The One with the Brooklyn Cyclones

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball…It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again.

~James Earl Jones as Terrence Mann in Field of Dreams


Even though Derek Jeter and the Bleacher Creatures of Yankee Stadium are just a subway ride away,  my first baseball game this season was spent at the minors. Baseball came back to Brooklyn about a decade ago in the form of the minor league Brooklyn Cyclones. They play in a small stadium right off the famed Coney Island boardwalk. That’s just one of the reasons I’m a convert to the magic of the Minor Leagues.

Why is the Minor League better than the Majors?

1. These seats cost $12.00.

Coney Island Brooklyn Cyclones

 

These seats cost $75.

Upper Deck Yankee Stadium

 



2. The Cyclones are Class A (short-season), meaning that these guys can’t even believe they’re getting paid to play ball. And they’re not getting paid much at that. The average salary per player is $850 per month. (In AAA Minor League they move up to $2,150 per month.) The team salary for the New York Yankees is $203 million.

The Cyclones players are signing autographs, shaking hands and kissing babies. And they actually seem to enjoy it. It’s a far cry from the bloated wallets and egos of the Major League players (is it just me?) who seem to exist in a ridiculous cloud of entitlement.
 



3. No line for the ladies’ room. None. At. All.
 



4. The Yankees have the 7th inning stretch. The Cyclones have the Race of the Condiments wherein mustard, relish and ketchup run the bases in a nail-biter of a race to home plate. (Tip: Don’t bet on mustard. He never wins. I think this race is fixed!)

The gimmicks at Minor League ballparks are legendary. According to columnist Keith Thomson for Weld Birmingham:

In 2002, in Charleston, S.C., RiverDogs owner Mike Veeck—who has inherited the funny-promotion DNA from his Hall of Fame major league team owner Bill Veeck—had a ”Nobody Night.” Fans were locked out of the stadium until the fifth inning so that the official attendance would be 0.

The same season, the Nashua Pride played “Who Wants to Be a Turkish Millionaire.” Fans played a version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” with the winner taking home a million Turkish lira, worth a about one US dollar at the time.

In 2010, the Lowell Spinners (Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox) had a “50th Anniversary Salute to Bubble Wrap,” handing out squares of bubble wrap and having fans simultaneously pop them in the third inning.

In 2007, the Augusta Greenjackets hosted a Salute to Indoor Plumbing, closing the restrooms so that fans had to use porta-potties.

Clearly, though, this one is my favorite.

Source: Buzzfeed

Source: Buzzfeed


 



5. With about 250 Minor League teams across the U.S. and South America there is probably a game happening near you. Right now.
 



6. Bull Durham.

 



7. The teams have creative names:

Carolina Mudcats

Winston-Salem Dash

Corpus Christi Hooks

Midland Rockhounds

Montgomery Biscuits (Really?)
 



Are you a baseball fan? Have you ever attended a Minor League baseball game?

Have a great weekend, everyone!  

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24 comments

  1. Hilarious post. I’m from Montgomery- don’t make fun if the biscuits. We race butter, honey and a local Crimson Tide football player. I also enjoyed the Girl Scout promotion for the pleasure spot. Yuk.

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  2. I have never been to a minor league game, but you may have talked me into it. No line in the ladies room–music to my ears. Why can’t relish always lose? I hate relish. And Bull Durham–classic.

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  3. I have been to both minor and major league games — and I’d agree that the minor league are more fun (for all the reasons you mentioned) but I have to say that the major league games were more thrilling in a way… to watch some of the legends I’d only ever seen on TV (I used to go long ago, in another life, when I lived near San Francisco). For the bathroom reason alone, I’d favor minor leagues every time, however! Great post, Jackie, but did I miss the Friday 5?

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    1. I was lucky enough to go to a World Series game years ago. It was indeed a huge thrill. Huge!
      Were you a SF Giants fan or did you just like the atmosphere of the games?

      BTW – I switched things up a bit, spring cleaning the ol’ blog so to speak. Hope you like the new format. 🙂

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  4. I have such a soft spot for baseball, Jackie! I grew up in Maine as a Mets fan (my father is a New Yorker) and his father played for the minors so baseball always fills me with good memories and thoughts of summer fun.

    The only thing they could improve, of course, would be allowing for dogs to come too! I’m sure Reggie would gladly try to catch a fly ball! 🙂

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  5. I am a baseball fan. I’ve been to both Mets and Yankees’ games at their old stadiums, but have not ventured out to either franchise’s new ballpark simply because what I’d have to pay for tickets I’d rather apply to attending a play. I also agree with you that the sense of entitlement one gets from guys in the majors, particularly the Yankees, is a huge turnoff. I never put much thought into attending a Cyclones game until this post, but for 12 clams — less than the cost of a movie ticket in Manhattan — that has huge appeal. Maybe I could get Milton to go with me. You give great PR Jackie.

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    1. I haven’t been to the new ballparks either. I wouldn’t mind going this summer just to check it out. (If you don’t mind sitting with the Bleacher Creatures at Yankee Stadium, I think those seats are fairly inexpensive.)

      I would love to read a Milton-centered Lame Adventure about a Cyclones game!

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      1. Okay, I’m with you, Jackie–a Milton-centered Cyclones post! I’m not much a baseball fan, though my dad often took us to Pirate games. Hope you are both having a wonderful weekend. We miss you!!!!!
        Hugs,
        Kathy

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  6. My dad, brother, husband and two sons played baseball, so I had no choice but to love the game. 🙂 I also love minor leagues! You’re right there, not far away in some huge stadium. Bull Durham and Field of Dreams are two of my favorite movies. A League of Their Own and The Natural too.

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  7. Love the minors. I’ve been to the Charlotte Knights, Kannapolis Intimidators and Hickory Crawdads parks this season. Everything you say about A ball is true and the fans love those kids because of it.

    Miss the old park in Durham where they filmed that movie. What a classic old place. The bull was still there when I went.

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  8. You know… I’m not sure why, but (while I enjoy watching a game every now and then) I never really got into baseball as much as football, basketball and hockey. Maybe it’s because I used to play those other sports with my friends more (although I’m not sure why that is, either). Strange. Especially considering all the ‘history’ in baseball (which almost makes it seem nostalgic / romantic to me… in a way).
    🙂

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    1. Do you think that the type of sports people enjoy is a regional thing? I never much cared for basketball, but I wonder if it’s because there wasn’t a team nearby when I was growing up.

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  9. I’ve never gone to a minor league game, and I’ve always meant to. This will be the summer, thanks to your fab list.

    Oh, and the juxtaposition of Pleasure Night right above Girl Scout night….

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