By Jim Dolan
For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
On Saturday, May 11, single tickets went on sale at MCU Park for the Cyclones’ 2013 season, which starts this year on June 18. In addition to the ticket sale, season ticket-holders were treated to a behind the scenes look at the refurbished clubhouse and a field tour of the newly renovated MCU Park that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
“We got here at 5 a.m.,” said Bath Beach resident Bryan Meltzer, who along with his two children, Marie 14, and Evan 11, were the first in line at the ticket window for the third year in a row. In previous years Meltzer had camped all night to get the top spot, but this year Meltzer said, “I gambled that 5 o’clock was early enough to get here to be first on line, and I was right.”
Having just returned to their offices at MCU Park just one week ago from the temporary trailers in the adjacent parking lot, the Cyclones’ front office staff offered morning tours of the newly renovated home clubhouse and a walk on the new state of the art field surface. Showing fans where the water level had reached approximately 4 feet inside the stadium’s walls, Cyclones media director Billy Harner said the park’s damage totaled at least $6 million to the field and its infrastructure.
With the dugouts completely flooded and the sea water from the Hurricane Sandy up as high as 10 rows into the stands, Harner recalled wading through the corridor without any power, holding a cell phone flashlight to check the damage to his office. After salvaging what he could, Harner remarked, “Besides all the debris and garbage in my office, I even found a shrimp floating in there!”
In addition to the park’s interior repairs, this season’s new artificial field surface field will have a fresh and dramatic look with a deep shade of green along with a rich brown infield and encircling warning track. With the former natural-grass field submerged under seawater along with contaminating sewage, the decision to replace the field with a sturdier artificial surface came easy.
“This is ‘TurfField,’ the latest in sports technology today,” explained Harner. Many of the Division I colleges already play on this surface, and even the Mets have this same field down in Port St. Lucie.” Different from the harder Astroturf fields of the past, this new surface comes from recycled rubber that actually mimics tiny blades of grass and has a strong drainage capacity. In fact, fans walking over the field a few minutes just after a brief rain saw a nearly dry, playable field surface.
Besides the MCU Park renovation, this year is looking to be a bounce-back summer season for Coney Island on Surf Avenue as Nathan’s renovations continue for a Memorial Day opening, along with new Applebee’s and Johnny Rockets restaurants.