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Meet the Maz! Lee and son on hand for first Cyclones practice

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The smartest guy in the Cyclones dugout may not be in charge, but he’s got a heck of a sweet swing.

Cyclones skipper Rich Donnelly, who will lead Brooklyn’s Boys of Summer into the 2013 season tonight on Staten Island, hinted that his new second baseman L.J. Mazzilli — the son of former Met Lee Mazzilli — may have enough baseball acumen to manage someday, but right now he’ll take what he gets from him in the batter’s box.

“He probably knows more baseball than all of us put together,” said Donnelly, who was the elder Mazzilli’s first base coach with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986. “(Lee) keeps telling me that L.J. hits better than him. If he does, I’ll take that right now, because Maz was a heck of a player.”

That he was. The Brooklyn-born outfielder and first baseman played 14 years in the bigs, 10 with the Mets, and compiled

Both Mazzillis were on hand Saturday at MCU Park in Coney Island as the team had in first workout of its 13th season in Brooklyn.

The right-handed hitting Mini-Maz, who helped the University of Connecticut win the Big East Tournament with a home run in the championship game against Notre Dame and a .354 batting average, six homers, and 51 RBI in 63 games overall, says he’s ready to make a name for himself as a professional ballplayer, and isn’t afraid to follow in the footsteps of a dad who help lead the Mets to a World Series championship, and went on to manage the Baltimore Orioles.

“I’m so proud to be his son, and be able to not necessarily follow his footsteps, but add to my own legacy and wear my last name with a lot of pride,” L.J. said.

L.J. will join some players who already have Cyclones experience, including Gavin Cecchini and Jorge Rivero, both of whom played for the Brooks last season, when the team take on the hated Staten Island Yankees tonight on the Rock, when the team will seek its first of what is hoped to be at least 53 wins — which would be a record for the squad. The Clones have failed to finish with more than 52 wins since the team’s inaugural season in 2001, when it set the record.

In what is clearly a step up, pitcher Robert Gsellman (the “g” is silent), who has compiled a 3–3 record with the St. Lucie Mets and the Savannah Sand Gnats (the “g” is silent) this season, will be on the hill for the Clones.

Opening Night at MCU Park, where artificial turf was installed this off season, will be on Tuesday, with the first pitch being thrown at about 7 pm.

Updated 10:12 pm, July 9, 2018
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