Monday, March 31, 2008

Ahhhh...Opening Day

Baseball is in the air again, as the major leagues kick off the 2008 season today! Cyclones fans know that the real Opening Day isn't until June 17th...but we'll make due in the meantime with whatever baseball we can.

Nine former Cyclones are on major league rosters to start the season (with a 10th, Scott Kazmir, on the DL), so there are plenty of Brooklyn alum to root for -- especially the two on the Mets, Joe Smith and Angel Pagan. They'll be taking on the Marlins to start the year, with Florida's roster featuring Cyclones alum Mike Jacobs and Matt Lindstrom. 17 Cyclones in total have made an appearance in Brooklyn and then gone on to appear in the majors.

Watching the rising stars before they're stars is just part of the fun of being a Cyclones fan. You never know who -- or what -- you'll see next at KeySpan Park!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

24 - The Return

If you read last year's game magazine, you may have seen a story about the Cyclones' 24 Hours of Baseball event that started off with "my legs are still killing me." And in truth, I think they still are. I don't think they'll ever fully recover from playing baseball for 24 straight hours (it actually turned into 26, but who's counting?).

Luckily, two thoughts got me through the sleep deprivation, the cramping, the hunger pains, the dehydration, the rain (thanks for that little interesting twist), and the fact that I couldn't even bend down to catch a ground ball by hour 15:

1) We were helping to raise money for a worthwhile cause.


2) This was a once-in-a-lifetime thing that no one would ever be silly enough to think of doing again.

Turns out, number 2 was completely incorrect.

On June 6th and 7th of this year, the Cyclones front office will once again take the field for 24 straight hours, facing 12 teams in two-hour games in an effort to raise money for worthwhile causes.

Preparations are in place to line up the opposition teams and set the details (and by "preparations" I mean me begging Steve Cohen to reconsider).

We'll be raising money this year for Autism Speaks, HeartShare Human Services of New York, and the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation (which will allocate the funds throughout Brooklyn).

Any team who would like to participate in this unique opportunity to play baseball in one of the country's premier professional ballparks can contact the Cyclones' Community Relations Manager Elizabeth Lombardi.

There is a $1,000 per team entry fee, with 100% of the fee going towards the charities.

So gather up your friends, co-workers, teammates -- anyone who wants to play ball -- and take part in 24 Hours of Baseball.

But trust me on this, make sure you stretch!


-- Dave

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bracketology - A Dog's Logic

Unlike the experts, I haven’t spent the last several months analyzing each team’s every move. I don’t know which teams play in which conferences, I can’t recite impressive statistics, and, until yesterday, I hadn’t watched a single game of college basketball. In fact, when these teams began their seasons, I was but a twinkle in my mother’s eye.

Since I don’t know anything about any of these teams, I will use the next best method to select my winners: random guessing. And it’s been working pretty well for me so far (I can assure you I chose correctly for all 16 games yesterday. Why would I lie about that? Besides, you can’t prove anything anyway). There were a few decisions that required a little bit of research. For example, I chose Pittsburgh (4) to win over Oral Roberts (13) not because of their ranks or the talent on their teams, but because Panthers are more vicious than Golden Eagles. There’s no way a Golden Eagle will beat a Panther. (You can imagine how torn I was when choosing the winner of the UCONN (4) vs. Drake (5) game in round 2…huskies or bulldogs? For the record, I flipped a coin. Go huskies!)

Some may say my method is not the best. I admit there are some flaws in my system. But, after all, there are literally quintillions of possibilities when filling out your NCAA bracket (I did the math myself, I swear). So whether you choose to analyze stats, pick teams randomly, or factor the team mascot into the equation, nothing will assure that you win your office pool. Upsets will always occur and the best team won’t necessarily win the tournament. Having said that, my pick for the 2008 NCAA Champion is none other than the Texas Arlington Mavericks (16). Go Mavs!

The Wonder Dog

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Promo Schedule Taking Shape

Many of the ideas that were sparked back in January are now starting to take shape, and with Opening Day about 90 days away, the 2008 Promotional Schedule is filling up every day.

We've got superheroes and pirates, Brooklyn legends and heritage nights, cowboys, babies, fireworks, and more! As always, there will be lots of great giveaways, as well, with a Cyclone Roller Coaster Replica sure to be one of the summer's hottest items!

So check out the 2008 Promotional Schedule to stay up to date on the excitement at the ballpark this summer. Individual game tickets will be on sale in early May (but you can make sure you can get seats at the game you want by purchasing a Mini Plan in advance)!

-- Dave

Sunday, March 16, 2008

We See Them First

It's one of the rites of spring (Spring Training, that is). Inevitably, some player without a name on his jersey -- you know, the ones numbered in the 80s and 90s -- will come to the plate in a key situation.

And at that moment, fans, reporters, coaches, and broadcasters alike start scrambling to find out who this guy is. How do you pronounce his name? Where is he from? What position does he play? Is he righty or lefty?

That's when being a Cyclones fan makes you look like a genius.

When #94 entered the game for defense for the Mets on Sunday, Brooklyn fans knew it was none other than Jake Eigsti, an All-Star for the Cyclones in 2007, and one of the most clutch, dependable players on the squad. When Jake made a crucial play at second base to hold the go-ahead run at third and keep the game tied, Cyclones fans knew that Jake had played virtually every position on the infield, and had the quick instincts to man the hot corner, so second base would be a breeze.

And when he stepped to the plate in the 8th inning of a tie ballgame with the go-ahead run on second base, Cyclones fans knew that Eigsti was one of the top run producers on the team last summer, and they knew he had a chance to put the Mets ahead.

Eigsti tucked a two-run double inside the third-base line to give New York the lead, and eventually the win, capping what was probably the best inning of his professional life (and those of us who know Jake couldn't be happier for one of the best guys ever to wear the Cyclones uniform).

I remember when I met Jake in 2006 -- a quiet, unassuming, almost shy, small-town kid from Eureka, IL (which he told me had a total population of less than half of how many people filled KeySpan Park each night for a Cyclones game). I remember taking Jake and Jeremy Hambrice into Times Square for a segment on SNY, and seeing the awe in their eyes as they walked the streets of Manhattan.

The following year, in 2007, Jake became a leader both on and off the field for the Cyclones. He carried the first-place club for about a month, notching RBI in 11 straight games, I believe (I'll check the stats in the office tomorrow). And teammate Will Morgan called him "the best third baseman I've ever played with." (Morgan even hung one of Eigsti's baseball cards in his locker, and called him "my favorite Cyclone.")

There are hundreds of stories like this one -- stories of Cyclones fans watching young men (and future stars) grow up before our eyes. It's one of the benefits of being a Brooklyn fan.

So next time you're watching a game this spring, and a player walks to the plate in a big situation, and you see everyone scrambling to figure out who he is, let them in on the secret. Tell them "I know who he is." "I saw him first in Brooklyn, because I'm a Cyclones fan!"

-- Dave

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Century Mark

Well, we officially passed 100 days to Opening Day earlier this week (it's 98 to go as of today). That's when it starts to get down to crunch time.

We're finalizing some of the promotions and giveaways we've been working on, and hope to be able to announce a preliminary promotional schedule next week. Let's just say there will be a little something for everyone.

We're still selling Season Tickets, Mini Plans, and Groups, for those that love to get lots of free, exclusive stuff with their tickets, and individual tickets will be on sale in early May (stay tuned for an exact date announcement).

The Mets and their minor leaguers are working hard in Spring Training, and everything's starting to come together for the summer of 2008 (even the weather seems like it is pushing for summer to get here as soon as possible).

This year will be a season of unexpected surprises that's sure to have all of Brooklyn cheering. And according to that countdown clock on the home page, Opening Day is getting closer by the second!

-- Dave

Monday, March 3, 2008

Folding Party

There are three words that are dreaded among staff members more than any others. They are:

"Tarp!" and "Folding Party!"

"Tarp!" is pretty self-explanatory. It means that it is raining (or about to rain, or might rain at some point in the day), we need to pull the tarp on the field ASAP, and we will likely spend the next 30-120 minutes soaking wet, digging, shoveling, raking, squeegeeing, or doing anything else to maintain a playable field.

"Folding Party!" is a different animal. What that means is that we have a massive mailing that needs to go out, and all hands are required in the conference room to do so as quickly as possible. "Folding Party!" means that the next few hours (days?) will be spent sorting papers, stuffing envelopes, sticking labels, re-sticking wafer seals, and, of course, folding.

On the positive side, a "Folding Party!" is also a bonding session, of sorts. With everyone gathered around one table, plugging away assembly-line style at relatively mindless tasks, it almost always turns (devolves?) into some of the funniest conversation we have. It's the time when you learn things you never knew (and maybe didn't want to know) about the people you work with day in and day out. And a time when you can unveil any insults or put-downs you may have been working on, without fear of repercussion.

Debates (sometimes civil, sometimes heated) range from which Rocky movie is best, to whether Van Halen was better with David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar, to where David Wright should bat in the lineup, to the effectiveness of the Sopranos' ending, to what law firms have the funniest names, to what is happening on the island in Lost, to what promo items this year will pull in the most money on Ebay.

Questions like "what are you thinking right now?" inevitably break any silence that occurs. Retelling of "glory days" stories of high school or college baseball (or, more interestingly, football) exploits enthrall some and bore others.

It's a time when we learn interns' names (and try to remember the names of the ones we were in a Folding Party with less than a year ago).

In the next few days, you may receive a brochure outlining the various ways to become a part of the Cyclones experience this summer. As you tear open those wafer seals (if they're immaculately lined up, that's probably my handiwork) and get excited for baseball season, know that your brochure has traveled all the way from our "Folding Party!" to your hands.

Take good care of them.

-- Dave