Darryl Strawberry throws out the first pitch at KeySpan Park Monday. Photo by Joseph Staszewski .
Pedro Lopez remembers calling the wrong pitch to Darryl Strawberry and the result.
“He hit a ball that still hasn’t landed yet,” Lopez said. “When he hit it, he hit it so far I said, ‘Oh my’. I called it and it was one of those pitches, when you call it, that before the ball got to the plate I wanted to reach out and for it to be catcher’s interference.”
When the two faced off in Winter Ball down in Puerto Rico in 1990, Lopez was a catcher with the Charleston Rainbows, the San Diego Padres’ Single A affiliate. Strawberry had just finished his final season with the Mets before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The two also met while Lopez was a coach with the Mets’ Class A Savannah Sand Gnats early last season and also at spring training.
Strawberry and Lopez, now the Brooklyn Cyclones manager, saw each other again Monday as the Mets legend visited KeySpan Park for a day in his honor. They shared a friendly hug, handshake and photo op before Brooklyn’s 7-0 loss to Hudson Valley. After talking plenty of pictures and throwing out the first pitch, Strawberry shook every one of the Cyclones players’ hands before signing autographs for fans.
“I told him that we needed a bat,” Lopez said. “He said that he wasn’t available. It kind of made me sad.”
On the road: The Cyclones are done with McNamara division play until two contests with Aberdeen starting August 22. Brooklyn hits the road Tuesday for a seven-hour drive to start a three-game series against the Batavia Muckdogs. They return home for a series versus the Jamestown Jammers over the weekend before getting back on the bus again for seven hours to take on the first place Mahoning Valley Scappers.
“It part of being a pro athlete,” shortstop Robbie Shields said. “We have had a lot of home games this past month. This month we have a lot of away games.”
Lopez doesn’t seem to mind saying goodbye to division opponents. Brooklyn has lost five of seven against rivals Hudson Valley and Staten Island.
“When you play these guys so many times they already know the way we eat, the way we sleep,” Lopez said. “Like Staten Island, I feel like we are best buddies with them because we play them so many times.”