Thursday, January 31, 2008

Stars of the Future

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few days, you've heard that the Mets may acquire two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana from the Twins.

What you probably don't know is that Santana, like several other big-league stars, is an alum of the New York-Penn League -- the same league in which the Cyclones play. In 1997 and 1998, Santana played for the Auburn Doubledays -- then a Houston Astros' affiliate. Santana pitched in just one game for Auburn in 1997, but made 15 starts in '98, going 7-5 with a 4.36 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 86.2 innings. Statistics that easily could be overlooked.

It just goes to show you that when we say you're watching baseball's stars of tomorrow, we mean it! At any point, you could be watching the major leagues' next big thing...even if he doesn't quite look it yet.

Part of the fun is taking guesses at who that player might be, and trying to find the next jewel of the minor leagues. Who's next? Who knows? But I know that if you're at a Cyclones game, you have a chance to see them first!

-- Dave

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mav's First Meeting

This morning certainly wasn't the first time a staff member spent an entire meeting whining and squirming in their seat. It was, however, the first time that staff member could be appeased by a chew toy (unless you count an Applebee's quesadilla).

Maverick the Wonder Dog attended his first meeting this morning, with mixed results. He provided both entertainment and distraction, but seemed to enjoy the weekly updates from each department. He did NOT seem to enjoy being referred to as "she," but rebounded quickly, thanks to some random potato chip crumbs that were for some reason under the conference room table.

The little guy (that's GUY, Steve) is still just a baby, so he can't be expected to contribute too much to these meetings (after all, I'm 32, and I still can't be counted on to always contribute something positive). But in the months to come, he better polish up his presentation skills -- and maybe prepare an excel spread sheet or two, or come up with at least one viable promotional idea -- if he wants to truly gain the respect of his colleagues.

-- Dave

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bet on it!

There's no betting allowed in baseball. Everyone knows that. But friendly wagers involving something other than money can make for some great entertainment.

With that in mind, Cyclones GM Steve Cohen challenged Lowell Spinners (Red Sox affiliate, and New England area rival) GM Tim Bawmann to just such a wager, based on the outcome of each franchise's hometown football team in the Super Bowl.

The premise is a simple, but fun one. If the Giants win, Bawmann will have to make the four-plus hour trek to Brooklyn to work on the KeySpan Park grounds crew before a game between the Cyclones and the Spinners. If the Patriots win, Cohen will make the reverse trip and work on the Lowell grounds crew.

The idea was spawned by Assistant GM Kevin Mahoney, who loves to:

A) come up with different ways to promote the Cyclones
B) find new ways to put Steve in potentially unpleasant and/or embarrassing situations
C) use the thin veil of A to justify doing B

Steve, being the good sport he is, signed on for the bet, despite the fact that he doesn't know Sam Madison from Madison Hedgecock and thinks the key to a Giants Super Bowl victory is making sure Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks can get to Tom Brady. He knows New York is better than New England, though (despite the recent sports teams' evidence to the contrary), and is willing to stake his banged up body on the claim, with some heavy-duty manual labor hanging in the balance.

So cheer especially hard for Big Blue this Sunday (or don't, if you're evil and want to see poor Steve dragging the field and chalking the lines) because there's a little something extra on the line in Brooklyn.

-- Dave

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fireworks WEEK

Fireworks Fridays at the ballpark are always among the most popular nights of the year. People love sitting in their seats and watching the night sky light up over the Atlantic.

With that in mind, we've expanded the fireworks to beyond just Fridays this year, and have created an entire week of fireworks, July 22nd-25th!

Behind the scenes, the fireworks shows can be a little stressful. The usual Friday night shows are not under the Cyclones' control, though we work with and support them. They are set to go off at 9:30pm every Friday night, but as you probably know, sometimes our games are not quite finished at that point. The shows can be held off until 10pm, at which point, I have heard that the fire marshal on duty literally starts pushing the buttons to begin the show, due to city ordinances.

Unfortunately, sometimes our games are still not over by 10, so we have -- from time to time -- had in-game fireworks, rather than postgame fireworks. (Last year, in particular, we seemed to run into this problem every Friday night.)

This makes for some funny imagery (pictures of the players' reactions are great), some very unfortunate timing (the worst was when the show started immediately after JR Voyles had been hit in the face), and some interesting at-bats (Paul Lo Duca said he'd never experienced anything like it).

Despite the hassles and the heartburn they cause, though, the fireworks do make the fans happy. So, while adding a few more shows this year during Fireworks Week may also add a few more ulcers for Steve Cohen (watching him sweat out the long innings near 10pm can sometimes be the best entertainment of the night), in the end, we hope you'll enjoy them and make it all worthwhile.

-- Dave

Friday, January 18, 2008

Puppy Love

Each week, the Blog will contain updates on the newest member of the Cyclones -- Maverick, the Wonder Dog! The adorable chocolate lab joined the team this morning, and has quickly become an official member of the front office staff. Maverick has his own cubicle during the day, and will be adding to the nightly entertainment at every Cyclones game. Check back in throughout the year to watch Maverick grow up with the Cyclones!

Remember trying to convince your parents to let you get a puppy when you were a kid? I’m sure almost everyone can say they’ve tried. Remember trying to convince your boss to let you get a puppy to bring to work? I think I’m in the minority on that one.

What originally began as a joke has actually become reality. The Brooklyn Cyclones have a dog. Maverick, the new addition to our front office staff, is a 6-week old Chocolate Labrador Retriever. He has spent his first day of work chewing, running, playing, and – for the most part – sleeping.

Maverick will spend his first few weeks of employment getting to know his new co-workers, and enjoying being a puppy. But after that, it’s down to business. (Did you really think Steve Cohen would tolerate more than a few weeks of sleeping on the job?) As a full time member of the Promotions Staff, Maverick will be taught all the important tricks of the trade. He’ll be out on the field this summer to help entertain the great Brooklyn baseball fans on a nightly basis, so be sure to keep your eyes out for him!

Although Maverick, like all other Cyclones employees, will have to keep a tough schedule this summer, there is one thing he can get away with that no one else can: sleeping under his desk. (I was going to say eating food off the floor...but some of my colleagues actually already do that.)

-- Rebecca Schwartz
Marketing & Entertainment Manager

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Rest In Peace

The baseball world -- especially the Brooklyn baseball world -- was saddened this week by news of the death of Johnny Podres.

Podres, of course, was the legendary Brooklyn Dodger who, at 23 years old, was named the 1955 World Series MVP after helping bring the borough its only world championship with two stellar victories against the hated Yankees. Growing up, I had heard stories about him from my dad -- about his facing down the Bronx bombers, about his brash "just give me one run and I'll do the rest" pre-game statements, and about his blue-collar aura and attitude.

I remember meeting Mr. Podres at KeySpan Park -- it was either '01 or '02 -- and being fortunate enough to be within earshot of a conversation between him and our then-pitching coach, Bobby Ojeda. Podres had been Ojeda's pitching coach when he was in the New York-Penn League, with the Red Sox' Elmira affiliate.

These two were ballplayers through and through. Hearing them talk about the game, and about how it had changed, how the league had changed, and retelling some stories of the old days was great for me, as a fan. I remember thinking that these were two guys who lived, and played, hard. And that they had given everything they had to the game of baseball, and still loved it and talked about it like they were two little kids.

50-plus years after his World Series heroics, Podres' performance, and that of his teammates, still defines the Brooklyn baseball landscape and still puts smiles on the faces of millions.

We at the Cyclones mourn the passing of a true Brooklyn legend.

-- Dave

Monday, January 14, 2008

The best tickets, the best value

We're in the process of renewing Season Tickets right now, and soon Mini Plan holders will have a chance to upgrade to full Season Tickets, and then new Season Tickets will be available.

For those that may be unfamiliar, Season Tickets mean that you purchase a seat -- one of the best seats in the house -- for all 38 Cyclones games. But it also means much more than that. Each year, we strive to create more and more extra benefits for Season Ticket Holders (STH), so that you're not just buying a're investing in Brooklyn baseball, and enjoying the benefits of being a part of our family.

To that end, 2008 offers the best STH package ever. When buy Season Tickets, you literally you pay less and get more! In fact, you get over $300 of savings and extras!

At most sports, or entertainment events, you pay for your ticket, and that's all you get. When you go to the movies, for example, you pay 10 or 11 dollars a ticket, and see the movie. That's it.

Same on Broadway.

Same at a concert.

Same at most sporting events.

NOT the same with the Cyclones.

When you buy a Season Ticket with us, you get to see every game...but that's just the beginning. You also get a discounted rate, and get tons of exclusive benefits, like free Playoff tickets, free parking, free guaranteed giveaways, free Mets tickets, batting practice on the field at KeySpan Park, post-game autograph sessions, and much more!

In a city full of entertainment options, the Cyclones give fans the most for their money, and do it at a low price!

Here's a look at just some of the benefits Season Ticket Holders will enjoy in 2008:
  • SEASON TICKET PRICES WILL STAY THE SAME, while individual game ticket prices will be raised slightly. That means you save even more when you buy Season Tickets – saving up to $98 per seat!
  • FREE PLAYOFF TICKETS. You’ll get tickets for all potential 2008 home Playoff games at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE. That’s a savings of up to $60!
  • FREE PARKING ON MONDAY NIGHTS. That’s a $30 value!
  • DOLLAR NIGHTS. On select nights, your favorite foods and drinks will be just $1 each, when you show your MVP card, identifying you as a Season Ticket Holder!
  • GUARANTEED EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAYS. Two special gifts only for Season Ticket Holders, and you can pick them up throughout the season.
  • BATTING PRACTICE AT KEYSPAN PARK. Your chance to take some swings on the field, and see if you have what it takes to hit one deep. This year’s exclusive Season Ticket Holder BP will take place prior to the team’s pre-season workout on Saturday, June 14th.
  • SECURED EXPRESS ENTRANCE AT THE MAIN GATE. Season Ticket Holders go to the front of the line, getting you inside the ballpark – and allowing you to get that night’s giveaway item – faster!
  • GROUP PICTURE WITH THE 2008 CYCLONES. You’ll stand on the infield side-by-side with our players and coaches on Sunday, July 27th for this aerial “team picture” that you can print from the team’s website.
  • ONLINE ACCOUNT. You can manage your tickets – and post the ones you can’t use on the Cyclones Ticket Marketplace for re-sale – with your online Season Ticket Holder Account. And new for 2008, you will be able to electronically transfer your tickets for any game to the party of your choice, a business associate, client, colleague, friend or family member. The recipient of your ticket transfer will be able to use the Print-At-Home feature for instant delivery of the tickets.
  • FREE METS GAME. Cyclones Season Ticket Holders enjoy a night at Shea Stadium.
Imagine if you got those kinds of extras any time you bought a ticket to the movies...or anywhere else for that matter!

As you know, Cyclones tickets are among the hottest in town. Season Tickets ensure that you'll never get shut out from one of the high-demand games like the Yankees series, or fireworks nights. Whether you enjoy the tickets yourself, or use them to entertain clients or friends, holding a prime piece of the NY sportscape is a valuable commodity.

Between the great baseball, the fun surprises, the low prices, and the non-stop extras that are literally given to you as you walk through the gates (and sometimes thrown at you from above), you just cannot beat a Season Ticket with the Cyclones. We're proud of that, and we're even working on adding to that list of benefits!

Like I said, with Season Tickets, you pay less, and you keep getting more.

-- Dave

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's Raining Great Ideas!

Wow! We just got done with the brainstorming session. Almost five hours (and two lunch deliveries) later, it's safe to say that we have some great things in store for 2008. As predicted, the creativity, the sarcasm, the enthusiasm (and the Reese's peanut butter cups) were flowing, all leading to effective idea generation.

Looking back at 2007, we all concluded that one of the most fun and successful years ever was a result of a concerted effort to focus on the party atmosphere at the ballpark, doing something almost every night that was truly unique (and oh by the way, there's a baseball game going on during all this craziness, too). So, now the challenge for 2008 is to not only continue that momentum, but to take it even further.

One of the interesting aspects of the meeting was that for the first time in a long time, everyone in the room had at least one Cyclones season under their belt. That continuity is important for lots of reasons. It means that we have a familiarity with the fan base, with what worked well last year, what didn't work well, and how we think we can make things better.

We focused a bit on streamlining our process, from the creation of ideas to the implementation -- hashing out what we can do to be more efficient and effective. Is there a better way to pick between-inning contestants? Can we make our pre-games more concise? Can we communicate with each other in better ways so that there are less last-minute crises on gamedays? The answers are yes, and we think we've come up with a few solutions.

We also talked a lot about entertainment and giveaways. Without going into too many specifics and ruining any surprises, suffice it to say that we think this season will be even better (and funnier) than the last. Some of the favorite nights (Superhero Night, Medieval Times Night) will be back again, and some nights will be brand new and full of fun (all I can say is "Aargh!" The "contenders are ready," so "y'all" better be, too -- summer this sense make all It'll)

Now, the most important thing is to turn words into action. In the months that come, we'll be meeting weekly, and taking "ownership" (the catch phrase of the day) of the nights in question.

It seems like summer is a long way away, but 160 days will pass before we know it. It's going to be a great season!

-- Dave


Today, the Cyclones staff will meet for our annual "brainstorming session." This is the point at which many of the ideas you'll see throughout the season are hashed out. Theme nights, giveaways, entertainment ideas -- all the things that make a Cyclones game so much fun -- usually start with a seed planted at today's meeting, so it's pretty exciting.

Sometimes an idea is so perfect that it clicks immediately and winds up being brought to life pretty much as is. Other times, there's the start of something good, and we shape it until it becomes what you see on gameday. And sometimes, circumstances beyond our control lead to last-minute adaptation (which can either produce some unbelievably great spontaneity, or a flop that falls a little short).

The goal of this meeting is to generate ideas that will:
1) Help us keep every game fresh and exciting, so that fans are entertained whether they come to all 38 games, or just one.
2) Create an ongoing buzz around the organization. When you're in a market with more than 10 other major sports teams, and countless entertainment options, you have to do some off-the-wall things sometimes to make sure that you can catch people's attention.
3) Promote the unique, fun, family-friendly environment that is synonymous with minor league baseball.

The brainstorming part is fun...ideas are flying, there's some give-and-take, some debate, lots of laughs. What's important is that we don't just stop with the seeds of these ideas, but that we flesh them out all the way through, and stay committed to making each one the best we can. It's not always easy. We're a relatively small staff who all wear lots of hats, so sometimes you can be stretched pretty thin. But we realize that the more effort we give to a night, or to a concept, the better it will be. And maybe most importantly, the more fun we have as a staff usually translates to the fans enjoying themselves that much more.

We have a saying that we don't want to "just play Flock of Seagulls and go home," which means that if you're going to do an 80s night, for example, you can't just pick one song, play it, then do everything else the same way you normally would, and still call it an 80s night. You have to go all the way...costumes, hairstyles, giveaway, special uniforms, anything that will really transform the night and make it a truly memorable experience for anyone in attendance.

So that's what we'll be doing today. Check back in later for a rundown of some of the meeting highlights (and lowlights).

-- Dave

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Life in the Ticket Office

People who dream of working in sports one day very rarely dream of working in the ticket office, and I have heard it described as one of the less glorious aspects of a front office. But oh, these people are wrong. Our GM Steve Cohen might be the face of the Cyclones, but the ticket office is the voice on the phone. Chances are, we are your first contact with the Cyclones. Though there are times we inadvertently interrupt your lunch hour, we’re also faithfully holding your seats for you.

And now, besides Christmas, it’s the most wonderful time of the year: season ticket renewal time. This period signals the end of a quiet postseason and kicks off a rush of booking our seats and filling up our stadium in our ticketing system. (By the way, if you have season tickets to renew in what were formerly box seats and are now designated as field box seats, this Friday, Jan. 11th is the deadline to lock in the 2007 price. Procrastinators, this is your final warning. Seriously.) If you’re someone who enjoys baseball and a block party atmosphere, or have clients who do, there’s really no reason not to get season tickets. (I’m just saying.) Relatively speaking, they cost a drop in a bucket, you reserve awesome seats from year to year in a stadium which is usually filled over capacity, and of course, there’s a plethora of other benefits, like our batting practice held exclusively for season ticket holders at KeySpan Park. I’ll never forget the face of one man in his early thirties who arrived at last year’s BP session, rolled up the sleeves of his buttoned shirt, stepped up to home plate in his stockbroker work shoes and swung for the fences. By the time he left, he had the joy of an eight-year-old boy in his eyes. This is what the Cyclones experience is all about.

As we start calling season ticket holders to remind them of the renewal deadline, many times, it’s like calling old friends we haven’t seen in a few months. When I first moved to New York from my native California last year, several season ticket holders warmly welcomed me to the city over the phone and filled me in on baseball history in Brooklyn. A lot of people describe how excited they are to come back, and how much the Cyclones mean to them, their families, their friends, etc. I rarely witness more unabashed emotion (at least among New Yorkers) than I do when our season ticket holders express their devastation when the Brooklyn Dodgers left for LA in 1957, or the elation they felt when they heard baseball was coming back to their borough. The teary-eyed guests on Dr. Phil (not that I watch that show or anything) don’t hold a candle to our truest Brooklyn fans.

Finally, there’s nothing quite like picking up my phone and scrolling down a list of familiar names. There’s the kids’ favorite, Mable Marziliano, aka “Monkey Lady” who, along with the stuffed monkey she brings along for good luck, gets the party started in Section 5 of the stadium. There’s the diehard fan, Lisa Gavaletz, who, bless her diehard heart, cheered on the Cyclones front office uncomplainingly through the night and to the end of the next (rainy!) day, when we played 24 hours of baseball for charity (run a search, and you’ll see the article on…and we’ll be doing it again this year. Sigh.). Then there are the hearts of gold among our season ticket holders, such as Sol Moglen, who is the driving force behind the fundraising for the memorial wall on the side of our stadium, honoring those civil servants who died during 9/11; or Elizabeth Sunshine, who gives all her seats away to families with children who have disabilities. There are too many favorites to list here, but on a final note, I will say this: to those who ply the ticket office with chocolates and baked goods, it might not give you an unfair advantage for seating upgrades over people on the waiting list, but it will give you a special place in my heart.

-- Joyce Huang
Account Executive

Monday, January 7, 2008

Angel in the Outfield

My most vivid memories of Angel Pagan for the 2001 Cyclones involve rundowns.

It seemed like he was in a rundown nearly every game, partially because he was constantly looking to take the extra base, or challenge the other team's defense. What was most amazing about Angel in the rundowns was that he almost always got out of them! He had the uncanny ability to know exactly when to make the right break in the right direction. He also practically patented a move I've never seen before (or since), dropping flat to the ground in the instant before it looked like he would be tagged, causing the fielder to either jump over him and go past him, or trip over him -- and in both instances, Angel was back on his feet and off in the other direction before the fielder even knew what happened.

Overall, I've always said that Pagan and Ambiorix Concepcion were probably the two most exciting players I've seen in the Cyclones' seven-year history. Angel was the type of player who did something every game that made you say "wow!" Whether it was his speed on the bases, his grace in the outfield, his ability to create runs almost all by himself...he'd do something every game that made him stand out.

Well, now he's back with the Mets, after the trade this weekend that sent Corey Coles (a key part of the 2004 Brooklyn squad that was one of the best and most popular) and Ryan Meyers (who appeared briefly for the Cyclones over two seasons).

Sorry to see Corey go...he's grown up in the organization and was a good guy to the Brooklyn fans, but Angel is one of the most recognizable and popular players in Cyclones history, and it'll be great to see him play for the Amazin's.

Here in 2008, we'll see more and more Cyclones making it to the big leagues, and being parts of major deals. It's fun to be a Cyclones fan (or employee) and be able to say we saw them first!

-- Dave

Our First Blog Glitch

Just when it seemed like everything was running smoothly, and we were ready to blog our way into the New Year, we were "flagged by robots" at for "potential spam usage." As I understand it, this is fairly common, until you reply to them and let them know you're a real person or organization, and you can become un-blacklisted. So, if you've had any problems in the last few days accessing or clicking around on the Blog, that's probably why.

-- Dave

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well, we're back in the office after the holidays, and the New Year means we're really "gearing up" for the 2008 season.

Thanks to lots of great responses, we've worked out many of the kinks on the new site design at and more fixes are in the works as we speak.

We've also added a poll here on the Blog, so cast your vote and see what others are thinking, too. This poll only allows one vote per person, so it should be a tad bit more accurate than the previous version (which allowed players' families and friends to vote thousands of times for, say, "Most Valuable Player" polls and things like that). The new poll is over on the right side of the Blog, and will be updated weekly (or as close to weekly as possible).

As always, if you see things you like (or -- though I don't see how this is possible -- dislike), let us know. Click on the "comments" link below to be heard. Your feedback is what keeps this whole thing moving in the right direction.