By Matt John
Get your popcorn ready, Coney Island, the Cyclones are back!
The Brooklyn Cyclones are approaching the Monday, June 19 opener of the 2017 New York-Penn League season with high hopes — even if the squad’s honchos don’t yet know who will be sprinting onto the field at MCU Park to play for them.
“Every year we hope to get back to the playoffs and potentially win a championship. That’s kind of the goal for every team when the season starts, regardless of if you’re in short-season baseball or playing in the majors,” team spokesman Billy Harner said. “We don’t know who is going to be our pitchers. We don’t know who’s going to be in our outfield. We don’t who know who’s going to be playing anywhere until a few days before opening day. It’s a very unique situation we have here in short-season baseball but the goals are always still the same regardless of where you are playing.”
The Cyclones finished 37–39 — third in the division — so there is obvious room for improvement. Team management believes that recent offseason moves — most notably promoting assistant coach and former Met Edgardo Alfonzo to manager — will pay dividends on the field once the season starts.
“He’s one of the more beloved Mets in recent memory so we’re excited to have him here,” Harner said of Alfonzo. “He tends to be more aggressive, which is always something that makes fans more excited.”
Cyclones brass are anxiously looking forward to who the parent club Mets select in Monday’s Major League Baseball draft, to get an idea of which ballplayers might be on Brooklyn roster come opening day.
“We’re just like most fans — waiting to see what happens here in the next couple of days. Hopefully the roster starts to take shape and we’ll have a better idea by the end of the week who will be taking the field on opening day.” Harner said. “We’re a minor league team playing in a major league city, so our fans are used to a certain quality of baseball.” Harner said.
The Cyclones haven’t been to the playoffs since 2012, and are counting on Alfonzo’s fresh leadership, and the continued support of their loyal fans, to carry the team back to postseason play.
“Our fans are very passionate,” Harner said. “And it’s very intimidating for opposing teams playing in front of crowds like we have here.”
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