This “rivalry” just might be heating up.
While it may be tough to get fans — and players — excited about a rivalry between teams whose players’ names change every week, it’s not impossible.
And a case can be made from what’s happening between the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees.
After Tuesday night’s 6-1 Yankees win, members of both teams spoke of how pumped up for the game they had been — and how much they were looking forward to the rematch Wednesday night.
“Obviously, we’re pumped going into the game because they had already beat us twice,” said Yankees starting and winning pitcher Chuck Manning. “The fans are excited, the media’s pumping it up, but we still try to play a mellow game.”
Manning added that he and his teammates were looking forward to sweeping the two-game, home-and-home series with the Brooklyns on Wednesday night, but they fell short.
A third-inning, two-run homer put the Cyclones up 3-1 en route to a 3-2 victory Wednesday night.
So, this time around, the home crowd’s — both sellouts — got to go home happy.
And they didn’t have to look too hard to see that, yes, even between the players, the rivalry is indeed heating up.
During Tuesday night’s game, tempers flared just a bit when, trying to score on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Segar, Yankees designated hitter Shelly Duncan plowed into Cyclones catcher Brett Kay, with the force of the blow knocking the ball out of Kay’s glove and allowing the run to count.
A bit startled and believing Duncan had not yet stepped on the plate, Kay retrieved the ball, ran toward Duncan and “tagged” him as hard as he could.
“You could say that was a heat of the moment thing,” Kay admitted after the game. “Maybe I put a little extra on that tag.”
“He did tag me a bit hard,” said Duncan. “But it didn’t look like he meant anything by it. We both were just really into this game.”
With the season series half over — the teams will play four more games together in August — there might still be more excitement to come for the fans, the media and the players.
That is, if they’re still on the team.