Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Field of Dreams

It's true, almost everyone who walks through the gates at KeySpan Park enjoys their time at a Cyclones game.

But there is nothing like the looks in the eyes of the kids who get to take the field with the Cyclones, and stand next to the players for the National Anthem!

This "Field of Dreams" option is just one of the benefits (discounted tickets is another) you get when you bring a group of 20 or more to a game.

It is both heartwarming and hysterical to see little leaguers running to their favorite positions and standing at attention next to the pros for whom they're about to cheer. Or to see our starting pitcher remind the kids to remove their caps. It's even funny (although not ideal, or condoned) to see a staff member chasing the kids after the anthem because they just don't want to leave the field!

Bringing a group to a Cyclones game -- and especially participating in the Field of Dreams program -- creates memories that will last forever...for the kids, their coaches, their family, and friends.

For more information on Group Tickets, call our Ticket Office at 718-37-BKLYN.

-- Dave

Friday, February 22, 2008

Snow Day!

OK, so remember when I wrote about how much grunt work there is to be done in the winter? Well, it's not all grunt work, I admit.

Today we had a staff snowball fight!

Some call it "team building," or "gelling"...I think it's really just a chance to vent by rifling solid ice particles at high speeds at co-workers (in the general vicinity of the head and neck).

Not enough direct hits for my taste, but some good laughs (and some very sore arms)!

Now, back to work. Only 116 days till Opening Day.

-- Dave

Black History Month

On Thursday, the Cyclones hosted Coney Island's First Annual Black History Month Celebration, and it was a huge success (I really want to say it was "poppin'"). We celebrated with cultural and artistic performances, including song, dance, sculpture, poetry, and much more.

Over 150 of Coney Island's residents and supporters came out in full force, including friends (old and new), colleagues, and family members. The lobby of KeySpan Park was overflowing with talent. Our young people were awesome -- they performed with such passion and enthusiasm it brought joy to our hearts.

Our Master of Ceremony, Bro. Ronald Stewart, warmed the atmosphere with his walk down memory lane. Most of the audience could relate to his comments of Coney Island’s "good old days" and its hope and vision for the future.

There was so much history displayed in the gallery: hand-made quilts (Delores Deloach), artwork depicting legends like Jackie Robinson, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin (We Wan Inn) and Kwanzaa (Kumlia Zairee). We also had a moving speech/discussion given by Ashley Cobb (who captivated the audience). Of course, I may be a little biased, but I think the highlight of the evening was the poetry reading by my son, Mark Anthony, who read Do You Know Who I Am? by Maya Angelou. And a thank you goes out to Robert Daniely, who provided the sound system and the video for the evening (DVD copies will be available soon).

Africasso (Bro. Dan) overwhelmed us with his sculpture of Buck O’Neil, who he met when Mr. O’Neil made an appearance (at the age of 94) at KeySpan Park on African American Heritage Night. This year's African American Heritage Night is scheduled for Thursday, June 26th.

Afterwards, all enjoyed the fantastic food and atmosphere at Footprints, across the street from the ballpark, and we greatly appreciate their support.

Many of the performers had other engagements but they came to the Brooklyn Cyclones first, and shared their talents to support the first “Black History Celebration” of many more to come at KeySpan Park.

I can’t begin to express the love and emotion I experienced.

Thank you everyone for your support.

To see the entire list of performers, Click Here

-- Sharon Lundy-Ross
Community Relations

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wonder Dog in Training

OK, so maybe he's not quite a "Wonder Dog" just yet, but Maverick is still just a baby. Heck, even Superman didn't learn to fly till he was in his teens!

He's getting pretty good at sitting. Going up the dugout steps is no problem (coming down is). And he has eating goose turds down to a science.

Now fetching? That may take a bit longer...

-- Dave

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint

These are the long days.

It's not that there's nothing going on around the offices. In fact, it's just the opposite. This is the time that the foundation is laid for the excitement of the summer. It's just that the winter work is not the glamorous (or sometimes even interesting) kind. It's the grunt work. The real behind-the-scenes stuff that no one on the outside really thinks (cares?) about, but is absolutely crucial to the success of the organization.

When I tell people I work for the Cyclones, I can't tell you how many times I'm asked something like "is that a full-time job?" Or "what do you guys do for the other eight months?" It's pretty funny.

Well, this is it. This is what we're doing when the team's not playing games...we're working on our marketing strategy, our website, our publications, our ideas for promotions. The Ticket Office is making hundreds of calls a day, renewing previous ticket holders, and selling to new ones. They're gathering groups and tailoring nights around their interests. Our sales team is hitting the pavement, trying to partner the Cyclones with local and national businesses that will help to provide the support necessary to create the atmosphere that makes a night at the park so special. Our Operations staff is tending to the ballpark itself, constantly fixing, cleaning, repairing, maintaining -- so that KeySpan Park is in the best shape possible. Our Grounds Crew is tending to the field, edging, mowing (keeping the seagulls away). Our Community Relations staff is reaching out to our neighbors in the borough, ensuring that the Cyclones make a difference in Brooklyn (and beyond), even if there are no Cyclones on the roster yet!

When the lights go on, and the players line the field, and the National Anthem is sung, and the Cyclones are pitching and hitting their way to the playoffs -- that's the glamorous part. That's the payoff. But without the "winter work" none of that is possible.

We said early on that the Blog would give you a glimpse behind the curtain. Sometimes what you'll see is thrilling, funny, exciting, new, and intriguing.

And sometimes it's just this. The grunt work of the offseason.

-- Dave

Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Days with Fonzie

We announced earlier this week that Fonzie would be back to manage the team this summer, which is great news for fans, players, and front office staff.

Edgar Alfonzo was the first-ever manager of the Cyclones in 2001, and returned last year for a second tour of duty. All he did was lead the team to two of its most successful seasons ever, totaling 106 wins (with just 52 losses) for an astounding .671 winning percentage.

Obviously, you have to have good players to rack up wins like that. But I also think -- especially at this level -- the coaches are tremendously important. Fonzie brings intensity, pride, knowledge, and class. He's someone who has spent a lifetime in the game of baseball, and prides himself on doing things the right way -- and making sure his players do too. His teams have been smart, aggressive, hungry, dominant squads, and I believe that starts from the top.

Fonzie not only knows how to win, but has a burning desire to do it, too. What's great about him -- again, especially at this level -- is that he also has that same desire to teach the game to the rising young stars, and he finds a good balance between wining and development.

I've listened to him time and time again talk to reporters about that balance, and about how he thinks he can combine the two by "developing winning players." His theory, and that of the Mets' organization, is that winning breeds winning, and that success at the various levels of the minor leagues will translate into success at the major league level. By teaching the players how to play the game the right way -- with a specific style and approach, the coaches are not only developing these players, but they are providing them with the tools to win at the same time.

In addition, he's great with the fans, and does some outstanding work in the community during his time here each summer.

Take everything that Fonzie brings to the table and add two more coaches with proven success -- pitching coach Hector Berrios and hitting coach Guadalupe Jabalera (Jabi) -- and you have one of the finest staffs in the minors.

For many of these players, the Cyclones will represent their first professional experience, and their first manager will make an indelible mark on their career. The organization depends on the managers and coaches of first-year players to set the tone for what the organization expects from its members, and what it means to play for the New York Mets.

We won't know who our players are for a while now, but we'll know that whoever they are, they'll have some great coaches pointing them in the right direction.

-- Dave

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Best. Season. Ever

This year’s promotions and entertainment will be better than ever. Why can I make such an emphatic statement when the season is still a few months away? Because I’m asking you, the fan, what it is you’d like to see this summer. And who knows what you like better than you? After I hear from you, the answer will be simple: me.

My goal this season is to ensure that every one of you who passes through the gates has a great time at the ballpark. Regardless of whether the Cyclones win or lose (or don’t play at all – remember Medieval Times Night 2007?), I want each and every one of you to leave KeySpan Park at the end of a game thinking that your time was well spent.

Although our job in the off season is to plan these great ideas for you, you will be the ones sitting in the stands this summer. You are the ones that make the choice to spend an evening with your friends or family at the ballpark. That means you are our most important asset in figuring out what it is that you want.

So here is my challenge to you:
Tell me what it is you want to see this summer.
What kinds of on-field contests do you want to see your kids, friends, or siblings participate in? Are there any theme nights that you wish we’d do? Is there a giveaway item that you think would be a big hit with your fellow fans?

This is your chance to influence the atmosphere of the 2008 season. Your chance to help make 2008 the most fun and entertaining season of Brooklyn Baseball yet. And if it isn’t, you only have yourself to blame.

-- Rebecca Schwartz
Marketing & Entertainment Manager

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mini Plans

For those that don't know, Mini Plans are a great alternative to Season Tickets -- a ticket plan with benefits and exclusives, without the commitment of all 38 games.

Mini Plans consist of seven-game packs with specific dates and, sometimes, themes. The Weekend Plan is made up of Saturday and Sunday games. The Fireworks Plan features dates with post-game fireworks shows. You get the point.

Mini Plan Holders are assured the same seat, at a discount, for every game in their plan, plus they get extras like first shot at Playoff tickets, exclusive invitations, a free cap with every seat in their plan...things like that.

Plus, this year, there's also a Flex Plan that lets you pick any nine games you want -- not Opening day, but any other nine games -- so that you can literally create your own plan.

If you want a ticket plan with some flexibility, a Cyclones Mini Plan might be exactly what you're looking for.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Maverick's first trip to the clubhouse

Just like any new player entering the clubhouse for the first time, Maverick was both hesitant and excited. As he walked through the doors and his paws hit the floor for the first time, his tail began to wag. Although cautious at first, he quickly warmed up (literally – the offices are only slightly warmer than Siberia this time of year) to the environment.

Maverick wandered around for a while, nose to the ground, checking out the new surroundings. Even though it was several months ago, it was obvious that he could still smell the remnants of the celebratory sparkling cider permanently embedded in the carpets from the division clinching game at the end of the 2007 season.

After a quick tour and a brief photo shoot, Mav was exhausted from the excitement (he’s just a puppy, after all). He politely declined a slice of broccoli pizza and opted for a delicious bowl of puppy kibble instead. After lunch, he curled up for a mid-afternoon nap next to the heater (I know, I’m jealous, too).

I can’t be positive, but I’m pretty sure that as Maverick drifted off to sleep, he was thinking about all the great Cyclones that stepped foot in the clubhouse before him, and all the great players that will be coming to Brooklyn this summer – that’s certainly something worth wagging your tail about.

-- Rebecca

Promo Nights - Sneak Peek!

Promotional (or "Promo") Nights are the lifeblood of the minor leagues. They are the themes around which all of a game's surrounding entertainment is based. Promo Nights range from outrageous and outlandish to respectful and ceremonial. No matter what they are, though, the nights are all designed to make a night at the ballpark more fun!

Last season, we feel like we had our best Promo schedule ever, and this year, we plan on clearing the bar and raising it even higher. We'll carry over some of the more popular nights, and introduce some new ones as well.

We're still in the process of deciding on some of the nights, and there are still lots of ideas being bounced back and forth. As mentioned in the brainstorming recap, specific people will be taking ownership of specific nights, and putting their own individual touches on them.

It's still a "rough draft" list, but as a reader of the Blog, you deserve a sneak peek at some of the ideas that may wind up on the 2008 Promo Schedule: Saved By the Bell Night, Going Green Night, Backwards Night, American Gladiators Night, Superhero Night, Medieval Times Night, "Bury the Hatchet" Night, Pirate Night, Heritage Nights, Country Western Night, Baby's First Ballgame, and Bark in the Park.

Again, some of these might not make the final cut, and new ones are popping up every day. But this gives you a glimpse into the creation process, and an idea of some of what's in store this summer!

-- Dave

Monday, February 4, 2008


Cyclones GM Steve Cohen challenged Lowell Spinners (Red Sox affiliate, and New England area rival) GM Tim Bawmann to a wager, based on the outcome of each franchise's hometown football team in the Super Bowl. Yesterday's historic Giants win was also a victory for Steve.

I never had a doubt.

Points-who needed them?

OK, so for the last 2 weeks I assumed I was going to Lowell this summer. Plus my son Evan asked me about 100 times what day we were going and that didn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Although I wasn’t (I am now) a tremendous Giant fan (I grew up a Jets fan and took to the Buccaneers while living in Florida) I will root for just anyone playing a New England team. Don’t get me wrong, I love the city of Boston but the fans can drive you crazy. Dare I say I’m even conflicted on who to root for when they play the Yankees. I spent several summers just outside of Boston and went to college at the University of Massachusetts where I spent a good portion of my time debating the merits of each town’s teams. Back then the only thing they had going for them was the Celtics numerous Championships and trust me they didn’t hesitate to talk about them. Mets beat Boston in World Series? Big deal, they had the Celtics. You would think they were the only team to win an NBA title in the 20th century.

Anyway, I consider Eli’s scramble and Tyree’s catch one of the greatest plays in playoff sports history and am grateful they saved me from hours on the Spinners grounds crew.

I look forward to Tim coming to Brooklyn and just hope he’s working on his Cha Cha Slide!

-- Steve

Friday, February 1, 2008

Happy Bird-day

Just when I thought I'd seen it all! Today was Joyce's birthday (she's the charming Account Exec who has either called you, or will be calling you, regarding Season Tickets and Mini Plans).

Fresh off of an appearance at an elementary school, Steve Cohen -- the GM of one of the minors' most successful franchises and reigning NYPL Executive of the Year, mind you -- walked into the room and joked that he was available to sing "Happy Birthday" in the mascot costume for a small fee (famous last words).

Around here, you can't say something like that and expect not to be held to it.

Minutes later, said fee was sitting on the conference room table and being stacked, sorted, and attended to as if it were the championship pot at the World Series of Poker. This being the minor leagues, of course, much of the fee was anted up in nickels and quarters (we work for the love of the game).

With Kevin Mahoney -- in a shocking development -- instigating (and putting up the lion's share of the fee, by the way), Steve was strongarmed into actually following through on his promise.

One quick change later (Clark Kent would be jealous), Sandy entered the room! The Brooklyn bird tripped over his own feet a couple of times, and seemed generally less graceful than I remember him over the summer, but he was there, in the flesh (or feathers, as the case may be). I couldn't really hear anything over my own laughter, and couldn't see past the tears streaming down my face, but I think he even sang "Happy Birthday" and made Joyce's day!

Unfortunately, a strict mandate (by Steve) against video equipment ensured that there would be more photos of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster than of this historic event, but even the power of the GM couldn't stop the first amendment rights of The Blog (at least, until he reads this and makes me delete it).

Don't worry, folks, we're already back to business, but a little bit of fun here and there helps get the 'ol creative juices going!

Expect the unexpected, right? Around here, we don't just say it, we do it!

-- Dave