Cyclones Return For 2002 Season
By Elio Velez
The Brooklyn Cyclones returned to the field for their second season on June 18, but most of last year’s players do not return. Most have gone to the upper levels of the N.Y. Mets organization, but the fans see fresh new players as they try to attain their dream of making the major leagues. The fans’ response to the Cyclones has been dynamic as season tickets have been sold out and limited individual game tickets are only available.
The enthusiasm shown was evident on Opening Day as Mayor Bloomberg, Larry King and Joan Hodges, the late Gil Hodges’s wife, was present with a sellout crowd of more than 8,000 people. Larry King enjoys the experience of going to the ballpark, "I flew in from Los Angeles and taped an episode of my show (on CNN) just to come out here tonight." King added "There’s no other feeling like it to come to Brooklyn."
The Cyclones came out and beat the rival Staten Island Yankees 6-4 with a strong performance by Yunior Cabrera. Cabrera, a 22-year-old lefthander from the Domincan Republic, showed great control and pinpointed his fastball and slider to hold off the Yankees’ hitters.
In a 7-6 loss in 11 innings to Aberdeen on June 23, Omar Anez pitched the last three innings and took the loss. Cyclones manager Howard Johnson said after the game that he and pitching coach Bob Ojeda did not want to work the bullpen so early in the season. Johnson said that Anez would most likely get some time off because of his age. "He’s been pitching extended spring training and we want to give him a day or two off because it has already been a long season."
The team has been very aggressive on the basepaths and Johnson praises the players for it. The players that have shined early are third baseman Edgar Rodriguez, who leads the team with a .400 average and has a strong throwing arm. Though SS Corey Ragsdale has hit under.200, his hustle on the basepaths and defense have made him an early fan favorite.
Though the team has not started to smash the ball, the starting pitching has kept Brooklyn in most games. As of press time, has a 5-3 record and tied for second in the McNamara Division of the Penn League.
Roller Coaster Notes
In a game at Keyspan Park on June 21, an Aberdeen Ironbirds (Baltimore Orioles) ’ player hit the circular stanchion of lights that is in foul territory down the left field line. A security guard patrolling the stands near the light pole explained that fans had to cover themselves from the falling light bulb debris. It was the first time in the two-year history of the ballpark that any player has hit the circular stanchion of lights in foul or fair territory.
New York Mets Minor League Roving Hitting Instructor Tim Teufel was with the Cyclones for the weekend series against the Aberdeen Ironbirds. Teufel was a member of the 1986 World Champion Mets, along with manager Howard Johnson and pitching coach Bob Ojeda.
In Single A ball, no more than 4 players on a team roster can be 23 years or older.
The Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2002 MLB Draft drafted Anthony Bocchino in the 11th round. Leo Bocchino, Anthony’s father, is a security guard at Keyspan Park. Leo was on the Internet with his son Anthony and family watching the draft selections being reported. Anthony read on the MLB website that he was drafted and received a phone call from the Pirates five minutes later. Anthony played at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. as an outfielder. A contact hitter, Bocchino broke 16 of 19 Marist baseball records and was 6 in the entire country in batting with a .443 average