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, though...my 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

Sunday, August 15, 2010

2010 "Best Of" Promotional Awards


Total Nonstop Action at MCU Park
Friday July 2, 2010

On Friday July 2nd,  MCU Park and the Brooklyn Cyclones hosted Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling. Over 5,500 fans packed the stadium for TNA’s biggest U.S. show ever! Stars like Jeff Hardy, Team 3D, and Kurt Angle all thrilled the crowd with exciting wins and in the main event of the night, TNA Heavyweight Champ Ron Van Dam retained his title with an action- packed win over AJ Styles.

After the main event, Heavyweight Champ Ron Van Dam, stayed in the ring for over two hours, posing with his championship belt and his loyal fans.

"I've wrestled all over the world," said Jeff Jarrett, a wrestling legend and the founder of TNA.  "From Australia, to India, to Japan, and everywhere in between. I can honestly say that there's nowhere in the world that has fans like New York!"

Prior to July 2nd, the Cyclones had TNA star Velvet Sky to the ballpark to throw out a first pitch and sign autographs on the main concourse for fans.

The Cyclones also had Team 3D visit MCU Park to promote the wrestling event. Brother Devon is a Coney Island native, which added to the event's buzz and excitement.  Team 3D threw out a first pitch, signed autographs on the concourse and interacted with the players before the game.

Furthur Concert
Saturday June 25th and Sunday June 26th

Two of the founding members of Grateful Dead, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, brought their new band, Furthur, to MCU Park for a two-day sold-out concert on June 25th and 26th. Over 25,000 fans packed the ballpark for two four-hour shows that literally had fans dancing in the aisles as well as on the field. A spectacular pyrotechnics and fireworks display followed each show. 

On June 21st the Cyclones also incorporated Furthur Night into the promotional schedule, and the team wore special tie-die jerseys to honor the Grateful Dead style. The jerseys were among the most popular of the year!

1st Annual Craft Beer Festival
Saturday June 12th

On June 12th, MCU Park and Aramark Food Services hosted the first-ever Craft Beer Festival. Over 300 people attended the event and enjoyed samplings from over 40 breweries, live music and food! In addition, the event introduced the Cyclones brand and ballpark to a new non-sports-related market.

The people in attendance were able to walk around the concourse while tasting beers from all over the world, sit in the picnic area and listen to live music, including the U2 Tribute Band Unforgettable Fire, or were able to sit back in the stands and watch the final stadium preparations, we were seven days away from Opening Day!


"Jersey? Sure!" Night
Wednesday July 21st

The Cyclones capitalized on the pop-culture phenomenon of MTV's Jersey Shore with one of the most publicized promotions of the year.  The show is extremely popular among Cyclones staffers, with some even giving themselves JS nicknames or trying to imitate the cast of the show -- General Manager Steve Cohen also goes by the names "Stevie Sweetheart," "DJ Stevie C," "Co-Co," and "The Perspiration".

The Cyclones used a play on words to create "Jersey?  Sure!" Night, based around a replica jersey giveaway, featuring a fist-pumping Sandy the Seagull, the team's mascot.  Staffers and players got in on the fun by dressing up as, or styling their hair in honor of the Jersey Shore style.

The Cyclones gave away 2,500 limited edition fist-pumping Sandy the Seagull jerseys. During the game, the team also ran between-inning promotions themed around the Jersey Shore and GTL (Gym, Tan and Laundry) lifestyle. The Cyclones partnered with Equinox Gym and Brooklyn Tan to give out prize packs to the winners of the promotions during the game as well as for lucky seat drop-ins.

  • Dugout Dance Battles – Contestants “battled” to techno beats on top of the dugouts between innings for a chance to win prizes (and fame).
  • GTL Giveaways – In honor of the GTL lifestyle ("gym, tan, laundry") the Cyclones partnered with a local gym, tanning salon, and Laundromats and gave away GTL gift certificates throughout the night.
  • Baseball Blowouts – A special station on the ballpark’s concourse level allowed fans to have their hair styled like a good fastball – high and hard. Stylists from a local salon were on hand to give the hair-raising transformations a professional touch.

All throughout the game the Cyclones played techno, fist pumping music to keep the energy pumpin’. 

The Office Olympics Night
Wednesday August 4th

On Wednesday, August 4th the Cyclones hosted Office Olympics Night. The Cyclones' front office members found ourselves discussing last night's episode of The Office, or the “Tuesday night marathon” way too often, and we realized that many of our fans could probably relate to similar situations. Wth that in mind, we decided to host an “Office Olympics Night” which included the following activities.
  • Morning Coffee Race
  • Flonkerton (When you race with paper boxes on your feet)
  • Blind Folded Egg on a spoon race
  • Wastepaper Basketball
  • The Office Trivia question game
On the same night as The Office Olympics Night the Cyclones were part of a Minor League Stadium Crawl, done by New York Magazine. Being judged on the Facility itself, Quality of play, Promotions, Adorability and miscellaneous the Cyclones scored a total of 32 points -- the highest rating given to any local team. 

FDNY Night
Friday, July 23

Every year, the Cyclones host FDNY night, to honor New York’s Bravest. With the new naming rights partner of our ballpark being Municipal Credit Union, which serves over 350,000 civil servants in the New York area, we decided each year to create a bobblehead of our mascot, Sandy, dressed as a “Civil Servant Worker” (FDNY, NYPD, EMS, and Dept. of Sanitation).

In 2010 we chose to go with Probie FDNY Sandy. The bobblehead was the first time that we ever put Sandy in another costume and portrayed him as anything but the Cyclones Seagull. Fans of all ages loved this bobblehead, and they are already looking forward to next years Civil Servant Sandy Bobblehead.

We also had the team in special jerseys that night, further honoring those men and women that help to keep the community safe. The jersey was created with the help of the Cyclones staff and the FDNY Captain in order to ensure authenticity. At the end of the game we raffled off 15 of the jerseys, with a portion of the proceeds going to the FDNY.

Upside Down Ike Davis Bobblehead Giveaway
Monday, August 2

This season, the Cyclones produced and gave away one of the most unique collector's items ever -- an upside-down Ike Davis bobblehead!

Davis made his pro debut with the Brooklyn Cyclones on June 26, 2008. The highly-touted first-round pick out of ASU doubled in his first at-bat, and proceeded to notch at least one hit in his first 15 straight games. Less than two years later, Davis is now starring at first base for the New York Mets, and has become something of a cult hero, thanks in part to three specific catches he's made that have all had a similar stuntmanesque theme. Each time, he has flipped over the dugout railing to catch a foul ball in spectacular fashion.

The high-demand Cyclones' bobblehead depicts the Brooklyn alum making just such a catch, and stands 7" tall.


Step Up To the Plate
Every home game

This year, the Cyclones created a successful new element to our sponsorship packages called Step up To the Plate, which is sponsored by New York Community Bank (NYCB). NYCB was looking for a different avenue of publicity here at MCU Park for the 2010 season, and Step up To the Plate fit their needs perfectly.

Step Up To the Plate allows the Cyclones and NYCB to give four free tickets to fans, and the opportunity to bring the lineup card to home plate with Cyclones Manager Wally Backman (or another coach, depending on the night), the opportunity to say “Play Ball” after the National Anthem, and the chance to get the line-up card autographed by Manager Wally Backman at the end of the game. On most nights NYCB provides us with a child from either Autism Speaks, Boys and Girls Club or Tuesday’s Children.  Otherwise, we are able to pick a child from the crowd at random and give them a once in a lifetime experience.

We are 27 games into the season and all participating families and children have all enjoyed this promotion and the experience of being on the field and able to interact with the players and coaches. Not only do the fans love it, but so does our coaching staff.  Before each game either Wally or Coach Fuentes are excited to meet "the kid" who will accompany them to the plate.  This promotion has been a great success for the Cyclones as well as New York Community Bank and the participating charitable organizations involved.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Face Your Fears

Everyone's afraid of something.  OK, not Matt Murdock, but everyone else.  Lots of people are afraid of heights (Frank Russo), some people are afraid of snakes (Wally), and some are afraid of sharks (me, unless I have my trusty shark repellent handy).

Cyclones pitcher Hamilton Bennett is deathly afraid of, um, Leprechauns.

Well, ol' HB made the mistake of sharing his fears yesterday on Irish Heritage Night, when we had Bay Ridge's own Scotty the Leprechaun here for the festivities.  Of course, i saw this as an opportunity to terrorize Bennett in any way possible involving Scotty help Hamilton face and overcome his fears, making him a better man in the process.  So, when the time came for Scotty to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, Bennett looked at me like a drowning man looking for a life preserver, and I...gave him the thumbs up, a pat on the back, and big "go get 'em."

I have seen some things in my life, but I don't know if I've ever seen fear in someone's eyes like I did in that moment.  To his credit, Bennett soldiered through.  He didn't want to cause a scene or throw off the pre-game timetable, so he gingerly put one foot in front of the other, crouched behind the plate, caught the first pitch, and hesitantly posed for a picture:

Afterward, he was still shaken up, and couldn't -- or wouldn't -- take his eyes off the little green guardian of the gold pot.

Fine.  Ha ha.  The game starts, Scotty's off the field, and everyone goes on about their business, right?  Wrong.

Our hitting coach, Benny DiStefano went to high school with Scotty, and when he found out about Bennett's fear, he decided to take things one step further (or one step too far, depending on who you ask).

I got word that I was to escort Scotty into the clubhouse during the ninth inning so that he could hide inside Bennett's locker!

Even now, I can't stop giggling like a schoolgirl when I think about it.  Scotty climbed in, and told me to cover him up with the clothes, pillows, and equipment in Bennett's locker.  He was loving it!  "I've done some crazy, ahem, stuff," he told me, "but this has to be up at the top of the list."

Bennett was the last one in the clubhouse and by this time everyone was in on it.  Wally made an announcement that everyone needed to turn in their road uniforms for the upcoming trip, and when Bennett walked over to the locker, Scotty popped out!

HB literally went running for the hills, and Scotty, now in his glory, chased after him!  Through the clubhouse, onto the field, and into the bullpen they went until Bennett finally shook him and went into hiding.  A full THIRTY MINUTES later, Bennett was still on the field, afraid to come back in the clubhouse.  And of course, he blamed me.  It wasn't until I swore on everything I hold dear that Scotty had left the building and convinced him that I was just following orders that he came back inside.  And even then he was a little unsure.

Now, it should be noted that Bennett is perhaps the most fan-and-front-office-friendly player on the entire team, which makes me feel a little bad about the whole thing.  However, even he admitted that it was one of the best pranks ever and that he'd be laughing, too...if it hadn't happened to him!

Hopefully he's willing to forgive and one day he'll look back on it and see the humor.

After all, a little terrifying leprechaun interaction can be good for your career.  Look what it did for Rachel:

 -- Dave