The Brooklyn Cyclones are gearing up for their 2012 season and — wouldn’t ya’ know it — they’ll be throwing their first pitch against their longtime rivals from the Rock, the hated Staten Island Yankees.
The Staten Island Yankees bought themselves a ticket, and ultimately won, the New York Penn League Championship on Brooklyn’s back last year after beating the mini-Mets 1–0 during game three of the playoff series.
Brooklyn’s loss — slight as it was — didn’t merely reflect the Cyclones’ performance on that warm September day, but symbolized Brooklyn’s season-long struggle to keep pace with Staten Island.
Yet organizers say that this year is going to be different, even though no one knows who will be taking the diamond. Brooklyn’s 2012 lineup won’t be named for another few weeks.
But, like last year, there’s always the chance that a few rookie holdovers may grace the roster, said Cyclones spokesman Billy Harner.
“Last year there were maybe five holdovers,” said Harner. “Younger guys who needed another year to acclimate themselves to this level of baseball.”
At least three holdovers have been confirmed, however. General Manager Rich Donnelly and Cyclone mascots Sandy the Seagull, named for Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, and Pee Wee, named after Brooklyn Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese, have all agreed to return.
Donnelly said he couldn’t be happier about coming to Coney Island.
“I’ve been in the big leagues 28 years and spent 44 years in baseball overall, but last year was one of the most enjoyable seasons I’ve ever had,” Donnelly said in a recent interview. “We’re lucky here: most rookie teams don’t draw thousands of people a night, and here we average almost 8,000 a night.”Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cn