Buy me some peanuts and…Chinese dumplings?
Hungry baseball fans at the Cyclones’ season opener Tuesday at Keyspan Park were surprised to find that Chef One chicken teriyaki dumplings had joined hot dogs, peanuts, Cracker Jack and beer at concession stands.
The peppy potstickers are the result of a just-inked three-year deal between the East Williamsburg dumpling maker and the Cyclones.
“This creative partnership is in the true spirit of minor-league baseball,” said Cyclone General Manager Steve Cohen.
Two Cyclone players — pitcher Tim Haines and outfielder Mike Sharpe — were pressed into duty to sample the dumplings for the cameras the other day. Both were impressed.
Haines, the pride of dumpling-free Mission, Texas, pronounced them “good,” while Sharpe, who is from Long Island, expounded on the benefits of serving dumplings at the ol’ ball game.
“Hot dogs and beer are old school,” he said. “This is new. People are going to like it. After all, one billion Chinese people can’t be wrong.”
Even at $5 for four dumplings, the new wantons were selling like hotcakes, according to concession stand workers.
That didn’t surprise Emmett Pickett, a Chef One spokesman: “The idea is to make dumplings the new hot dog.”
The Cyclones kicked off their sixth season with a gimmick so gimmicky that it actually worked — as a gimmick.
Beginning with a ceremony at Borough Hall featuring Keyspan Chairman and CEO Bob Catell, and ending with Sandy the Seagull’s arrival at Keyspan Park atop a convertible four hours later, the team conducted what it billed as the “longest first pitch ever.”
The ceremonial, 30-inch baseball took a circuitous route around Brooklyn, hitting Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights, traversing Atlantic Avenue, passing by the P.C. Richards at Flatbush Avenue, surviving Grand Army Plaza, drawing weird glances in Park Slope, cruising by Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park (where Borough President Markowitz received his two cardiac stents days earlier), making its way through Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst, swinging through Gerritsen Beach and Gravesend, and finally making its way down Surf Avenue to the friendly confines of Keyspan Park.
In all, the first pitch traveled 24 miles from the seat of borough government to its field of dreams. Not everyone was in the spirit.
“Sandy the Seagull almost freakin’ ran me over in Grand Army Plaza,” one motorist told The Brooklyn Papers.
For the record: Sandy was not driving.
Now he just has to figure out how to swing his bat.
Making the adjustment from aluminum bats to the lumber of professional baseball is always a learning process for minor-leaguers. But for the free-swinging Martin, it could take a while.
“He has a bit of the aluminum bat thing in him,” Hunter said. “We are trying to get him to not swing so hard because a wood bat has a smaller sweet spot.”
Martin said he’s learning.
“It’s a totally different swing,” he said. “With aluminum, you can just let fly and get away with it. With a wood bat, you have to learn not to muscle it.”
In Tuesday’s home opener, Martin hit the ball hard several times — and learned something else about wood bats: they break.
He shattered one piece of pine on a broken-bat single in the first.
New York Cyclones?
And to think, they call themselves “New York’s Hometown Paper.”
June 24, 2006 issue