After a week in action, the 2004 Brooklyn Cyclones have already had numerous changes to their roster. Between the June 21 game at Hudson Valley and the next day’s home opener there were eight roster moves. So, in an effort to prevent Cyclones fans from suffering the same befuddled state as Lou Costello, let’s present our second annual “Who’s On First” (all stats as of June 23).
Who’s On First?
Right now, the answer is Wendt, pronounced “went.” Actually, the answer is more like “I Don’t Know,” since the Cyclones have three first basemen, but who can resist a name like Wendt to follow Who and What?
Alliteration aside, Justin Wendt is a former enforcer. No, nothing involving anyone getting whacked, but enforcement nonetheless — hockey style. The 6-foot-3, 228-pound Wendt was a defenseman in amateur hockey in his native Canada who would easily accumulate more than 200 penalty minutes a season.
“My job,” explains the affable Wendt, “was to get into fights with opposing players. That was work. Baseball is fun.”
Wendt has power potential. He has already been called “Norm” by some fans, a reference to the “Cheers” character played by actor George Wendt, whom Wendt insists is no relation.
Also on first is Jabe Bergeron, also a hockey player, from Williams College. A left wing, he once finished second in his league in goals. Bergeron went to the academically prestigious Williams figuring he’d “pick the school for the academics and if I were good enough in baseball, they would find me.” The Cyclones did.
Tyler Davidson will also play first for the Clones. The power-hitting Davidson was with the Cyclones in 2003. Davidson nearly knocked down the leftfield fence with his line drive double in his first game with the team.
What’s On Second?
No, What’s (make that Watts, as in Derran Watts) is in center field. At second is Bryan Zech, a 5-foot-10 sparkplug who says he likes “to drive pitchers crazy.”
Zech attempts this mental abuse by trying to run the count, bunting and stealing. Also playing second are Kevin Rios, up from Kingsport where he hit .231, and David Housel, from Mendham, N.J., and a Cyclone last season. Housel explained that he’s actually in his third year in Brooklyn, having played for the Brooklyn Bonnies, an amateur team that plays its home games at the Parade Grounds.
I Don’t Know’s On Third
A Bronx guy is on third, Travis Garcia, and despite an 0-for-19 start at the plate, Garcia has not been accorded any Bronx cheers. Garcia spent part of last season at Brooklyn. This season, the former shortstop from Iona College has started every Cyclones game.
I Don’t Give A Darn (shortstop)
At short will be Ryan Coultas, a sixth-round draft pick from the University of California at Davis. The 6-foot-3 Coultas batted .337 in college this season before an injury limited him to pinch running. So far, Grant Psomas, who hit .343 at West Virginia University, has been playing short. He can also play second. Psomas, who is also 6-foot-3, hails from Carnegie, Pa.
Why and Because (outfield)
For the Cyclones, left fielder Dante Brinkley has been outstanding. Why? Because he’s hitting .385 with a double, triple and home run, and Dante’s an inferno on the bases, having swiped three. Also seeing time in left is Caleb Stewart, a native Kentuckian from the University of Kentucky.
Watts? He’s in center. Derran, a Cyclone in 2003, is on an injury rehab assignment and Watts has been lighting up the pitchers, hitting .385. Also playing center field will be Corey Coles. “C.C.” hit only .167 in a brief time with Brooklyn last year, but he hit .333 at Kingsport. A former outfielder and relief pitcher at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Coles is a speedy guy. Also in the outfield mix is Kyle Brown, out of LeMoyne College.
In right field is Ambiorix Concepcion, from the Dominican Republic. He has all the tools, and outstanding potential. Coincidentally, Ambiorix is also the name of a man who led the people of Gaul against Julius Caesar — they both have great arms.
The Cyclones have three receivers: Stacey Bennett hit .216 for Brooklyn last season. Danilo Reynoso was in Brooklyn in 2002, playing in two games. Then there is the Cyclones’ fourth-round draft pick, Aaron Hathaway, from the University of Washington.
Hathaway was voted to the NCAA Regional all-tournament team for three straight seasons. He hit .317 in the regular season. Hathaway is related to Anne Hathaway, not the beautiful, young, Brooklyn-born actress, but the Stratford, England-born, wife of William Shakespeare.
Despite this writer’s being a distant relative of Aaron Hathaway, he will receive no favorable treatment. After all, it’s performance that should count, for the play’s the thing.
That’s when we’ll tell you about the Cyclones’ hurlers. Actually, it will be next week.