COURIER LIFE, MAY 7-13, 2021 43
OUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO THE BOROUGH OF KINGS
BY BEN VERDE
Baseball is returning to Brooklyn.
After more than 600 days and a pandemic
induced shakeup that changed
the makeup of Minor League Baseball,
the Brooklyn Cyclones will play their
fi rst home game since 2019 on May 18 at
MCU Park in Coney Island, when they
take on the Hudson Valley Renegades.
It will be the fi rst game the Baby
Bums have played since winning the
2019 New York Penn League Championship
— after which the stately league,
in operation since 1939, was dissolved.
The Cyclones, a part of the New York
Mets organization, were upgraded from
a low A short season team to a high A
East team, which will see them play a
full 120 game season of baseball, after
playing 76 game seasons since their inception.
The Clones fared better than
many other minor league teams during
the chaotic restructuring of the league.
42 minor league teams — including the
Cyclones’ former rivals the Staten Island
Yankees — lost their affi liation with Major
League Baseball, leaving 42 towns
across America with empty ballparks.
The Cyclones, for their part, say
they’re excited to fi nally get back on the
fi eld after walking away as champions
“It’s going to be exciting,” Cyclones
manager Ed Blankmeyer, who was
hired in January 2020, said during an
April 29 media availability. “It’s been
quite some time. These guys are biting
at the bit, I’m excited, my coaching staff
The team will have the chance to play
for fans at reduced capacity in the Surf
Avenue stadium when the season starts
in May. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced
on April 29 that the city is aiming to fully
reopen by July 1, meaning stadiums
could be packed to the brim by then.
For the Cyclones, this means a return
to what has become a staple of
Brooklyn summers since the team’s
inception in 2001 — and a return to the
stands for the team’s superfans.
“Small town baseball, it’s the fabric
of the United States, it’s a culture,”
Blankmeyer said. “These people look
forward to it, it’s a part of their lives,
and they support that particular franchise.
Our franchise in Brooklyn has
rabid fans, they love the players, love
the organization, and they are dying
for minor league baseball.”
“To have an opportunity to see these
young kids develop, the future players
of Major League Baseball, it’s exciting,”
While the Cyclones roster is yet to
be released, it is expected that former
Cyclones third baseman Brett Baty
and pitcher Matt Allan, members of the
championship team, will be returning
to the lineup in its high A incarnation.
Baty said he looks forward to returning
to the beachfront ballpark.
“I’m super excited to get back there,
I love that park, it’s just a great atmosphere,”
the third baseman said. “The
fans are amazing, and playing there
in 2019 is going to really help me out
playing this year again, so I’m super
excited to get going.”
The boys are back!
Cyclones gear up for 2021 season aft er league shakeup
ON THE BALL: Baseball returns to
Coney Island this summer after a
pandemic break and a restructuring
of the minor leagues.
File photo by Gary Thomas