The New York-Penn League Class-A (Short Season) affiliate of the New York Mets; The Brooklyn Cyclones; start their season this evening against their intra-city rivals, the Staten Island Yankees. With the resumption of the Battle of the Boroughs, Monday’s Opening Day kicks off the twelfth season of Brooklyn Cyclones Baseball in Coney Island.
Since moving to the former spot of Steeplechase Park in 2001, the Cyclones have won five division titles and one championship. Last season, manager Rich Donnelly led the Surf Avenue Sluggers to their eighth playoff appearance in eleven years. But they were eliminated in the first round by the hated Yankees; better known as the Baby Bombers; who went on to win their sixth league championship. Rich Donnelly will return for a second season by the seashore. Mookie Wilson, Tim Teufel, and Wally Backman have all previously served as managers. In 2010, Wally guided the Boardwalk Bums to one of their finest season’s ever.
Some of the earlier Baby Bums you’re familiar with are Angel Pagan, and Scott Kazmir. Of the current Mets, Bobby Parnell was the first to hit Brooklyn in the 2005 season. Starting in 2007, is when the Big Club starting pumping their current players through the Borough of Kings. Lucas Duda and Dillon Gee come from that class. Then in 2008, the flood gates opened. Ike Davis, Chris Schwinden, Jenrry Mejia, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Wilmer Flores all played on that team. Many in the organization, Brooklyn, and Mets fans in the know, are also awaiting the arrivals of players like Dylan Owen, Reese Havens, and perhaps Darrell Ceciliani, and Cory Vaughn.
This season, the Cyclones will have the Mets’ 2011 thirteenth overall first round pick, outfielder Brandon Nimmo, playing for them. From the 2012 First Year Player Draft, Kevin Plawecki, selected #35 overall, will join Nimmo on Brooklyn’s roster. So, I will be keeping you posted on their progress.
The season starts off on a sad note however. The only radio voice we’ve ever had, Brooklyn’s Voice of Summer, and broadcasting legend; Warner Fusselle; passed away on June 11th. He has occupied MCU Park’s Cat Bird Seat since our inaugural 2001 season. If you are not familiar with Warner Fusselle by name, perhaps you remember his voice. Warner took over for Mel Allen and was the narrator for This Week In Baseball. But around here, Warner Fusselle, as much as anyone, or any tribute the Cyclones ever held in honor of the old Brooklyn Dodgers, connected us to that time in our Borough’s history.
As you’ve seen, I speak about the Cyclones in “we” and “us” and “our” nominatives, and from a totally (objective plural) subjective bias. Although the Cyclones are the Mets’ affiliate, for us denizens of the Borough, the Cyclones are Brooklyn. There are the Mets, to whom we fans are tirelessly loyal to. But for us Brooklynites, this team represents something else. They are not just the return of professional baseball to Brooklyn since the Dodgers abandoned us. The Brooklyn Cyclones are our New Baby Bums. They are the Kids of Summer. And for 8,000+ fans per game, our summer nights revolve around them.
The Cyclones, Nathan’s Hot Dogs, the ocean breeze coming off the beach, the boardwalk, and of course the famous sights, sounds, rides, and freaks of Coney Island, all make for a most magical, if not memorable, and sometimes strange, summer night. Only here, we get to do it every night.
Monday evening, the ghosts of Steeplechase Park, and my extended Baseball family will once again descend upon Surf Avenue Grounds for another season of Baseball by the Seashore. Needless to say, this team is very special to me. Let’s Go Cyclones!
…and of course, Let’s Go Mets!