Friday, December 3, 2010

Jack Voigt Said to Say "So Long," Not "Goodbye"

They come and they go, Hobbs. They come and they go.

Over the last 10 years, I’ve used Max Mercy’s line more times than I can count as players, coaches, managers, mascots (remember Pedro the Pelican?), and colleagues have indeed come and gone.

Now I’m the one doing the going, and wanted to post one last blog entry on my way out.

Some have feared/anticipated my Final Blog Post, worried that I might mention Mahoney’s homicidal dreams, Gary-ality, Steve’s ongoing battles with technology, Ricky stalkeriffic tendencies, Alexa’s electronic dog collar, KJ’s paralyzing germ phobias, and things of that ilk…but I’m not going to do that.

It’s been a great run, and I’ve laughed harder and had more fun than most people should be allowed to while doing their jobs.

I’d especially like to thank those of you who have followed this blog, and been a part of the craziness associated with it. The Blog started out as an online storage shelf for the front office’s inside jokes, and over the years has evolved into a space for the team’s personality to peek out from behind the curtain, and get you in on the fun with us.

I used to convince Steve that just about anything was fair game for blog posts, and quell his anxiety by telling him “don’t worry, no one’s reading this thing besides us.” The truth is, over 50,000 visitors have been a part of our blogalicious efforts, and your feedback, responses, and reactions (even those of shock, horror, or disgust) have kept this thing going. In the minor leagues – especially here at the Cyclones – it’s all about having fun, and not taking yourself (or the rest of the world) too seriously. Hopefully, this blog has helped pull in that direction.

Soon, there will be a new person (or people) filling up this space, and I’ll join you on the other side of the blogosphere, as a reader of the Triple-B, instead of a writer (although I already have some nefarious plans to log on and stir the pot from time to time!).

Until then, thanks again for reading, responding, and being a part of the insanity.

Now cue up some Boyz II Men and hit the lights…

-- Dave

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bowling & Brainstorming

On Tuesday, we held our annual off-site brainstorming/planning session, with this year's meeting taking place at 300 New York.  

For those that don't know, 300 is a state-of-the-art bowling alley/meeting space/entertainment venue, and it proved to be the perfect spot for us.  In addition to a really productive exchange of ideas, 300 also gave us a chance to unveil a secret from one staffer's past.  More on that later, but first let's talk business and get you behind the scenes of our meeting.

As we do each year, we first looked back at 2010, and discussed what worked, what didn't, what we did well, what we need to improve on, what we'd like to expand on, and what we can eliminate.  The general consensus was that 2010 was one of our best promotional efforts, with high-end giveaways (like the Ike Davis upside-down bobble and Jersday Thursdays), and creative themes (like "Jersey? Sure!" Night and our Salute to The Office).  Our Season Ticket Holder BBQ was one of the highlights of fan interaction, our new weekend parking policy was a success, our "everyone runs the bases" promotion was a bit hit (and will be expanded in 2011), and our Friday and Saturday night fireworks shows remain strong staples of our schedule.

We spent a large chunk of time talking about inter-office communication, and how improving it will make the overall Cyclones experience better for everyone, trickling from the staff down to the fans.  This is something we talk about every year, but this year I think we made some real headway towards implementing improvements in practice, not just in theory.  At the heart of the communication discussion was the overriding philosophy that every department is affected by -- and dependent upon -- every other department, and that effective communication among the front office will make everyone's jobs easier and their efforts, ultimately, more successful.  It sounds really simple, but if you've ever worked in an office, you know sometimes it's easier said than done.

Here's an image we all looked at and talked about, illustrating what I just outlined above:

After a quick bite to eat, it was time to really focus on some specifics for 2011.  In many cases, I can't go into too much detail until we 100% finalize some of the ideas and are ready to formally announce them, but I can give you some general bullets (in no particular order) to provide a small sampling:
  • We've got some new community programs lined up that will have the Cyclones making a bigger impact throughout the borough off the field than ever before.  
  • We talked about a couple of specialty jersey designs that we think will really excite people.
  • There will be post-game autograph sessions on certain dates, and we'll invite fans onto the field to meet the Cyclones.
  • We've made some enhancements to our giveaway item process, and Season Ticket Holders, in particular, will be very happy with what we have planned.
  • As I mentioned, "everyone runs the bases" will be bigger and better, as we open it up to Tuesday, Wednesday, AND Thursday games!
  • We're going to try to institute a series of focus groups this winter to bounce some of our ideas off fans before we implement them, and listen to your ideas and get your thoughts and feedback on what you like, don't like, etc.
  • There will be bigger discounts and more benefits for youth league teams, groups, and group leaders.
  • And in my big teaser for this blog post (sorry, but we have to keep some surprises up our sleeves), an idea was sparked for what I think has the potential to be our most fun-filled theme night ever -- one that I personally can't wait to dig into, and one I think you're absolutely going to love!
Again, that's just a sneak peek.  The 2011 season is going to be a great one, and we're all really excited to get things in motion.  If you haven't already done so, you can check out the 2011 game schedule and start penciling in some dates on your calendar!

Now, about that secret.

After the meeting, we all laced up our shoes and hit the lanes for some bowling.  As you can imagine, there were varying levels of skill and ability.  Mickey Miggy and Randy were kingpins who had clearly spent many hours tossing turkeys in The Bronx and Milwaukee, respectively.  KJ unleashed his always-bubbling-just-beneath-the-surface anger with every throw, sometimes ricocheting the ball off the gutter so hard that it bounced back into the pins.  Steve got low like his boy Flo-Rida, and followed through with a silky smooth delivery.  Alexa and Sharon bruised every male ego in the room by tossing strike after strike.  Mahoney stomped to the line and gave it a lefty launch.  And Berman, Ian, and I battled it out for the lowest score (which would have been great if we were playing golf).

But one bowler stood out from the rest.

From his graceful approach to his picture-perfect mechanics to his pin-pulverizing results, it was clear that this was not Gary's first time marking the maples.

In fact, with his fingers, physique, and deadly accuracy, he was sort of a dead ringer for another famous bowler with prehistoric prowess:

But as we all marveled at his innate -- almost preternatural -- bowling skill, there was something Gary was keeping inside.  A secret from his past that he locked away with equal parts pride and shame.  Little did we know that he was not, as it appeared, born to bowl, but that he instead had spent countless hours honing his abilities to become the master bowler to whom we all now bore witness.  With a little prodding, the truth was revealed.  Gary wasn't just any old bowler...he was the former captain of the Bishop Ford High School Bowling Falcons!

I know, I know.  It's pretty hard to imagine this guy as a high school bowler.  But I assure you, it's true.  In fact, thanks to some arduous research, I even unearthed this long-lost image, capturing the infamous 1991 event, in which GP's fingers got stuck in the ball and Lenny Kaplan heroically raced to his aid to help pull it off:

Kaplan was given a key to the city and Perone never again set foot inside Gil Hodges Lanes.

So there you have it.  Gary's God-given ability, the sacrifices he's made for the sport, and his high school bowling career is now all public knowledge.  I, for one, think we're all a little bit better for knowing.

-- Dave

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pop Sensation

I'll admit it...we were starting to feel a little left out.  

Steve and I -- the Martin and Lewis of minor league baseball (I'm Dean, obviously) -- were becoming the forgotten men in the Cyclones front office, what with Mahoney winning NYPL Man of the Year honors and Gary being hailed as MiLB's next Branch Rickey.

But thanks to an invitation to be presenters at this year's Winter Meetings in Orlando, we'll finally have our one shining moment.  And in the Sunshine State, no less!

Steve and I will be leading a round-table presentation at the Bob Freitas Seminar that we've tentatively titled:
PROMOTIONS THAT “POP”: Capitalizing on pop-culture trends to create promotions that will engage your fans and win you awards (or get you sued, fired, or both).  
In three 30-minute sessions, we'll be talking about the creative process and implementation that has gone into the development of some of the promotions in recent years that have incorporated pop-culture trends to garner national media attention -- "Baracklyn," "Jersey? Sure!," the Ike Davis upside-down bobblehead, etc.  (Click here, here, here, or here if you need a refresher on the buzz that surrounded some of these nights.)

We'll talk a little bit about what made these nights successful, what we wish we did differently, how other teams can incorporate some of the more effective elements, how we come up with these groundbreaking, innovative, cutting-edge, some would say "genius" ideas (hint: usually by accident), how we make the promotions media-friendly to maximize exposure, and even unveil a few of the pop-culture related ideas we've had that we eventually decided were too over-the-top even for us! (Maybe I'll share here after the presentation.)

So if you're planning on attending the Winter Meetings (December 6-9), check us out.  If you're not, we'll tell you all about it when we get back!

-- Dave

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hand Model

Remember George Costanza's all-too-brief hand modeling career? (It was The Puffy Shirt episode for those who need a refresher.)

Well, it seems that our own Gary Perone's giant hand has also gone Hollywood!  

I just hope Jimmy Dean Gary is getting some hefty royalties for the use of his oversized digits (at the 1:20 mark):

-- Dave

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bow-TIE Pasta

It's been a while since the last blog post.  I apologize.  But really, there's not much to write about in late September/early October (read all about The Cyclone of Life if you don't believe me.)

Today, however, we played our annual Pasta Bowl game against the boys from Gargiulo's, and while the performances were nothing to write home about, they at least give me something to blog about.

Much like the 2002 MLB All-Star Game, this contest between superstars resulted in a controversial tie.  In fact, the similarities between the two games are eerie.  In '02, the game was called because the major leaguers ran out of multimillion dollar athletes, since they didn't want to overuse their finely-tuned arms and bodies.  Today, the game was called because Steve couldn't lift his arm above his waist anymore and Jake had to leave to go to his second job.  Almost the exact same circumstances!

All in all, we were pretty pathetic.  We probably had about seven or eight combined hits in 10 innings (technically, I had three of them, but one was a pop-up to short that no one touched and the other two went a TOTAL of two and a half feet).  Our first basemen made five errors, Miggy couldn't throw out an 11-year-old kid (twice), Berman and Mahoney were taken out by a well-hidden sniper (Mahoney rounding third, and Berman in the on-deck circle), I got hit by a ball while running the bases and trying to be slicker and quicker than my creaky 34-year-old body will allow, Jake purposely got into the worst rundown in the history of rundowns, Ian threw jump hooks/shot puts from the outfield, Steve gave up perhaps the hardest-hit home run in MCU Park history, and Ricky thought we were all just playing a really long game of hot potato.

Three and a half hours later, both sides just basically gave up, because it seemed like no one would ever score again, and we were all just too tired to care anymore.

On the positive side, the Gargiulo's crew brought some outstanding food, so it was all worthwhile.

-- Dave

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Award Tour

On Wednesday, Darrell Ceciliani went to Citi Field for the 2010 Sterling Award ceremony, and I was his chauffeur/photographer/documentarian/manservant.

It was an amazing day, with all the award winners getting to take batting practice, shag fly balls, meet with big leaguers, and then be honored in a ceremony before the game.  There were six Cyclones/former Cyclones in all, and it was great to catch up with them.  They all have amazing memories from their time in Brooklyn.

Darrell would probably kill me if I didn't mention up front that he hit a home run at Citi Field -- a blast to right-center field that cracked off the Wise Snacks sign and drew some oohs and aahs from the executives and coaches around the cage.

Foreshadowing, courtesy of the Home Run Apple
In the cage at Citi Field
The home run swing
Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Wilmer Flores each took their hacks as well, while Mark Cohoon -- Pitcher of the Year, and still one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet -- was told not to go near a bat under any circumstances!

Afterward, Mets General Manager Omar Minaya met with the guys, congratulated them, and posed for a quick picture with Cohoon, Nieuwenhuis, and Darrell.  "This is the future of the Mets right here," he said with his arms around them.  "You guys continue working hard and you never know what will happen.  Two years ago, Ike (Davis) was in Brooklyn and now he's up for Rookie of the Year."  It was a pretty awesome exchange that brought a big smile to each of the players' faces.

Cohoon, Nieuwenhuis, Minaya, Ceciliani
Minaya congratulating Darrell on a great year
Next came the actual ceremony, with our own Warner Fusselle emceeing.  The award winners each donned personalized Mets jerseys, all wearing the number 10 to honor Darrell Ceciliani and his record-breaking season in Brooklyn.  Or, because the year is 2010.  I couldn't get a straight answer from anyone, so I'm going with the former.  The jerseys were "dirty," according to Darrell.  I immediately checked for stains, but apparently, when you're 20 years old, "dirty" means "awesome" (or "rad," "fresh," or "mint" for those of us who grew up in the 80s).  Also, I was confused, because I thought that "dirty Jersey" meant something else entirely

As Warner read each player's accomplishments to the crowd and highlights were shown on the ballpark's video scoreboard, the player came up to the podium, accepted his award and posed for pictures.  When it was Darrell's turn, Warner gave a little extra love to the home team, and gave a more detailed description of how electric and exciting DC was this year.  Then, I'll admit that I had some goosebumps when he roared into the mic "Get ready, Mets fans, there's another Darrell (Darryl) coming to Queens!"  That was dirty. (See what I did there?)

All the winners: Duda, Cohoon, Gee, Nieuwenhuis, Flores, Puello, DC, Rodriguez, and Tapia
Former Cyclones Nieuwenhuis, Cohoon, Flores, and DC
Darrell accepting his award
The "dirty" jersey
Finally, the players all threw out a ceremonial first pitch.  I begged Darrell to skip his in the dirt, because I thought it would have been funny if one of the organization's best players couldn't reach the plate, but he ignored me and fired a strike, as did all the award winners (where's the fun in that?).

Ceremonial first pitch
It was really a great experience and a tremendous honor for all the award winners.  I know Darrell had a blast (and yes, we know, we know, he hit a blast, too).

Congratulations to all the award winners (especially those that played in Brooklyn).  Cyclones fans will be following many of their careers, and rooting them on as they make their way towards the major leagues.  After all, when you're a Cyclone, you're a Cyclone forever.  Brooklyn's proud to say we saw them first!

-- Dave

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Truly Sterling Performance

Look up the word "sterling" in the dictionary and here is what you'll find (after several less apropos references to British currency and thickness of silver):
ster·ling [stur-ling]: thoroughly excellent:
In recognition of thoroughly excellent (as opposed to totally excellent) performances each year, the New York Mets name a Sterling Award winner -- emblematic of the team MVP -- at every level of the organization's minor league system, as well as an overall Sterling Player of the Year and Sterling Pitcher of the Year.  (Click here to see all the winners.)

This year, Brooklyn's Sterling Award is none other than our record-setting centerfielder, Darrell Ceciliani!  Ceciliani's .351 average was the the highest single-season mark in franchise history, and he became the first Cyclones player ever to win the New York-Penn League batting title.  Darrell set a variety of offensive records this year, in addition to his .351 batting average, also establishing new franchise highs with 95 hits, 56 runs, and 12 triples.  If not for a groin injury that held him out of action for a week, Darrell would have extended those records even further, and likely would have set a few more marks, as well.

And, oh, by the way, he hit a team-best .474 in the postseason, with six runs, two doubles, two RBI, and four stolen bases in five games.  In Game Two of the Championship Series, Ceciliani refused to go down without a fight.  The Cyclones had just five hits in the final game of the season, and Darrell had three of them.

If you've been to a game, you know what Darrell's like on the field...a gritty gamer with both speed and power who will do anything and everything it takes to win.  He can hit a home run, he can bunt for a hit, he can go from first to third, he can lace a ball in the gap, he can move the runners over with a ground ball, he can draw a walk, he can steal a base, he can make a spectacular play in the outfield, etc., etc., etc.

What you may not know is that he's barely 20 years old from tiny little Madras, Oregon, had never been to New York before this summer, and despite being the youngest player on the team, has become one of its leaders.

Off the field, he's a fiery ball of energy -- always laughing, yelling, joking, singing, dancing, and playing pranks.  He might have more fun at the "office" than just about any player I've seen wear a Brooklyn uniform.

It probably has something to do with this:
When I was a kid, baseball was just a lot of fun.  I worked on my family’s ranch, so I didn’t really play on travel teams or anything like that.  Baseball was a way for me to have fun and hang out with my fiends.  It wasn’t until my junior or senior year (of high school) that I started to feel like it was something I could be successful at, and then I started to get pretty serious and competitive.  Now that I'm a professional, I take the game very seriously, and I work as hard at it as I possibly can...but I still think of it as a game, and a fun way to hang out with my friends!
With a .351 average, 95 hits, 144 total bases, 12 triples, 21 stolen bases, and a walk-off home run, I could end this post with countless photo or video highlights, capturing DC's MVP-esque season.

I'd rather leave you with these:

And, oh, by the way...did I mention he likes to dance?

Congratulations, Darrell, on the Sterling Award and one of the best seasons in franchise deserve it!  A big thank you goes out to you from all of Brooklyn for making this an unforgettable summer! 

-- Dave

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Third Time's a Charm

I guess no one called weather.

For the second straight night last night, Game Two of the NYPL Championship Series was postponed -- this time thanks to some of the heaviest rain I've seen in a long time.

As Darrell Ceciliani would say (in an over-the-top, loud, annoying, nasally, hick voice), "It was rainin' sideways, cousin!"

The tarp was on the field, lightning was in the air, there was a waterfall in the dugout, and Hamilton Bennett was building a boat and setting sail for the high seas.

Take a look:

Now, before the rains came, HB told me that he had drawn a "rain turtle" on the warning track, who would push away any bad weather:

Apparently, no one told the turtle:

While taking cover from the wrath of Poseidon sitting in the dugout, though, I was able to witness two very funny things.  First off, HB's old friend Scotty joined us, and decided to do a home run trot/tarp slide.  Instant classic.

Next, I was privy to the best seat in the house for a game of "rain delay ball toss."  The teams scribbled messages on a baseball, and threw it from one dugout to the other...kind of like passing notes in class.  The funniest exchange came when one of our guys drew a tic-tac-toe board and made a move, then tossed it to the Tri-City side.  The ball came back with the following message:

"Does this count as Game Two?"

No, Valley Cat, it did not.  The real Game Two will take place tonight at 7pm (barring another flash-flood/semi-natural disaster).

Great seats are still available, so get your tickets now, and come on down to MCU Park! 

-- Dave

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Deja Vu

OK, we've been here before.  Down a game and staring elimination in the face.

Last time it was Jamestown, this time it's Tri-City.  

Different team, but we're gunning for the same result.

We're 32-8 at home this year, and once again, there is no tomorrow.


-- Dave

Saturday, September 11, 2010

On The Road

We're on the road to Tri-City for the Championship Series and the excitement in our van is at a fever pitch!

-- Dave

Friday, September 10, 2010

On to the Championship Series

As you can see in the picture above, we won Game Three (again, in thrilling fashion -- the Jammers had bases loaded and no one out in the top of the ninth) and have advanced to the NYPL Championship Series!

We'll be taking on the Tri-City Valley Cats, who edged out Connecticut by half a game to win the Stedler Division, and then played an exciting series against Batavia that included an extra-inning walk-off home run and a 1-0 Game Three win.

The Cyclones and Valley Cats met in the 2004 postseason, with Brooklyn falling two games to one (I still think there was some shady business with the tarp that led to us facing the league's best pitcher twice in a three-game series...but I'm not bitter or anything).

A bunch of us will be making the trip, so I'll post an update from AlbanySchenectadyTroy tomorrow.

We're back home on Sunday and, if necessary, Monday, so make sure you get to MCU Park to cheer Brooklyn on!  

-- Dave

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Game Three

After an absolutely thrilling win in Game Two, we've forced a deciding Game Three.  That means win and you're in.  Lose, and you're going home.

The team came from behind again and again last night, showing the fight and the heart that led them to the league's best record.

Now, they're facing elimination again -- or a berth in the championship series.

It reminds me of when Tony Tijerina was our manager, and on Opening Day, he wrote "Today is the most important game of the year" on the board.  He left it there the whole year.  The message was clear...don't look ahead, don't look back, just focus on what's in front of you.  Every day.  One game at a time.

Tonight is the most important game of the year.

-- Dave

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Apollo Said It Best


Let's go Cyclones!!!

-- Dave

Against the Wall

That's the problem with these best-of-three lose one game -- one measly little game -- and you're immediately facing elimination.

Last night, the Cyclones traveled to Jamestown to take on the Jammers and fell behind by five runs early.  The team fought all the way back (and fought through a nearly-two-hour rain delay) to tie the game at 6-6 in dramatic fashion in the top of the eighth inning, but Jamestown scored a seventh run in the bottom of the inning, and that was all she wrote.

There are plenty of little things that could have gone differently on Tuesday and swung things in our favor (some around the office are even floating "curse conspiracies"), but the bottom line is that here we are, the best team in the league (and that's not bias talking -- the standings and leaderboards agree), playing two must-win games if we want to continue this fantastic season.

Lucky for us, both those must-win games will be played here at MCU Park, where we have a 30-8 record, the most passionate fans in baseball on our side, and we've been able to pull off more than just a little bit of magic this year.

Great seats are still available, so come on down to Coney Island tonight (and hopefully tomorrow) to cheer on your Cyclones!

It ain't over until Brooklyn says it is!

-- Dave

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Playoffs? Playoffs? Yes, Playoffs!

Well, it's been a foregone conclusion for quite some time, but as we close out the regular season, the Cyclones are now gearing up for the Playoffs.

As you know, anytime anyone anywhere mentions the word Playoffs, the worldwide unwritten contract dictates that someone must imitate Jim Mora or embed his infamous rant in their blog.  Far be it from me to break the rules:

The New York-Penn League Playoffs (you just did it, didn't you?) start on September 7th, and we'll face the Wild Card team on the road on Tuesday, then host Game Two and, if necessary, Game Three on Wednesday and Thursday -- with both games at 7pm.

Right now, Williamsport is leading the Wild Card race, and I have to admit I'm rooting for them.  Not because of any on-field match-up or anything, but simply because Williamsport is only three or four hours away.  The team they lead by a half a game?  Jamestown.  About seven hours away.  No thank you.  For the next two games, I am officially the world's biggest Crosscutters fan, and i think about 15 Front Office members and 30 or so players would probably agree.

No matter what, though, we'll be home on Wednesday night to take on someone, and you can get tickets now!  In addition to the chance to see a possible championship run for Brooklyn, the first 1,000 fans will receive great Playoff T-shirts, thanks to our friends at U.S. Gas & Electric.

See you on Wednesday!

-- Dave

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hi, I'm Outside And It's Raining...Can You Tell Me What The Weather's Like?

So here's how the whole rain/weather/tarp thing works: we subscribe to a satellite weather service (from here on out referred to as "Weather") and they tell us what Mother Nature intends to do to us over the next few hours to several days.

At least, that's how it's supposed to work in theory.

How it actually works in practice is a completely different matter.

I had always assumed that when we call Weather (that's a term you'll hear about 40-50 times a day on days there's even the slightest chance of rain.  "Did you call Weather?"  "I'll call Weather."  "What did they say when you called Weather?") there are hundreds of operators sitting in a room with interactive maps, like a scene out of 24, War Games, or Apollo 13.  I assumed that the guy on the other end of the phone when we call Weather had some kind of exclusive access to a Doppler-5000-type of satellite that can pinpoint any directional change in storm fronts within a 1,000 mile radius of us.  I assumed these things because Steve and Ponte (our groundskeeper) treat the word of Weather like it's coming from the Big Guy In Charge of Weather, himself.

However, more and more, I'm beginning to think that the guy on the other end of the phone when we call Weather is a 19-year-old named Herman, sitting in his underwear in his mother's basement playing Halo or something and pulling up on his dad's Commodore 64 every time we call.

I also think it's a little absurd that we stand around outside and call someone in another part of the country who's inside to have him tell us what the weather is.

Thanks to today's fake Hurricane panic (after "bracing in the Northeast for Earl's fury" we got about 17 drops of rain), Steve and Ponte were burning up the phone lines all morning, calling Weather.  Here's a brief sampling of how it played out:
7am: Steve calls Weather to check on the day's weather.  He is told that it will probably rain and be windy.

7:05am:  Ponte calls Weather to check on the day's weather.  He is told that it will probably rain and be windy.

8am: Steve calls Weather to check on the day's weather.  He is told that it will probably rain and be windy.

8:05am:  Ponte calls Weather to check on the day's weather.  He is told that it will probably rain and be windy.

9am: Steve calls Weather to check on the day's weather.  He is told that it will probably rain and be windy.

9:05am:  Ponte calls Weather to check on the day's weather.  He is told that it will probably rain and be windy.
10am: Steve calls Weather to check on the day's weather.  There is no answer.

11am: Ponte calls Weather.  He is told that the impending storm might miss us altogether.  Or we could get hit hard by it.  Or anything in between.

12pm: Steve calls Weather.  The person on the other end does not speak English.

1:30pm: Steve alerts the office that we will be "peeling back the tarp" so Ponte can work on the field.
1:30pm-2:30pm: Ponte works on the field.
2:30pm: Steve gathers everyone to take the tarp off the field.

2:31pm: It starts to rain.

2:32pm: Walking alongside him to the tarp, I tell Ponte "It's raining."  He says "Let me call Weather."  I explain to him that we are actually outdoors, and can see, hear, and feel the rain drops.  He insists on calling Weather.

2:33pm: Ponte calls Weather.  He is told that it is not raining.

2:34pm-2:45pm: I relentlessly mimic and mock Steve and Ponte calling Weather ("Hi, Weather?  This is Steve in Brooklyn.  I'm outside and it's raining and windy.  Can you tell me if it'll be raining and windy in Brooklyn today?").

2:46pm: Ponte says Weather told him there was a "big green thing sitting right above us."  I ask if he thinks it's an alien invasion, the Incredible Hulk, or a fire-breathing dragon.  He tells me "on the radar."  ( the kind you find on  Ponte continues, unfazed (or unaware that I am making fun of him), saying that Weather also told him "if we're not getting anything, it might miss us," and "he really can't predict anything."  So to recap this latest call with Weather, if you're outside and it's not raining on you, it's probably not raining in your area.  Also, no one can predict the weather.

3:00pm: Steve tells the office that he talked to Weather, the "storm" has missed us, and we're in the clear for tonight's game.
Once again, it has been proven that meteorologists are today's snake-oil salesmen, weather reports are completely untrustworthy, and when we call Weather we're probably interrupting Herman and his buddies in a rousing game of Dungeons & Dragons.

Either way, the good news is that it looks like we're still on track for a 7pm game tonight, despite all the hype about Earl washing us out to sea.  So come on down for another great night of Cyclones baseball!

Of course, weather can change on a dime, and no one can really predict it, anyway.

We better call Weather again, just to be safe.

-- Dave

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Mayhem Is Upon Us

It's officially Hamilton Bennett Mustache Mayhem Night, which means it's time to unveil the mustaches we've been cultivating around the office.

First, our Staff 'Stache Picture:

And now some close-ups:

HBMM Night is here!  Let the mustache reign supreme!  (And let's all shave as soon as the last out is made!!!)

-- Dave

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

En Fuego

I'll tell you one thing.  You just never know what you'll see when you show up for work each day with the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Today, for example, I saw people light a baseball field on fire.  For real.  

The field is still a bit waterlogged, so in addition to raking, rolling, applying Diamond Dry, and raking some more, Mahoney suggested that we pour gasoline on some of the particularly wet spots and try to "burn it out."  (I like to picture him using a William Wallace Scottich accent when he says that.)

You can't really see the look of fear in Steve's eyes in that second-to-last picture, but believe me, it was there.

Steve and I are very similar in lots of ways, but here's where we differ.  While he spent the entire time outside praying nothing out of the ordinary would happen, I spent the entire time praying for the opposite.

Not that I wanted anyone to get hurt or anything.  I just wanted to see something crazy happen (mostly so I could write about it on the blog).  I'm not going to lie.  When Mahoney, Randy, and Jesse were raking, I was sort of hoping we'd see something like this (again, without anyone getting hurt, of course):

I wasn't that lucky.

There are still a few hours before gametime, though, so I'll keep my fingers crossed!

-- Dave

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Good News, Bad News

The good news?  The air conditioning in our office is working for the first time all year!

The bad news?  It's 65 degrees outside today.

-- Dave

Monday, August 23, 2010

Full Time vs. Intern Softball

OK, I'm going to put it out there right up front.  We lost.  fair and square.  Probably for the first time ever.

However (and you knew that was coming), I will also say this...the intern team is filled with 19 and 20-year-olds, several of whom play baseball or softball in college or in summer leagues, and they beat us by one measly run.  Their two best players were a guy who plays for a Division I college team (but ended his internship last week), and a grizzly-looking slugger I've never seen before (so I'm pretty sure he's not an intern), and they still barely beat us by thismuch with a run in the ninth inning.

Our squad is filled with thirty-and-fortysomething greybeards who pick up a bat and glove basically once a year to take on these whippersnappers (some looked like this was the first time they'd ever picked up a bat or glove), and they still only beat us by ONE RUN?  Come on.  I think that shows you who the better team on the field was that day.  The best team just doesn't always win.

Not much else to say in terms of game recap.

Jake the Snake was our MVP, using his freakishly long Tickler arms to make some, ahem, fantastic catches in left field.  He also belted a home run onto the boardwalk to tie the game in the 8th inning, but then charged in on a line drive that was hit approximately 300 feet behind him in the 9th, so I guess it all evens out.

In a shocking development, Mahoney also kept his Ripkenesque streak alive by almost coming to blows with at least one intern for the ninth straight year, so congratulations are in order for his record-breaking performance.

We'll have to do a better job of hiring interns next year.  And by "better job," I mean choosing only the most unathletic looking of the candidates.  Either way, it'll be a whole new crop next summer, and by then I'll be telling them again that the Full Timers are undefeated.

As long as you don't spill the beans, they'll never know the difference!

-- Dave

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Things Are Getting Hairy

In my 10 years with the team, I've done lots of things -- and been affected in lots of ways -- in the name of Cyclones entertainment and promotions.  

I've worn way-too-tight tights (and pulled tarp in them) on Superhero Night.  I've been yelled at by Steve for having knights and horses joust in centerfield on Medieval Times Night (even though he's the one who approved it).  I've put on a pink ape costume and shot t-shirts into the crowd (and have been alternately cheered and booed because of it).  I've dressed up as a T-Bird for Grease Night.  I've gotten death threats because of our Baracklyn Cyclones Night.  I've shoved a dozen fried dumplings down my throat for a pre-game eating contest.  I've slid headfirst across the tarp in the pouring rain.  I've gotten angry emails because I used the term "barefoot and pregnant" for our Bellies & Baseball Night or "Cyclones Skin 'Cats" when talking about us beating Tri-City.  I've played baseball for 24 straight hours (and then gone to the hospital the next day).

You get the point.  I've been through quite a bit for Brooklyn baseball.

However, our current endeavor may be the toughest challenge yet.

If you don't know (and how could you not, at this point?) Wednesday, August 31st is Hamilton Bennett Mustache Mayhem Night, in honor of everyone's favorite mustachioed Brooklyn reliever.  There will be all kinds of mustache-related merriment, including free tickets, free stick-on 'staches, and more.  Read all about it.

Here's the hard part, colleagues and I are all growing out our own mustaches to add to the mayhem.  Now, when we're all here at the ballpark together that's one thing.  It's sort of like a bad uniform -- if everyone's wearing it at the same time, you can kind of get away with it, or at least hide in the crowd.  Unlike my Batman costume or my Danny Zuko get-up, however, my mustache stays with me when I leave the ballpark.

When I meet new people, I can feel them zeroing in on my top lip.  Mothers pull their children just a little closer when I pass them on the street.  I find myself explaining by burgeoning Selleck-style 'stache the instant I greet anyone.

It's almost become an extension of my name ("Hi, I'm Daveidontusuallyhavethismustacheiworkforacrazyminorleaguebaseballteamandijusthavetodoituntilaugustthirtyfirst.  Nice to meet you.").

My wife hates it.  My daughter hates it.  My dog hates it.  I hate it.

But Hamilton Bennett likes it, so there's that, I guess.  

I do owe the guy for catching 2,117 ceremonial first pitches (so far) this year, working 348 kids/men's/women's/kosher camps, and for scaring the Lucky Charms out of him on Irish Night.  

Come August 31st, we're even.

-- Dave

Monday, August 16, 2010

Heavy Hitters

Schedule makers of the NYPL, why have you abandoned us?

The Cyclones have not played a home game in six days, and we have to wait two more days for the end of the All-Star break before the team returns home.  Normally, I'd be cherishing the opportunity to catch up on work, return some phone calls, and all the other boring stuff we do when the team is on the road.  But this is too much.  After a hectic six-game homestand, this abrupt break in the action has caused a black-hole-sized void.

And in the attempt to fill that void, I've been noticing a subtle shift in the office that everyone seems to know about, but no one wants to say out loud.  We've (almost literally) become our own elephant in the room.

The Front Office has always gravitated around lunch (and on game days, dinner), but our focus on food has gotten out of control in recent days.  It's almost as if every member of the staff is trying to fill the emptiness in their hearts without the Cyclones in town by filling their bellies, instead.

I haven't said anything until now, but the madness must stop!  I've had an egg roll, chicken and broccoli, a hot roast beef sandwich, a Big Mac meal, a Nathan's dog with bacon and cheese, and two pepperoni slices...and that's just today! 

And I'm one of the light eaters!

The effects have been staggering.  Take a look:
ricky.jpg ian.jpg kj.jpg
steve.jpg mahoney.jpg dave.jpg
slatus.jpg miggy.jpg randy.jpg
chris.jpg jake.jpg brian.jpg
We NEED the Cyclones to return home, and bring their exciting brand of first-place baseball with them before it's too late.  Thankfully, the team will be back in just a few days to take on the arch-rival Staten Island Yankees.  Then we'll have to battle through another five games on the road, but we close out the year in thrilling, playoff-chasing fashion with 10 home games in 13 days, so we'll all be running around the ballpark again, and hopefully things can get back to normal.

Until then, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the one member of the front office who has held strong in the face of temptation.  This lone wolf has fought off the gluttony that has enveloped the rest of us, and has even taken to a military-themed workout regimen, and the results speak for themselves.  In fact, while the rest of us may have let ourselves go, GP has actually shed a few LBs and, in my humble opinion, has never looked better.  He's leaner and meaner now than ever before, and I commend him on his efforts!

We'll see you back at MCU Park on Wednesday, when the Cyclones return to action, and then again down the home stretch, when we've got 10 great games to close out the 10th season.

Here's hoping somebody locks up the fridge 'til then!

-- Dave