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Three million fan man! Cyclones reach historic attendance milestone

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The Cyclones made baseball history on Wednesday night, welcoming the franchise’s 3,000,000th fan in less than 11 years — the fastest that a short-season team has ever reached that milestone.

Too bad he was from Queens.

“It was pretty amazing — I mean, who would have thought it?” said Maspeth native and mini-Mets fanatic Michael Terry, who’s been a bleeding Cyclone blue since the team played its first season in 2000 as the Queens Kings.

Terry’s blind luck was perhaps at the disappointment of the 7,025 other fans who missed their shot at baseball immortality that night, but the Cyclones spared no expense in celebrating what was undoubtedly a moment for the entire team.

With the all-time attendance figure sitting at 2,995,656 at the start of the game, ushers posted at the turnstiles counted away as 4,343 fans filed into the stadium.

Then, Terry handed over his stub — and the rest, as they say, is history. A shower of confetti rained down upon the 62-year-old financial consultant, who donned a novelty “3,000,000” jersey and marched into the park flanked by an exultant throng.

“I just went into the park, and the next thing I knew, they were shooting confetti and taking pictures of me,” he said.

There was more to the event than just a souvenir jersey and a flurry of polychromatic paper, however.

For all the fanfare around Terry, the night was particularly momentous for a team, barely older than a decade, that only plays 38 games a season in the smallest division of the minor league at a stadium that just seats 7,500. (Citi Field, home turf of the Cyclones’ papa franchise, the Mets, seats 45,000.)

Of course, Brooklyn fans are famous for their loyalty, and the Cyclones have always flattened the other 13 teams in the New York–Penn League when it comes to attendance numbers — this year, the ’Clones have averaged 6,880 spectators a game, putting them once more in front of every other team (don’t get us started about Batavia!).

As such, it was hard not to feel giddy, especially for the team’s front office.

“It’s the first time this has ever been done for a rookie-league team,” said Cyclones manager Rich Donnelly. “It’s a great honor.”

As for Terry and his 3,000,000-man spoils — which included season tickets at MCU Park and a $250 gift certificate for Gargiulo’s restaurant — the spectacle was certainly a tale for the grandkids.

“Ill wear that jersey whenever I go out to the Cyclones — maybe even wear it to Citi Field,” he said.

“I might get it framed.”

Posted 12:00 am, July 30, 2011
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Reasonable discourse

Matt from math class says:
Every team in the New York-Penn League (NYPL) plays the same number of games (excluding rain-outs and other cancellations not made up), so division size is irrelevant.

You want to pick on Batavia, which has the second worst per-game attendance this year? The Muckdogs have averaged 7.4% of its town population (2006 data) per game. Brooklyn would need to pack the house with almost 190,000 fans every game to draw at the same rate.

In other words, let's put this boastful statistic in perspective. Brooklyn is far too large for a franchise at this level of play. The borough once had a major league team and could easily sustain Double- or Triple-A baseball.

As Michael Terry rolls the turn-style for the three millionth time, let's tip our caps to the Mets and Yankees and our elected officials who decided we only deserved short-season, rookie ball.
July 30, 2011, 10:46 am

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