Brooklyn Cyclones Update
By Elio Velez
Growing up in Jonesboro, Arkansas, 19-year-old Brooklyn Cyclones Shortstop Corey Ragsdale was growing taller every day. In a football mad state, the 6’4 shortstop knew that Nettleton High School football coaches were asking him to play because of his height and speed. But Corey would tell you that baseball was the only thing he knew growing up.
Football is king in the towns of the South and Southwest but Ragsdale had a desire to play baseball. Corey’s father was a baseball coach in t-ball, little league and other leagues. As he was growing, the shortstop position is what he liked the most.
"You’re in charge of the whole field, that’s what I have always played. Ragsdale said. "That’s what I like about it (shortstop), you’re pretty much in control of the field".
The Mets selected Ragsdale as the 75th pick in the second round of the 2001 amateur baseball draft. He played at Single A Kingsport briefly last season before moving up to Brooklyn.
For the 2002 version of the Cyclones, Ragsdale is playing every day at shortstop even as he struggles with a under .200 average. He is coming out of the season slump with a .300 hitting streak in his last 5 games and he leads the team in steals and has only 3 errors on the season.
These statistics are comparable to Ragsdale’s favorite player. Ozzie Smith was Ragsdale’s favorite player growing up and he remembers the best play Ozzie committed as a shortstop for the San Diego Padres. "The ball up the middle that took a bad hop, Ozzie barehanded it and threw to first," Ragsdale fondly remembers.
Living in New York has been a learning experience for Ragsdale, but he says it’s been going very well. Times Square is one place he has visited and remarks about how big it is. One of the best things he learned about was a sale at Macy’s. "Macy’s had a 50 percent sale one day." Ragsdale starts chuckling. "I was going in there one day and polo shirts was on sale for 20 bucks."
The Cyclones have a tendency this year to be an up and down squad as evidence in their third place start in the McNamara division as of press time. The hitting has started to pick up after their slow start in the beginning of the year.
Brooklyn fans have seen the return of their favorite players from last season’s pennant winning 2001 club. Jay Caliguiur, Joe Jianetti, John Toner and Ryan Olson are some of the players that have come back to play at Keyspan Park. Most of the players that are here are on rehab assignment due to various injuries.
After the July 15th game against New Jersey, attendance went over the 100,000 mark after 13 games.
July 19 will be Honeymooners Night, sponsored by the TVLand network. Special events will honor the classic 1950’s series. On July 24, the Cyclones will honor the former Brooklyn Dodger Duke Snider with a video tribute of his years playing at Ebbetts Field.