Cyclones Getting Stronger At Halfway Point
At the beginning of the season, Brooklyn Cyclones manager Tony Tijerina said that his young players would need time to acclimate themselves to their new surroundings. Once they adjusted to the rigors of professional baseball, the Cyclones can be judged on their performance.
The results so far have been very promising to say the least for Brooklyn. At the halfway point of the season, the Brooklyn Cyclones 22-14 record gives then a 2 ½ game lead over Hudson Valley and 3 games above Aberdeen.
Cyclones radio announcer Warner Fusselle is one person that can best describe how the team has done this season. The longtime announcer has broadcasted on This Week In Baseball, Major League Baseball Magazine and the Seton Hall’s men’s basketball team.
Joining the Cyclones in their inaugural season of 2001, Fusselle has been at his customary position at the catbird seat for every game the past four years. So far this year, Fusselle has liked how the Cyclones have progressed, especially in their outfield.
Centerfielder Corey Coles is in the top 5 of the Penn League in hits, runs, and is batting .356.
“Corey Coles is a legitimate good hitter,” the Georgia born broadcaster said. “He’ll hit wherever he goes. He’s line drive hitter and he can hit a home run every now and then.”
Left fielder Dante Brinkley is hitting .337 at the third spot in the order and has provided many clutch hits this season.
“Brinkley just amazes me. I think he a funny guy but he’s really dedicated and knows what he’s doing,” said Fusselle.
Ambiorix Concepcion has gotten better with increased playing time. The Dominican born outfielder has at least 3 game winning RBI and it he speediest player on the team.
“Concepcion is a tremendous player. He doesn’t have the average but he’s exciting and he can run,” Fusselle said. “He can throw in rightfield. Him and Dante have the best throwing arms.”
2004 Fourth round draft pick Aaron Hathaway has impressed the coaching staff with his excellent defense behind the plate. Fusselle has seen recent Mets’ catching prospects such as Justin Huber and Mike Jacobs pass through Brooklyn and says that Hathaway is the best out of all them.
“I think I’ve seen enough that he’s the best catcher I’ve seen here. His throwing is unbelievable. He picks off guys. I think he’ll hit something eventually.”
With the starting pitching a bit inconsistent, the bullpen has been the rock of the pitching rotation midway through the season. Venezuelan relivers Edgar Alfonso (his uncle is Edgardo Alfonzo of the S.F. Giants), Celso Rondon and Eddy Camacho have been looked upon by Tijerina to pitch in very important situations this year.
Fusselle is impressed with Tijerina’s first season as the Cyclones manager. “Tijerina has been aggressive and most of the mangers we’ve had here have been that. This is a good league to trying that. I believe he’s having a good time and he is really enjoying his time here. It’s a good staff with Donovan (Mitchell, hitting coach) and Hector (Berrios) have formed a really good combination. They’ve been exceptional.”
Fusselle believes that for the Cyclones to do well in the second half, the starting rotation has to pitch more innings so the bullpen does not get overtaxed and the bottom of the batting order has to be more consistent. He believes the Cyclones can continue their run in the second half.
“There has been some real excitement this season with Tony and Donovan being ejected in the second game of the doubleheader and scoring three runs in the eigth to win. (against Aberdeen last week) Concepcion was hitting two run homers all over the place in the three game series against Mahoning Valley,” Fusselle said.
“Their first 12 of 23 games were decided by one run and played the first seven of 8 games this season on the road,” said Fusselle. “When you consider all of that and there are no doubleheaders staring them at the face, I think things are going really good right now”.
Singles Night Rescheduled
The Cyclones rescheduled their Singles Night for tonight, July 30, after being rained out on July 23. The original bachelor and spokesman for match.com, Alex Michel, will host singles Night at KeySpan Park. 50 men and 50 women will have the opportunity to meet and mingle on the Ocean View Party Deck while watching the Cyclones take on the Lowell Spinners. For $30, each single will receive food, drink, a ticket to the ballgame and the chance to meet his or her match! Singles will also be invited to participate in between inning contests held each night at the Cyclones games.