Founded in 1986
Brooklyn, New York
|Minor league affiliations|
|Major league affiliations|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles||1986, 2001|
|Division titles||1986, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007|
|Owner(s)/Operated by: Sterling Equities|
|Manager: Wally Backman|
|General Manager: Steve Cohen|
The Brooklyn Cyclones are a minor league baseball team in the Short-Season A classification New York - Penn League, affiliated with the New York Mets. The Cyclones play at KeySpan Park just off the Coney Island boardwalk. In its entire franchise history, the team has won seven division titles. In 2001, the Cyclones were declared co-league champions with the Williamsport Crosscutters, being forced to prematurely end their championship series due to the September 11 attacks.
The Cyclones began as the St. Catharines, Ontario-based St. Catharines Blue Jays (later St. Catharines Stompers) in 1986 as a team in the New York - Penn League. They were named for their parent club, the Toronto Blue Jays. In 1995, the team was sold by the city of Toronto to a group of local investors which included former Toronto catcher Ernie Whitt.
In 1999, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced a deal that would bring two minor league baseball teams to the outer boroughs of the city. New ballparks would be constructed for the Staten Island Yankees and the Cyclones. Prior to the 2000 season, the team was bought and moved to Brooklyn, New York, becoming known as the Queens Kings. The club played its 2000 season at St. John's University in Jamaica, New York, in the borough of Queens, remaining a Blue Jays affiliate for one last season.
A name-the-team contest was held to determine a new name for the Brooklyn franchise. The winning selection, Cyclones, refers to the famous Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster at nearby Astroland amusement park on Coney Island. The team's new park, KeySpan Park, was completed in time for the 2001 season. Brooklyn had been without professional baseball since the Brooklyn Dodgers left Ebbets Field for Los Angeles, California in 1958. After approximately three weeks of play, additional seats had to be added to the stadium to accommodate fans.
The Cyclones played well in their opening season with the best record in the league, 52–24. They defeated the Staten Island Yankees, 2–1, in the opening playoff round, advancing to the championship series against the Williamsport Crosscutters. The Cyclones traveled to Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, winning the series opener on September 9. The potential championship clincher was scheduled for September 11 in Brooklyn. However, due to the September 11 attacks, all minor league baseball playoffs were canceled. The Cyclones and Crosscutters were declared co-champions.
In 2003 and 2004, Brooklyn won back-to-back McNamara division titles. On August 23, 2005, The Cyclones and KeySpan Park hosted the first-ever New York - Penn League All-Star Game, which was won by the National League-affiliated team by a score of 5–4. Also that year, the Cyclones became a major partner of Brooklyn's High School of Sports Management, a small school located down the block from KeySpan Park on West 19 Street and Mermaid Ave.
On July 20, 2006, the Cyclones and the Oneonta Tigers took part in the longest game in the history of the New York - Penn League, a 26-inning marathon that the Cyclones lost, 6–1. The game took 6 hours and 40 minutes to complete. The Cyclones scored their lone run in the first inning; Oneonta tied the game in the fourth and then did not score again until they scored five runs in the top of the 26th inning. Cyclones manager George Greer was ejected from the contest in the first inning for arguing an umpire's call on a force play at second base.
On September 7, 2007, during the final regular season game (a 5–4 victory over the Lowell Spinners), the Cyclones set an all-time single-game attendance record of 10,073—2,573 more than the stadium's seating capacity in 2001. That season, the team won its fourth McNamara division title.
On August 23, 2009, Cyclones pitcher Brandon Moore threw a 7-inning no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader against the Aberdeen IronBirds, 5-0, at Ripken Stadium. Moore walked three and hit one batter, with only one IronBird reaching second base. This came seven years to the day Miguel Pinango threw a nine-inning one-hitter for the Cyclones, pitching 8.2 innings of no-hit ball.
The Cyclones' main rival are the Staten Island Yankees, a rivalry often called the "Battle of the Boroughs", after the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island, or the "Battle for the Bridge", after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge which separates the two teams. Only 13 miles apart, the two teams have the closest proximity in Minor League Baseball. The two teams generally sell out the games which pit them against each other. Other regional rivals include the Hudson Valley Renegades and the Tri-City ValleyCats. A major contribution to this intense rivalry is the fact that both parent teams are also based in New York (the Mets in Queens, and the Yankees in the Bronx).
As of 2009, the Cyclones have had 21 alumni make the Major Leagues. The first Cyclone to break into the major leagues was infielder Danny Garcia, who made his debut with the New York Mets on September 2, 2003 at Shea Stadium. Scott Kazmir, who played with Brooklyn in 2002, made his major league debut with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2004. Still with the Rays in 2008, Kazmir was tagged with the loss in Game 1 of the 2008 World Series. He is the first former Cyclone to reach the World Series, though Lenny DiNardo, who pitched with the Cyclones in 2001, won a World Series ring with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 while on the Disabled List.
Mike Jacobs, who was a member of the inaugural 2001 Cyclones team, made his Mets debut on August 21, 2005, hitting a three run pinch-hit home run off Washington Nationals pitcher Esteban Loaiza. In 30 games with 100 at bats for the Mets, Jacobs hit 11 home runs and had 23 RBI before being traded to the Florida Marlins after the season.
In April 2006, Brian Bannister became the first Cyclone pitcher to make his debut with the Mets in a game against the Washington Nationals at Shea. The following April, sidearm reliever Joe Smith, who pitched for the Cyclones in 2006, made his major league debut on opening day for the Mets against the St. Louis Cardinals. Smith pitched a scoreless third of an inning in the Mets win. First baseman/outfielder Nick Evans was called up on May 24, 2008 as an injury replacement. Evans, who played with the Cyclones in 2005, had 3 doubles in his first major league game.
Currently (as of ), the Cyclones have 21 players in the Major Leagues.
The Cyclones have two mascots, Sandy the Seagull and Pee-wee. Sandy, the primary mascot, has been with the team since the inaugural Cyclones season in 2001. Pee-wee was introduced in 2003 as Sandy's adopted son. Sandy is named for Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, while Pee-Wee was named after Brooklyn Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese.
In 2006, the team introduced a new unnamed mascot: a blow-up "ZOOperstars" type pelican. Despite a contest to name the character, it was never given an official name. The Pelican has not made an appearance since the 2006 season.
In 2008, Maverick the Wonder Dog was introduced. He was a real Chocolate Labrador Retriever who was owned by one of the Cyclones staff members. The goal was to have Maverick learn tricks like picking up baseballs and bats. Like the Pelican, Maverick lasted only one season.
A Hot Dog race is held at every game at Keyspan Park there is a "Hot Dog" race which is sponsored by Nathan's Famous. The first Nathan's store is located two blocks away from the ballpark. The three hot dogs currently racing are Ketchup, Mustard, and Relish. For many years Relish has become the loveable loser because he either wins very few races or none at all during the season.
In addition to traditional mascots, the Cyclones had a promotional team made up of men and women called the "Cyclones Beach Bums". The Beach Bums who entertained the ballpark from 2003 through 2008, were seen all over the ballpark dancing, interacting with fans, and handing out promotional items.
In 2009, the team decided to hire an all women dance team to replace the Beach Bums, but still retaining the Beach Bum name. The dance team is similar to the New York Knicks, New York Dragons and New York Islanders.