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August 11, 2016 / Sports / Diamond Dave’s Cyclones Report

Golfing Gamby: Cyclones skipper’s love of the game helps him on the diamond

for Brooklyn Paper
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Cyclones skipper Tom Gamboa — who won his 100th game with the team on Aug. 8 — has spent a career in baseball, but the game of golf is always on his mind. Anyone who knows him or listens to him talk baseball inevitably hears about golf, and Gamby finds analogies between the two games, blending the loves of his sports life with measured ease.

The correlation between the two sports was obvious — at least to Gamboa — last week as he took in the play of rookie right-handed pitcher Ty Williams.

It wasn’t a picture-perfect performance. Williams — who was excited to pitch for the first time in Brooklyn — struggled on the mound and was removed after throwing just nine pitches, none of them strikes. While the rest of the Clones roster was in mid-season form, Williams was just getting into game mode — and it showed.

Gamboa had warned Williams that the game would be a struggle, telling the pitcher, “I don’t care how many sides and bullpens you threw, when you come into the game with 5,000 screaming kids, the game speeds up on you.”

Afterwards, the Brooklyn skipper compared the situation to a amateur golfer stepping up to the pro tees during the U.S. Open.

“The only thing I can equate it to, for somebody who hasn’t played pro baseball, would be if you’re just a once-in-awhile golfer with your buddies, but you never play in a tournament,” Gamboa said. “And now there’s 100 people around the first tee when you’re gonna tee off instead of just your three buddies, what you feel over there is what he felt times 10.”

MCU Park separates itself from other ballparks in the league because of the huge crowds, but there is also a big wind factor, thanks to the fact that it sits only a few hundred feet from the ocean. The Cyclones offense does better on the road in part because it doesn’t have to fight the heavy winds coming in. Home runs are seldom hit to right field and even well-hit balls to left are frequently off the wall, if not caught. As far as Gamboa is concerned, the conditions are, once again, similar to golf.

“When you come up to a tee and the wind is 30 miles an hour right in your face, there’s negative vibes knowing that no matter how good you hit it, the wind is going to knock it down and you’re going to have a long ways to go on the next shot,” Gamboa said.

Gamboa and the Clones have faced their fair share of ups and downs on the diamond this season, but nothing could quite prepare the squad for its weekend in Tri-City. Gamby couldn’t even come up with an adequate golf analogy to put the whirlwind innings into perspective.

Brooklyn split a pair of blowouts with the ValleyCats in games that were as lopsided as they come.

On Aug. 7, the ValleyCats scored 13 runs in the first two innings en route to an 18–4 win. The next night, Brooklyn scored 11 runs in the first three innings in a 14–3 win, Gamboa’s 100th at the helm.

Gamboa joins Edgar Alfonzo and Rich Donnelly as the only Brooklyn managers with triple digit wins.

Congratulations are also in order for shortstop Colby Woodmansee, first baseman Pete Alonso and righty starter Harol Gonzalez, who were named to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game on Aug. 16. Gamboa is, naturally, excited for his players, but he’s also ready for a few days off — and maybe some time on the golf course.

Read Diamond Dave's Cyclone Report every Friday on BrooklynPaper.com.
Updated 2:52 am, August 11, 2016
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