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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is a sad goodbye, the one's that never knew him, would of wished they did. He was a loving and friendly person that gave his all and his confidence to everyone who surrounded him.
Now is when everyone realises what type of person he was but it took his life to know who he really was.
Luz, I love you very much and I will ALWAYS treasure the moments we shared together.