It’s a roller-coaster ride in Coney

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The Cyclones’ rollercoaster season has taken a plunge, and if manager Pedro Lopez isn’t ready to tell it like it is, The Brooklyn Paper will find someone who will.

“I’m in your corner. I’m not going to second-guess you,” the first-year skipper told his team after it lost its fifth of six games on Tuesday night following a 10-game win streak.

Not going to second-guess? This Cyclone isn’t just off the tracks — it’s halfway into New York Harbor.

Luckily, unlike Coney Island’s actual landmarked coaster — whose rickety planks have been hammered by the same repairman, Gerry Menditto, for 34 years — figurative baseball rollercoasters can be fixed by anyone.

“Somebody better teach these young men how to run. I could do it faster,” said 79-year-old fan Gloria Butler.

The feisty Bay Ridge resident explained that the Li’l Amazin’s have been watching their hits from the batter’s box.

But Lopez said hustle wasn’t the issue.

“When somebody isn’t giving 100 percent, I’m the first to take him out of the ballgame. Guys are just a little banged up and exhausted. Maybe she could fill in,” said the manager with a laugh.

Another Clones fan had a detailed tip for Nick Santomauro, who was hitting .175 with no homers through Tuesday.

“He keeps his elbow back, then cocks it just before he swings,” said health-policy researcher John Kasprak as he demonstrated the 2009 Ivy League player of the year’s unorthodox stance.

I relayed the health wonk’s pointer to Santomauro, who quickly rejected it.

“There’s tons of guys in the majors that were told they had funny stances coming up, so I think I’m going to stick with it,” said Santomauro before going 0-for-3 with a strikeout in Sunday’s 5-3 loss to the Yankees.

One fanatic made the trek to Staten Island for that game just to help John Servidio, who has knocked four homers at Keyspan Park, but none on the road.

“Servidio’s homered in every game I’ve attended. I don’t know what he’s doing when I’m not there — guess I’m his good-luck charm,” said dockworker Rich Czapran.

When I asked the star outfielder about the lucky fan, he said they’d already met.

“It’d be nice. I don’t believe it, but it’d be nice,” said the skeptical slugger, who did hit a long double in the defeat. (“Still don’t believe it,” he said after the game.)

A pair of Brooklyn Heights attorneys posited a simple explanation for the Cyclones’ struggles.

During the win streak, “the opposing pitching coaches started watching them and figured out how to throw to them. Now they’re going to have to adjust,” said Julia Porper, a season-ticket holder since 2001.

“They’ve only played three teams, so the opponents have had plenty of time to figure our pitchers out,” added Bob Grace, her partner of 15 years.

The lawyers must have an eye for baseball — or an ear for sports clichés — because the pros agreed.

“We’re seeing the same teams again, and they’ve adjusted to us, so now we need to make some adjustments of our own,” said hitting coach Jack Voight.

“Once you start seeing teams twice, you need to make adjustments to their pitching,” added infielder Matt Gaski.

I’m with the lawyers, too. But to be fair, most Cyclones fans I talked to weren’t ready to panic — including Dave Ward from Williamsburg.

“Don’t let it get to you,” the goateed graphic designer said he’d tell the players. “Remember, you’re here for a reason.”

Zeke Faux is a sports columnist for The Brooklyn Paper. His last name is pronounced “Fox.”

The Faux Hole

Matt Bouchard, a third-year Cyclone and the team’s leading hitter, will miss the rest of the season. The infielder needs surgery for a right hip impingement. … Sam Honeck missed the series with a strained groin, but skipper Pedro Lopez expected the first baseman to be back in the lineup for Tuesday’s home game against the Williamsport Crosscutters. But, alas, Honeck did not play. He did return on Wednesday and went 2-for-4. … The Mets’ third-round pick, Robbie Shields, took the field for the Cyclones for the first time last Friday and went 0-for-3. The shortstop should bring some power to the middle of the order, Lopez said. … Infielder Joseph Bonfe, a 31st-round pick, joined the club on Saturday, as did rehabbing second baseman Andy Green, who has played 136 games in the majors.

Updated 5:19 pm, July 16, 2009: Story was updated to reflect Sam Honeck's triumphant return.
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