens, both on and off the field, at just about every game!

And who knows? This team just might keep on winning all the way to a championship! Stranger things have happened. Either way, you can be sure of one'll be a thrilling ride worthy of the team's namesake, and one you don't want to miss!

-- Dave

Friday, August 22, 2008

Behind the Clubhouse Door

The clubhouse is among the most sacred of places in sports. It is a team's home away from home, its sanctum, its place of refuge, its Fortress of Solitude. There are a series of rules -- both written and unwritten -- that police the behavior within the walls of the clubhouse, and foremost among them is that what happens inside stays inside.

But, armed with a small video camera, and a list of silly and semi-interesting questions, a daring duo of intrepid interns (Gus and Neil) made their way into the lion's den in search of some inside information. Some players agreed to answer a few questions only after much (non-pitching) arm twisting. Others had to be forcibly removed from the stage, Gong Show-style, before the camera battery died.

It turns out that once they are assured that they are given permission to make fun of their teammates and divulge harmless, yet embarrassing secrets, many players are ready to sing.

Who's the biggest slob on the team? Who's the most high-maintenance? Who would be lost without their cell phone? Can Erik Turgeon really hit?

Check out some of the Q&As on BCTV to learn a little more about your favorite players.

-- Dave

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fists of Fury

Overcoming weather conditions, a change of venue, intense competition, familial rivalries, and carpal-tunnel symptoms, one RPS gladiator reigned supreme.

On Sunday, the Cyclones hosted their second annual Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament, and were witness to some of the stiffest competition to date.

32 RPS combatants squared off in a single elimination, bracket-style tourney in the Brooklyn Baseball Gallery. Fists, fingers, and palms were flying, as the battle royale eventually weeded out the weak until only two remained.

James "The Iceman" Crispino, Jr. -- so named after the cold-hearted manner in which he eliminated his father, James Crispino, Sr. in the first round -- squared off against rookie RPSer "Yo" Adrienne Wilson.

Crispino led off with a rock that crushed Wilson's scissors, and then the two engaged in round after round of stalemates, reading each other perfectly, until Crispino used the stealth of the scissors to cut Wilson's paper, and her championship dreams, into pieces.

In addition to the pride and glory of being Brooklyn's greatest RPSer, Crispino walked away with a team-autographed replica Cyclones jersey and $100 in Cyclones cash.

-- Dave

Thursday, August 7, 2008

And STILL the Undefeated, Undisputed Champs...

The Full Timers, of course. (You didn't think you'd be reading about the game if we had lost, did you?)

OK, I'll admit, this space has been known to use some exaggeration, hyperbole, and straight-up fictional writing from time to time. But in all honesty, the 8-3 drubbing of the "all talk, no walk" interns on Wednesday was by far the greatest total team effort the full timers have ever put together. For the first time I can remember, every single member of the team made an extremely valuable contribution, leading to a big, big win.

Of course, we had our share of gamesmanship (and near fights) to start the game. I love getting into the young kids' heads. But from inning one on, it was all business as we shut down and the "all smack, no back" '08 intern crop.

B-Mac patrolled the vast expanse of centerfield and bashed a two-out home run in the 6th (almost lapping the lead runner in the process). Gary handled the hot corner with aplomb after a late defensive switch (Steve's arm was sore from his seven inning shutout earlier in the day). I scored the first run of the game, and tossed in a few "make 'em saw 'wow'" Web Gems for good measure (gotta admit...the dive into short left field was probably in my personal top 3 plays of all time). Big John Haley brought the thunder with 3 hits (including a controversial booming ground rule double into the soccer net about 3 miles away that I still think should have been a home run). Wall Hooky Nelson shored up left field with some nice plays. The next out Steve makes will be his first, as he went 3-for-3 and scored two runs, burning up the basepaths and playing stellar defense. Mahoney racked up a couple of hits, and provided the intimidation factor (to both teams). Patoy picked up a few hits of his own (and made sure the ticket office had coverage throughout). Chris notched a big hit and a big run in the last inning. Eagle Eye Viola had two -- count 'em, TWO -- RBI, including the insurance runs that sealed the deal in the eighth. Rebecca had a big hit. Liz busted up a potential double play that kept the inning alive for B-Mac's HR. Joyce not only had a hit, but ran fast enough to score from first, and not let Brendan catch her! And Kevin (Moises) Jimenez threw a gem on one leg (he blew out his calf earlier in the day). Everyone did something in this win.

On the other side of the field, there was lots of singin' it, and not much bringin' it. All those home runs that were predicted to rain down on the boardwalk never actually came to pass. All those pitches that were supposed to have us tied in knots never actually found the strike zone. And all those gold glovers in the infield looked at times like they were playing a big game of hot potato. But, they should take heart...they were probably our stiffest competition yet (even though we keep getting older and the interns keep getting younger).

Team Turmoil wins yet again, and convincingly at that. We're kind of like the '86 Mets...down and dirty, tough and talented, and ready to take on anyone in our way (whether they're on our team or not). In-fighting, out-fighting, controversy, shunning -- the more there is swirling around us, the beter and more focused we become!

So step on up, security guards, Aramark employees, Peggy O'Neils patrons, and all you other challengers out there. Consider yourselves warned.

-- Dave

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Are You Ready For Some Softball?

Today is one of the most highly-anticipated days among Cyclones Front Office Members. It's the day of the Full Timers vs. Interns softball game!

The softball game has become an annual tradition, full of trash-talk, boasts, battles for supremacy, and broken hearts (mostly those of the interns, who have never beaten the full timers). It's an exercise in bonding, and team-building, like no other.

Ahhh, I remember the warm, fuzzy feeling of unity when I told Chris Parsons I was going to punch him in the face as we argued over a call at first base. (Chris later joined the full timers and he and I went on to become friends...although we continue to threaten each other with physical harm.)

Or the outpouring of love when Kevin Mahoney cursed out No-Belt Keith, told him he looked like Max Patkin, and promised to slap him until his hat went straight. (Keith went on to work for the Super Bowl champion Giants and he and Kevin never spoke again.)

Or the way we all came together that time KJ had to be physically restrained from strangling Justin the Elf Boy for mocking his throws back to the mound. (Justin went on to star in as Frodo the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and KJ may or may not still have him tied up in his trunk.)

Heck, we're practically sitting around a campfire and singing Kumbaya with the youngsters.

Listen, we're a competitive group. You already know about 24 Hours of Baseball. This morning, in Game One of our doubleheader, we were merciless in our 9-0 victory over the Old Boys of Summer (65 and over former pro ballplayers). The undefeated championship Full Timers put it all on the line each year, and take on all challengers. We've never let go of the trophy yet, and we don't plan on today being that day.

(Best of all, the interns all leave in a couple of weeks anyway, so even if we lose, we'll still be "undefeated" the following year...there's no one left to dispute the claim!)

So let's see if the young bucks can back up all that smack they've been talking. Check back tomorrow for the game recap and results (Or, if you never see another post about the softball game, and this one is deleted, you can assume the worst.)

-- Dave

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go AWAY!

Unbelievable. Somebody here must have done something to tick off the Big Guy upstairs. (OK, truth be told, if you know this group, just about everyone here has done something to tick off the Big Guy upstairs, but still.)

It seems like every single night we have a game, it rains. Or there's the threat of rain. Or it's just about to rain.

Every. Single. Game.

I think I have pulled the tarp more times this season than in any of my previous seven seasons. Maybe more than all seven combined!

It's gotten to the point that when Al Roker and Chris Cimino give me the 10-day forecast, I can tell which days are game days by the ones that have the dark thundercloud and crackling lightning on them.

I'm really starting to hate the weathermen.

Now, here's the amazing thing. We still haven't had a rainout! When you play 76 games in 82 days -- and three of those off days are travel/All-Star Game days, a rainout can throw everything into turmoil. And so, our staff attacks the post-rain field like no other. You've probably seen us if you've been to any game with a delay. We're raking, squeegeeing, dumping, pumping, dragging, and doing just about everything we can to get the field ready to go. I've ruined countless pairs of pants and shoes, and have that unmistakable brown hue at the bottom of just about every pair of frayed gameday khakis I own.

I've seen guys with their hands down the drain up to their shoulders. I've even seen -- no exagerration -- a colleague hold his breath, and go fully submerged into the muck to pull off a clogged drain cover (Steve Gresh, 2002).

When it rains, it's all hands on deck, and everyone from the GM to the interns becomes an immediate and eternal member of the Grounds Crew.

Players will often look outside, see end-of-the-world type of rain, and say something like "no way we play tonight, right?" Without fail, I'll tell them to be ready, because I've seen worse, and we've still played.

Even in the driving rain, a couple of thousand people will undoubtedly still show up (that's the other comment players always make..."these are the most loyal fans I've ever seen"), and that means we have a responsibility to try everything we can to get the game in.

So, next time you're thinking about skipping a game because it rained earlier in the day, think again. We're all probably outside, putting the finishing touches on the field and getting ready to play ball!

It's a bonding experience of sorts...a fraternity that all minor league baseball employees belong to (and are forced into). It's kind of like being in a foxhole. You really see what people are made of.

But I can think of lots of other ways to bond that don't involve dirt, mud, and me getting soaking wet while doing backbreaking manual labor in front of thousands of angry and anxious fans. So pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease -- pretty please -- no more rain. Please.

-- Dave

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

One, two, three...SHOOT!

Rock, Paper, Scissors (RPS) might be my favorite game ever. When you win, there is a feeling of power -- of having outsmarted your opponent, and beaten them with both wits and will. When you lose, you can just chalk it up to random luck.

RPS has been played since the beginning of time. Adam threw rock, Eve threw paper, and the rest is history.

OK, maybe not that far back. But it has been an institution of sorts here in the Cyclones office for as long as I can remember. Rob Field and I used it just about every day (before the magnetic dartboard came into play) to determine what we would eat for lunch, and who would drive. (I dominated..especially since Rob's not here to dispute my claim.) We took it very seriously -- although, admittedly, not as seriously as some others -- and this was before soaring gas prices, so you can imagine what it would be like now.

Last year, we turned our admiration into a promotional night, and hosted an RPS Tournament on the field before a game. 64 combatants waged war, with one champion emerging victorious. (And Rob lost in the first round to an 8-year-old! This time, I have visual proof.)

This year, we'll host the 2oo8 RPS tourney on Sunday, August 10th. For $15 you get a Box Seat for that night's game and an official tourney t-shirt. And of course, the chance to battle for pride, glory, and a great Cyclones prize pack!

Anyone who wants to participate should call (Big) John Haley at 718-37-BKLYN, or, since you're obviously fans of the blogosphere, just email him. 64 will enter, but only one will win!

Just remember, if you square off against me, don't throw paper, 'cause i got some scissors for you, right here!

(Or maybe I'm just using the threat of scissors to bait you into throwing rock, 'cause i got some paper for you right here! Or maybe -- just maybe -- I'm making you think I'm using the scissors to bait you into rock and take you with paper, so that you'll actually throw scissors...'cause I got some big, bad rock for you right here! See how it works? It's like being an evil genius! Or in my case, just evil.)

See you on the 10th, RPS-ers. Bring your A game, or don't bring anything at all (except 15 bucks to participate, and a hand, of course).

-- Dave

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Jonas Brothers

Do the names Kevin, Joe, and Nick Jonas mean anything to you? Do they make you squeal uncontrolably at a high enough pitch to break glass? If so, you are probably either a 15-year-old girl, or Gary Perone.

Jonas Brothers are an uber-popular pop/rock band among the teen and tween set, a la Miley Cyrus and Hillary Duff. If you're like me (old, decidedly not hip, and still rocking out to Skid Row in the car on the way home from the ballpark), you've probably heard of the Jonas Brothers, but have an easier time naming the MLB divisional structure before realignment than you do naming any of their songs.

But trust me on this...they're huge. And if you have kids in that 12-to-16 range, you will be an absolute hero if you come home with tickets to see the Brothers in concert.

On Sunday, July 27th, you have the chance to do just that, when one lucky fan will leave the Cyclones game with two FREE tix to see the Jonas Brothers, courtesy of
Radio Disney. Just sign up at one of the designated tables at the ballpark on Sunday, then sit back, watch the Cyclones take on the Yankees, and hope like heck that your name gets called!

If it does, you're going home with tickets in your hand that will actually make your teenager not be embarrassed to be seen with you!

(And for the hundredth time...NO, Gary, employees are not eligible!)

-- Dave

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Into the Woods

The following is based on true events.

From time to time, Cyclones staffers head "out and about" into the streets of Brooklyn in a grassroots effort to remind fans about specific upcoming events and games, or just to get out into the community. (Side note: you can go "out," and you can go "about," but it's only when you combine the two that you reach maximum efficiency.)

It's a good way for us to put a finger on the pulse of the fans, and promote the organization with face-toface interaction. Going out and about, however, is not without its dangers.

For example, Steve Cohen and John Haley bypassed the "mean streets" of Brooklyn and hoofed it into the wilds of Prospect Park yesterday and what follows is an unembellished account of the conversations that transpired:

(Phone rings)
Me: Brooklyn Cyclones, can I help you?
Steve: Dave? Is that you? Oh, thank God! I have to talk fast! John and I are lost in the woods and I don't know if I'll ever make it back...tell everyone I love them.
Me: Woods? Steve? Is that you? Didn't you just leave the ballpark like 20 minutes ago?
Steve: We're somewhere inside Prospect Park. We've been walking forever and we can't find our way out.
Me: What entrance did you go in? It's usually pretty easy to...
Steve: I think someone's coming! I have to go! John, get down!
(hangs up)

Hmmm...strange. Oh, well. Back to Netfli...

(Phone rings)
Me: Brooklyn Cyclones, can I help you?
Steve: John's passed out. I'm carrying him on my back!
Me: John Haley? You're carrying 6'5", 240-pound John Haley? I don't think so.
Steve: Well, not carrying him, exactly, but kind of pointing him in the right direction.
Me: OK, where are you guys? What do you see?
Steve: Trees...lots of trees. And creatures of the forest...they're everywhere!
Me: "Creatures of the forest?" Who are you, Snow White? You're in Brooklyn.  They're probably just squirrels.
Steve: Well, yeah. But big ones. And they're making some creepy noises.
Me: Are you by the waterfalls?
Steve: Waterfalls! Yes! I think I hear them! John! Follow the rapids...they'll lead us to the shores, and to civilization!
Me: Well, not really. But if you just pick a direction and walk that way, you should be out pretty soon. The park's not really that big.
Steve: Not that big??? We've been going in circles for hours! It's like the Blair Witch Project in here!

(I've since discovered that Prospect Park is actually 585 acres, or, roughly less than one square mile.)

Me: Just calm down and tell me if you see any landmar...
Steve: Wait...Hang on...I know where we are. There's the Commerce Bank and the Parade Grounds. There's my car. OK, we'll be back in a little while.
Me: You gotta be kidding m...
Steve: (hangs up)

I think all went well from that point on. Although, come to think of it, I haven't seen Steve since that last conversation.

Anyway, next time you see one of us "out and about," stop by, say hello, and grab a pocket schedule or two. And if the person you run into looks like this, please give Steve directions back to KeySpan Park and tell him we miss him.

-- Dave

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Before I moved to Brooklyn, I knew of the Cyclones. I had heard all the stories of how after 40-plus years, baseball was back in Brooklyn. When I started working for the Cyclones, I also found out about all of the fun nights and giveaways we offer. And after Will Gahagan left, I was put in charge of a few different nights, one of which is Jewish Heritage Night.

If you look at our Promotional Schedule, you will see that we have Heritage Nights for almost every ethnic background. Irish Night is run by John Haley, Caribbean Night is run by Rishi Ragbir, Asian Heritage Night is run by Joyce Huang, and now Jewish Heritage Night is run by...Patrick. Murphy. Toy.

It's like that old Sesame Street song...“One of these things is not like the other.”

While I may not be one of the Chosen People, I still feel like we have put together a great night. For the first 2,500 fans through the gate, we will be giving away a replica jersey. On top of the free jersey, the band Eden will be performing a pre-game concert, we will be holding an on-field Hora, and (the coolest thing of all) the Cyclones’ players will be wearing special-edition uniforms with Hebrew lettering and numbers.

Some of those jerseys will even be raffled off throughout the game, with proceeds being donated to Otsar Family Services.

You can get your individual tickets now by calling (718) 507-TIXX or by clicking here. I hope to see everyone there. Come say hello. I will be the Gentile schvitzing up a storm, hoping the night goes well.

-- Pat

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Sad Goodbye

The Cyclones lost a member of our extended family this weekend, when 28-year-old Luz Portobanco was tragically killed in a car accident in Nicaragua, while playing for a summer league team in the country of his birth. Portobanco was an original Cyclone who was the starting pitcher in the franchise's first-ever game (June 19th, at Jamestown).

"Porto" was a phenomenal pitcher for the 2001 Cyclones, who, along with Ross Peeples, Mike Cox, Harold Eckert, and Lenny DiNardo, made up the vaunted "five aces" that led the team to its best record ever and a NYPL co-championship. Porto went 5-3 with a 2.04 ERA in 2001, and he saved his best for the biggest games. He set the tone for the burgeoning rivalry by going 3-0 with a 0.53 ERA and 14 strikeouts in three dominant games against the Staten Island Yankees.

But Porto meant so much more to that team than just the numbers he produced. He was a focal point, and a leader...a bulldog of a competitor who exuded confidence, and gave the team its swagger. He was also a good-hearted jokester who captivated teammates, media, fans, front office members, and everyone else he came in contact with, with a mischievous and contagious smile.

I'll always remember Porto at the heart of that magical inaugural season -- someone who lived life loud and with passion, who thought of his teammates as brothers, and of Brooklyn as a second home (or third, actually, after his beloved "Me-Ah-Meee!" as he would often yell). And I'll think of him leading the charge in one of the most joyous and raucous moments ever at KeySpan Park, dancing the Cha-Cha Slide on the infield along with teammates and fans after the 2001 playoff victory over Staten Island (#32 in the picture below).

The Cyclones will honor Portobanco with a moment of silence prior to Saturday's game. We wish all the best to his family, friends, and loved ones.

-- Dave

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bark In the Park

If you haven’t heard of Maverick the Wonder Dog by now, then you haven’t been coming to enough of our games. If you are currently reading this blog, however, then you are probably aware that the Cyclones (or technically, Rebecca Schwartz, the Entertainment Manager), now proudly own an office puppy. As anticipated, Maverick is fun to play with, and even more fun to hand back to Rebecca when it’s time to take him outside/feed him/do anything with him that requires work. Watching Rebecca look after Maverick is not entirely unlike watching a mother chase and clean up after an energetic toddler (except I guess, and hope, that most mothers do not lock up their children in kennels when they’re being naughty).

So we at the Cyclones would like to give all dog owners their due respect and invite them out to our Bark in the Park Night on Monday, August 11th, sponsored by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals and Maddie’s Fund. On this night, fans are welcome to bring their canine companions to the bleacher area of our ballpark. Bleacher tickets are only $7, and each human and doggy needs a ticket (yup, like many of their owners, we view the dogs as people). Tickets can be ordered over the phone with me (718-382-2619) and picked up at the back gate on the day of the game, where dog owners will then be asked to sign a waiver of liability.

We are also giving out Maverick the Wonder Dog bobbleheads, so be sure to line up when gates open at 5:30 p.m. (the game starts at 7:00 p.m.). The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals will also be showcasing some fine dogs for adoption. Finally, we are organizing a small expo with local businesses from the pet supply industry behind our bleachers, so be ready to take home some promotional samples.

All in all, if you’re a dog-lover, you won’t want to miss this game!

-- Joyce

Saturday, July 5, 2008

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-- evaD

!nuf emos evah ll'uoy tsael ta tub ,yaw taht yllis ytterp skool ti ,llew...yuo gnikool edisni eht morf tub ,ni gnikool edistuo eht morf ylis kool yam ti ,em tsurT !etapicitraP !pu sseD .nuf eht no ni teg dna stekcit ruoy teG .thgin leoJ ylliB ,thgin eniksrE lraC ,thgin nretsew yrtnuoc ,sthgin egatireh...erots ni sthgin taerg fo snot llis era erehT .(ma yllamron I noisrev sdrawrof eht ot desoppo sa) nooffub sdrawkcab a dna ,orehrepus a ,etarip a neeb yaerla ev'I dna ,ni semag enin ylno er'eW .ereh dnuora ees ll'uoy tahw wonk reven tsuj uoY

.(esnes edam lla yllanif ti ,ecno rof dna ,cixelsyd er'uoy sselnu) krapllab eht ta thgin gnisufnoc yllaer a tsuj ylbaborp saw ti ,esiwrehto...sekoj eht tog dna ,emit doog a dah enoyreve yllufepoH

.(esruoc fo ,skcab ruo dniheb) strihs-t worht ot dleif eht otno esrever ni elibomenolcyC eht evord neve dna ,(!won gnittab ,rebmun 21 ,potstrohs ,eseeR snevaH") redro esrever ni stnemecnuonna eht lla edam ,sdrawkcab sesab eht dnuora decar ew thgin lla ,yawynA
.setag eht denepo neve ew erofeb em htiw pu def ytterp tog elpoep tsom erus ytterp m'I ".eybdoog" gniyas yb elpoep gniteerg dna ,sdrawkcab erehwyreve gniklaw detrats I ,pu txeN
.gnirettalfnu ytterp saw ti tub ,oot ,dnuora esoht nrut ot deirt dna stnap yggab erow I .elbatrofmocun ytterp...strihs ehT .melborp ehT .krow ot tnew dna ,dnuora spac dna strihs ruo denrut ew ,oS
.deppots eb t'nac ew ,dab ro doog ,sdaeh ruo ni kcuts aedi na teg ew ecno...won yb wonk dluhs uoy tuB .dehctarcs erew saedi owt esoht os...citoirtapnu tib a demees mehtna eht thiw gnissem dnA .taht ekil krow t'nseod ,revewoh ,draoberocs ehT
.sdrawkcab dluoc ew gnihtyreve tuoba tsuj raew dna od dna ,emag eht fo dne eht ta mehtnA lanoitaN eht gnis ,gninni htnin eht ni draoberocs eht trats d'eW .aedi tnaillirb a ekil demees ti ,yroeht nI !thgiN sdrawknaB