|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2008)|
Founded in 1986
Brooklyn, New York
|Current||Short-Season A (1986–present)|
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||New York–Penn League (1986–present)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||New York Mets (2001–present)|
|Previous||Toronto Blue Jays (1986–2000)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles||1986, 2001|
|Division titles||1986, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010|
|Nickname||Brooklyn Cyclones (2001–present)|
|Colors||Navy, Light Blue, Red and Yellow|
|Ballpark||MCU Park (2001–present)|
|General manager||Steve Cohen|
The Brooklyn Cyclones are a minor league baseball team in the Short-Season A classification New York–Penn League, affiliated with the New York Mets. The Cyclones play at MCU Park just off the Coney Island boardwalk in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.
In its entire franchise history, the team has won seven division titles. As the Brooklyn Cyclones, the team has won 5 division titles, made the playoffs eight times and in 2001, the Cyclones were declared co-league champions with the Williamsport Crosscutters, being forced to prematurely end their championship series due to the September 11 attacks, despite the Cyclones leading the series one game to none.
The Cyclones began as the St. Catharines, Ontario-based St. Catharines Blue Jays (later St. Catharines Stompers) in 1986 as a team in the New York–Penn League. They were named for their parent club, the Toronto Blue Jays. In 1995, the team was sold by the city of Toronto to a group of local investors which included former Toronto catcher Ernie Whitt.
In 1999, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced a deal that would bring two minor league baseball teams to the boroughs outside Manhattan. New ballparks would be constructed for the Staten Island Yankees and the Cyclones. Prior to the 2000 season, the team was bought and moved to Queens, New York, becoming known as the Queens Kings. The club played its 2000 season at St. John's University in Jamaica, New York, in the borough of Queens, remaining a Blue Jays affiliate for one last season.
A "name-the-team" contest was held to determine a new name for the franchise. The winning selection, Cyclones, refers to the famous Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster at nearby Astroland amusement park on Coney Island. The team's new park, which was then called KeySpan Park, was completed in time for the 2001 season. Brooklyn had been without professional baseball since the Brooklyn Dodgers left Ebbets Field for Los Angeles, California in 1958. After approximately three weeks of play, additional seats had to be added to the stadium to accommodate fans.
The Cyclones managed by Edgar Alfonzo played well in their opening season with the best record in the league, 52–24 where the led the NY Penn-League with a 2.35 team ERA. They defeated the Staten Island Yankees in a classic NYPL opening playoff round. The deciding game won by the Cyclones 4 to 1 featured trickery by Catcher Brett Kay who faked giving up on a play only to receive a laser throw from John Toner to tag out a runner at the plate. advancing to the championship series against the Williamsport Crosscutters. The Cyclones traveled to Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, winning the series opener on September 10, 2001 by a score of 8 to 4. The potential championship clincher was scheduled for September 11 in Brooklyn. However, due to the September 11 attacks, all minor league baseball playoffs were canceled. The Cyclones and Crosscutters were declared co-champions.
The 2002 season was filled with inconsistent play and questionable pitching decisions by manager Howard Johnson leading to a .500 season. Scott Kazmir pitched to a 0.50 ERA in five starts and had 34 strikeouts in only 18 innings pitched.
In 2003, the Cyclones managed by Tim Teufel won the McNamara division title with brilliant pitching led by starters, soon to be Major Leaguers, Matt Lindstrom and Brian Bannister and by relievers Robert Paulk and Carlos Muniz. Despite a drop in run production, the Cyclones pitching staff willed their way into the playoffs, beating the Oneonta Tigers 2 games to 1 only to lose in the NYPL Championship to the Williamsport Crosscutters 2 games to none.
The 2004 season brought the most complete Cyclones team ever. Managed by Tony Tijerina, three batters hit over .300 and five starting pitchers made their starts in rotation for the last 55 games of the season except one game. The Cyclones won the McNamara division title only to lose to the Tri-City Valley Cats in controversial fashion. With the series tied, the Cyclones were leading 3 to 0 in the 3rd inning when the games was held up and eventually cancelled by rain, which wiped out the score. After another rainout, Game 3 was played from the beginning where the Cyclones lost the deciding game 7 to 1. A new rule was placed by the NY-Penn League that any games suspended because of rain, if a team or teams have scored runs in the game, the suspended game will be picked from the inning when the game was called.
The 2005 season managed by Mookie Wilson was hampered by inconsistent relief pitching that hampered games in the later innings despite a good offense. The Cyclones finished third and missed the playoffs. On August 23, 2005, The Cyclones and KeySpan Park hosted the first-ever New York–Penn League All-Star Game, which was won by the National League-affiliated team by a score of 5–4. Also that year, the Cyclones became a major partner of Brooklyn's High School of Sports Management, a small school located down the block from MCU Park on West 19 Street and Mermaid Ave.
The 2006 season managed by George Greer mirrored the team name. A 7-game losing streak to start the season was followed by a 10-game winning streak which led the streaky Cyclones to the NYPL Playoffs in a dramatic extra-inning victory against the Vermont Lake Monsters in the final game of the season. The Cyclones would lose to the SI Yanks in the NYPL opening playoff round 2 games to none. On July 20, 2006, the Cyclones and the Oneonta Tigers took part in the longest game in the history of the New York–Penn League, a 26-inning marathon that the Cyclones lost, 6–1. The game took 6 hours and 40 minutes to complete. The Cyclones scored their lone run in the first inning; Oneonta tied the game in the fourth and then did not score again until they scored five runs in the top of the 26th inning. Cyclones manager George Greer was ejected from the contest in the first inning for arguing an umpire's call on a force play at second base.
The 2007 season managed by Edgar Alfonzo had the second most successful season in team history with a 49–25 record. With a consistent offense, great pitching and the best defense in the league, the Cyclones powered their way to winning its fourth McNamara division title and sweeping the SI Yankees in two straight games in the NYPL opening playoff round. Game One produced the best road win in team history when the Cyclones beat the SI Yanks, 8–4. However, the Cyclones went on to getting swept in disappointing fashion by the Auburn Doubledays for the NYPL Championship. After giving up a leadoff home run to shortstop Matt Bouchard, current Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Brett Cecil pitched one hit ball in 7 innings as the Doubledays won the game 4 to 1. On September 7, 2007, during the final regular season game (a 5–4 victory over the Lowell Spinners), the Cyclones set an all-time single-game attendance record of 10,073—2,573 more than the stadium's seating capacity in 2001. That season, the team won its fourth McNamara division title.
The 2008 season managed again by Edgar Alfonzo was marred by a poor start but recovered with a torrid finish at 45–30, narrowly missing the playoffs after losing the final game of the season to the Aberdeen Ironbirds 5 to 3 in extra innings. The team produced Major Leaguers and current New York Mets Ike Davis and Jenrry Mejia. But the team was marred with an inconsistent offense with less than average results with runners in scoring position.
On August 23, 2009, Cyclones pitcher Brandon Moore threw a 7-inning no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader against the Aberdeen IronBirds, 5–0, at Ripken Stadium. Moore walked three and hit one batter, with only one IronBird reaching second base. This came seven years to the day Miguel Pinango threw a nine-inning one-hitter for the Cyclones, pitching 8 ⅔ innings of no-hit ball.
On February 4, 2010, the team announced that the new name of their home would be called Municipal Credit Union (MCU) Park. (From 2001 to 2009 the stadium was known as KeySpan Park.) In addition to the naming rights, MCU and the Cyclones entered into a comprehensive 11-year marketing partnership that launches the Cyclones’ 10th season in Brooklyn. The partner agreement is scheduled to last until 2020.
The Cyclones' main rival are the Staten Island Yankees, a rivalry often called the "Battle of the Boroughs", after the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island, or the "Battle for the Bridge", after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge which separates the two teams. Only 13 miles (21 km) apart, the two teams have the closest proximity in Minor League Baseball. The two teams generally sell out the games which pit them against each other. Other regional rivals include the Hudson Valley Renegades and the Tri-City ValleyCats. A major contribution to this intense rivalry is the fact that both parent teams are also based in New York (the Mets in Queens, and the Yankees in the Bronx).
The first Cyclone to break into the major leagues was infielder Danny Garcia, who made his debut with the New York Mets on September 2, 2003 at Shea Stadium. Scott Kazmir, who played with Brooklyn in 2002, made his major league debut with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2004. Still with the Rays in 2008, Kazmir was tagged with the loss in Game 1 of the 2008 World Series. He is the first former Cyclone to reach the World Series, though Lenny DiNardo, who pitched with the Cyclones in 2001, won a World Series ring with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 while on the Disabled List.
Mike Jacobs, who was a member of the inaugural 2001 Cyclones team, made his Mets debut on August 21, 2005, hitting a three run pinch-hit home run off Washington Nationals pitcher Esteban Loaiza. In 30 games with 100 at bats for the Mets, Jacobs hit 11 home runs and had 23 RBI before being traded to the Florida Marlins after the season.
In April 2006, Brian Bannister became the first Cyclone pitcher to make his debut with the Mets in a game against the Washington Nationals at Shea. The following April, sidearm reliever Joe Smith, who pitched for the Cyclones in 2006, made his major league debut on opening day for the Mets against the St. Louis Cardinals. Smith pitched a scoreless third of an inning in the Mets win. First baseman/outfielder Nick Evans was called up on May 24, 2008 as an injury replacement. Evans, who played with the Cyclones in 2005, had 3 doubles in his first major league game. Ike Davis, who played for the Cyclones in 2008, is now the first baseman for the Pirates.
As of June 20, 2012, the Cyclones had sent 25 players to the Major Leagues. The then-current Major Leaguers who were former Brooklyn Cyclones were:
- Drew Butera, catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers
- Ike Davis, first baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates
- Lucas Duda, first baseman for the New York Mets
- Dillon Gee, pitcher for the New York Mets
- Matt Lindstrom, pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles
- Zach Lutz, infielder for the New York Mets
- Jenrry Mejia, pitcher for the New York Mets
- Ángel Pagán, center fielder for the San Francisco Giants
- Bobby Parnell, pitcher for the New York Mets
- Josh Satin, infielder for the New York Mets
- Joe Smith, pitcher for the Cleveland Indians
Managers and coaches
2002: Manager: Howard Johnson, Pitching Coach: Bobby Ojeda, Hitting Coach: Donovan Mitchell
2004: Manager: Tony Tijerina, Pitching Coach: Hector Berrios, Hitting Coach: Donovan Mitchell
2006: Manager: George Greer, Pitching Coach: Hector Berrios, Hitting Coach: Scott Hunter, Coach: Guadalupe Jabalera, Coach: Juan Lopez
2007-08: Manager: Edgar Alfonzo, Pitching Coach: Hector Berrios, Hitting Coach: Guadalupe Jabalera
2009: Manager: Pedro Lopez, Pitching Coach: Rick Tomlin, Hitting Coach: Jack Voigt, Coach: Joel Fuentes
2012-13: Manager: Rich Donnelly, Pitching Coach: Marc Valdes, Hitting Coach: Bobby Malek
NOTES: Ojeda, Johnson, Teufel, Wilson, and Backman all played on the 1986 Champion NY Mets. Jabalera & Juan Lopez split the duties in '06. Malek played with the Cyclones in '02. Edgardo Alfonzo ('14) was officially a NY Mets amabassador, but served as a Cyclones coach. He coached home games and a few road games. Tom Signore ('14) left the team in July due to a concussion. David Davalillo joined the Cyclones late in the 2014 season after the DSL Mets finished their season.
Retired and honored numbers
A total of 10 numbers hang on the press level of MCU Park.
NOTE: A Cyclones player may still wear these numbers, with the exception of 14, & 42. Additionally, no Cyclone may wear 37 (Casey Stengel) or 41 (Tom Seaver) due to the numbers being retired by the Mets.
On August 22, 2011, the Brooklyn Cyclones also honored Pia Toscano, who sang the anthem prior to a game in 2003 by putting a plaque on the press level.
On August 15th, 2014, the Cyclones added Joan Hodges, the widow of Gil Hodges, to the ring of Honored Numbers.
The Cyclones have two mascots, Sandy the Seagull and Pee-Wee. Sandy, the primary mascot, has been with the team since the inaugural Cyclones season in 2001. Pee-wee was introduced in 2003 as Sandy's adopted son. Sandy is named for Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, while Pee-Wee was named after Brooklyn Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese. Even though Hurricane Sandy damaged MCU Park and Coney Island, the Cyclones kept the name Sandy on their mascot.
In 2006, the team introduced a new unnamed mascot: a blow-up "ZOOperstars!" type pelican. Despite a contest to name the character, it was never given an official name. The Pelican has not made an appearance since the 2006 season. In 2008, Maverick the Wonder Dog was introduced. He was a real Chocolate Labrador Retriever who was owned by one of the Cyclones staff members. The goal was to have Maverick learn tricks like picking up baseballs and bats. Like the Pelican, Maverick lasted only one season.
A Hot Dog race is held at every game at MCU Park, which is sponsored by Nathan's Famous. The first Nathan's store is located two blocks away from the ballpark. The three hot dogs currently racing are Ketchup, Mustard, and Relish. For many years Relish has become the loveable loser because he either wins very few races or none at all during the season.
On field entertainers
2001–2003: "Party Marty" Haber, a member of the Cyclones front office.
2003–Present: King Henry A local entertainer. In 2013, King Henry became the main on field entertainer.
2007–2010: Jay Moran, who had served as PA Announcer in 2006.
2011: Jason Negron
2012: Dan the Man Pecoraro, a member of the Cyclones front office.
2013: Bucky the Buccaneer
The original "Cyclones Beach Bums" were a promotional team of men and women who entertained the ballpark from 2003 through 2008, were seen all over the ballpark dancing, interacting with fans, and handing out promotional items. In 2009, the team decided to hire an all women dance team to replace the Beach Bums, but still retaining the Beach Bum name. The dance team is similar to the New York Knicks, New York Dragons and New York Islanders.
Public address announcers
2001–2005: Dom Alagia.
2006: Sean Howard for 1 month, replaced by Jay Moran a PA Announcer at St. John's
2007 – July 2010: David Freeman, who had served as PA Announcer for the Queens Kings
July 2010 – Present: Mark Fratto, the Director of Athletic Communications for St. John's.
August 2013 – Sid filled in for Fratto, who was with St. Johns in Europe.
WKRB (90.3 FM) is the official radio station of the Cyclones. It served as radio home from 2001–2011. WSOU was named the official radio station of the Cyclones on June 15, 2012 for the 2012 season, following the death of Warner Fusselle. Cyclones games will air occasionally on BCAT & SNY.
2001–2011: Warner Fusselle served as radio voice of the Brooklyn Cyclones from their inception until his death on June 10, 2012, a week prior to the 2012 Cyclones season.
2012: David Rind, Vincent Coughlin and Chris Paizis, who all called Seton Hall baseball, split the broadcasting duties, with Rind serving as the road announcer.
2013: David Greenwald
2014: Stu Johnson
Brooklyn Cyclones roster
7-day disabled list
- Smith, Daren. "Tigers win longest NYPL game." Minor League Baseball. July 20, 2006. Retrieved on November 14, 2008.
- Official Brooklyn Cyclones website
- Dem Brooklyn Bums – A Brooklyn Cyclones blog
- Brooklyn Baseball Banter - A Brooklyn Cyclones Fan Blog