Cyclones announce turf change and renovations at MCU Park for 2013 season
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Hurricane Sandy hit Coney Island more than six weeks after the Brooklyn Cyclones' 2012 season ended with a 2-0 loss at Hudson Valley in the third and decisive game of their first-round playoff series.
But the effects of the deady and destructive super storm are still being felt by area residents, including the Baby Bums as they prepare to open their 13th season on Surf Avenue.
A little more than five weeks from now, the Cyclones will host the rival Staten Island Yankees at MCU Park before what should be another sell-out crowd at one of Minor League Baseball's most attractive venues.
But due to the never-before-seen levels of storm surge and rising sea tides along the shoreline last October, the ballpark itself will have a brand new look to it as a fresh crop of Mets prospects make their first foray into the world of professional baseball.
“Like so many of our fans and neighbors, we felt the wrath of the storm,” longtime Cyclones General Manager Steve Cohen said. “We realize that while we are ready to return to business as usual, there is still a lot of work to be done both here on Coney Island and in other communities throughout the area. We are excited to get back on our feet and embrace the opportunity to continue helping our friends, fans and neighbors in their recovery efforts.” .
According to a team-issued release, renovations have been completed to the front office, locker rooms, ticket office, catering areas and dugouts, while a completely remodeled team store will be unveiled closer to Opening Day, June 18.
But the most obvious change to the ballpark will be a brand-new, state-of-the-art playing surface after the salt, chemicals and other pollutants caused by the ocean water left the previously lush green grass surface contaminated and unplayable. .
LandTek, a leader in the sports facility design and construction industry, recently completed installation of the FieldTurf, synthetic grass system at MCU Park. The field is made of specifically designed turf with the exception of the pitcher’s mound and home plate area, which is still comprised of traditional clay and dirt. The specially designed baseball turf has the look and feel of traditional sod, but is optimally designed for durability and severe weather. .
“Our new field will be a great addition to MCU Park,” Cohen noted. “The added durability of the playing surface allows us to use the ballpark almost year-round. We can now host soccer, football, lacrosse, concerts, corporate outings and more in addition to the youth, high school and college baseball games that we typically schedule. Equally important is the fact that it is designed to withstand severe weather, which bodes well in the event that the recent trend of storms continues.” .
The first event at the newly renovated MCU Park field will be this week's CUNY Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament.
The Cyclones will also have a special pregame ceremony on Opening Day, honoring those affected by the storm and kicking off a summer-long drive dedicated to returning the home of one of the world's most famous amusement parks to at lease some sense of normalcy in the wake of the devastating storm.
Brooklyn's first pro baseball team since the Dodgers left for Los Angeles in 1957 will host the all-new Meaningful Mondays initiative, beginning with a July 1 Coney Island Night. Through the program, $3 from every individual ticket sold to the Monday night games will go to various local charities that focus on the recovery effort following Super Storm Sandy.
Each of the six Monday night games will focus on a different neighborhood that was severely impacted by the storm. Here is the schedule for Meaningful Mondays:
- Monday, July 1 – Coney Island Night to benefit ConeyRecovers.org.
- Monday, July 8 – Gerritsen Beach / Sheepshead Bay Night to benefit Gerritsen Cares.
- Monday, July 22 – Nassau County Night to benefit the Nassau Hurricane Recovery Fund.
- Monday, July 29 – Red Hook Night to benefit the Red Hook Initiative.
- Monday, Aug. 19 – Staten Island Night to benefit The Stephen Siller Foundation.
- Monday, Aug. 26 – Breezy Point / Rockaway Night to benefit The Graybeards.
“Following the storm, we were overwhelmed by the generosity and support that we received from people who were concerned about our ballpark,” said Cohen. “But as we went out into the community, we quickly learned that we were the lucky ones. Our offices were impacted by the storm, but for so many other people they lost much more than that. We hope that through our Meaningful Monday efforts, we can help the countless people still struggling to recover from the storm, recognize the heroes who were leaders in their communities during their time of need, and provide a night of fun and laughter at the ballpark as we all recover from Hurricane Sandy.”
In conjunction with the Meaningful Monday campaign, the Cyclones will honor “Hometown Heroes” during each game of the 2013 regular season. These individuals will be recognized for their heroism in the face of adversity as a result of Hurricane Sandy. In addition, the Cyclones will be selling “comeBacK” t-shirts throughout the season, with all proceeds to benefit the Meaningful Monday charities. They will feature the “comeBacK” slogan with the names of specific communities that were damaged by the hurricane.
Individual tickets for the 2013 season will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. and can be purchased by calling 718-507-TIXX, visiting the MCU Park box office, or on-line at BrooklynCyclones.com