Early Summer Swoon Sinks Brooklyn Into Last Place
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Cyclones will be leaving Brooklyn for the holiday weekend, kicking off a three-game series in Aberdeen on Independence Day.
Perhaps the change of scenery will be a blessing in disguise for our borough's currently struggling Class A short-season franchise by the sea.
Following a 5-2 defeat in Staten Island on Tuesday night, the Baby Bums found themselves all alone in last place in the New York-Penn League's McNamara Division with an ugly 5-10 record.
Losers of a season-high four in a row and seven of eight, the Cyclones have managed only 47 runs (just over three per game) in their first 15 games, ranking third from last on the 14-team circuit.
Third-year manager Rich Donnelly, a veteran of more than 30 seasons in professional baseball, is well-equipped to deal with an early-season slump, especially with more than 60 contests remaining on the grinding 76-game summer schedule.
But he also understands the challenge of getting these first-year professionals, many of whom have never played before more than a small gathering of family and friends, to perform under the bright lights for big city baseball fans.
"When I started my first [pro] game, I remember being so nervous that I was almost going to throw up," the 66-year-old Ohio native recalled. “I think [the challenge of] not only Brooklyn, but pro ball, playing every day. You’re not going to class anymore. You don’t have a calculus test, but you’ll be tested every day."
If previous history is any indicator, Donnelly's team will get better as the season progresses.
In each of the past two years, the Cyclones have excelled down the stretch to capture NY-Penn playoff spots before getting knocked out in the opening round of the postseason. This year, they're hoping to help revitalize storm-ravaged Coney Island and lift the franchise to its first NY-Penn Championship since the inaugural 2001 campaign.
"Our job is to provide some entertainment for those people who have been through hell," Donnelly noted. "If we do that, irregardless of wins and losses, that’s our goal for this team.”
Thus far this summer, it's been more losses than wins for Brooklyn's first MLB-affiliated ballclub since the Dodgers left for Los Angeles in 1957.
But knowing Donnelly, the 2013 Cyclones will fight their way back into the thick of the McNamara race before long.
“I’m not good at predicting stuff," the skipper intimated. "We try to come out and play the game right. This is their first year of pro ball, hopefully they can improve."