Clones stopper turns to video games

The Brooklyn Paper
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Who says video games are bad for you? Cyclones closer Joe Smith — who has been virtually unhittable — honed his skills by playing Nintendo.

“We’d play Contra, we’d beat it, and we’d start over and play it again,” he said.

Jump! Shoot! Pick up that Spread Gun!

But video games did more than kill time and get out his aggression. When Smith was at Wright State University, he was advised to drop his arm angle. To figure out how to do it, he turned to Major League Baseball video games for relief.

“I didn’t know anything about throwing sidearm, so I found [submarining Mets reliever] Chad Bradford on the videogame, and I started playing around with him and thought, ‘This guy is kind of cool.’ ”

Smith has dominated the league with a 0.53 ERA — even without his joystick.

“I didn’t bring any games with me [to the Cyclones], but I’m definitely missing it, that’s for sure. Right when I get home, I’ll start off my season.”

With the Cyclones stopper, it’s always game over.

— Nick Pauly

New voice silenced already

Sean, we hardly knew ye.

Fans at Keyspan Park no longer have the high-pitched and overly energetic voice of Sean Howard to kick around.

Jay Moran, a 2006 graduate of Syracuse University, is Keyspan’s new PA announcer — replacing Howard, who had replaced five-year announcer Dom Alagia, who was let go prior to the season.

Moran has been announcing at the stadium for about a month — taking over for Howard when she went on what the team called a “vacation.”

Finally, this week, Cyclone management admitted that Howard would not return.

Cyclones General Manager Steve Cohen disagreed with some fans who said that Howard — who once announced the next batter while play was actually going on, among other mistakes — was doing a poor job.

“Sean had a fantastic voice for the game,” said Cohen. “I guess to make the most sense of it, [Howard replacing Alagia] was like Wally Pip and Lou Gehrig.”

In fairness to Gehrig’s predecessor, Pip had played with the Yankees for 11 years — and rarely took vacation.

— Pauly

Who’s a Bum! Jonathan Schemmel This week, The Brooklyn Papers revives its traditional “Player of the Week” award, honoring Jonathan “Country Boy” Schemmel. The second baseman — who hails from Topeka, Kansas, yet has John Denver’s “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy” played before each of his at-bats — swung the only consistent stick in the lineup this week, going 13 for 30.

The 23 year-old raised his batting average from .243 to .298, which is now tops on the team. — Pauly

The Greer report

Cyclone manager George Greer has survived a dismal 0–7 opening. He still has his job, despite a team that’s hitting all of .218. And he clings to employment even though one of his players just got banned from baseball for using the juice. Granted, minor-league managers almost never get fired during the season, but given all of Greer’s bad luck, it’s time to consult The Brooklyn Papers’ exclusive Greer-ometer. Indeed, the skipper still looks safe. — Gersh Kuntzman

June 29, 2006 issue  

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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