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

1 comment:

Lisa Gav said...

Feeling blue from the loss on Tuesday, I decided to go to Citi Field to catch the Mets game on Wednesday.
(I know, I know, I was taking a risk the "real" Mets would put me in an even worse mood, but hey, they won!)

Ensconced way up in the cheap seats, imagine my joy to hear that the Sterling Awards were being handed out - how unbelievably awesome to hear so many familiar names, as mentioned by Dave, and to see them continue to move up the ranks in the Mets organization.

Plus, the bonus of seeing so many former Cyclones playing for the Mets - in last night's game alone, Angel Pagan, Jenrry Mejia (hope his injury is not serious), Ike Davis, Nick Evans, Lucas Duda, Bobby Parnell... am I missing anyone?

I'm still disappointed that the Cyclones didn't win it all this year. They played SO much better throughout the season than they did in the Playoffs/Finals. But I'm a die-hard fan, and will be back cheering for next year's team.

Have a great off season everyone, and GO CYCLONES!