The Brooklyn Cyclones

In December 1985, the New York Mets threatened to use their territorial rights to block state senator Tom Bartosiewicz's plan to find a AAA level minor league team willing to move to Brooklyn. At that point, betting against Brooklyn ever seeing professional baseball again would have seemed a smart play.

In 2001, though, it was the Mets that finally brought pro ball back to Brooklyn, in the lesser form of the short season A level Cyclones. This happened via a convoluted deal between the Mets and Blue Jays. In 2000 a team of Blue Jays minor leaguers played for a team owned by the Mets at St John's University in Queens. This team was called the Queens Kings. The franchise then moved to new Keyspan Park at Coney Island in 2001, was freshly stocked with Mets minor leaguers, and became the Brooklyn Cyclones.

The team name was the result of a fan contest, in which several thousand entries (including one from this half of all suggested the same name. The eventual winner of the contest, and for that purpose, official namer of the team, was John Diffley of Port Jefferson, NY. The Cyclone in the name refers to the famous nearby roller coaster at Astroland amusement park, which dates back to 1927.

The Cyclones were entered in the NY-Penn League, and acquired an instant arch rival, in the form of the brand new Staten Island Yankees. This was no surprise- the two teams and their stadiums were announced at the same time in 1999. It seems highly unlikely that either the Mets or Yankees would have allowed the other to put a new team in the city alone.

Cyclones caps- designed to remind us of an earlier team

The 2001 Brooklyn Cyclones won their first ever game, 2 to 1 at Jamestown, and went from strength to strength. The team finished the season 52-24, 30-8 at their Keyspan Park home. Led by pitcher Ross Peeples (9 wins, 1.34 ERA), the Cyclones won the McNamara division, defeated the Yankees in the playoffs, and finished up being declared co-champions with Willamsport when the final playoff series was abandoned after the terrorist attacks of September 11.

Since then, the team has been erratic. Continuity from season to season is almost non-existent, as is the case with single-A teams everywhere. The Cyclone Club won the McNamara Division again in 2003 and 2004, but has not taken another league championship.

Crowd favorites - Ambiorix Concepcion, Ross Peeples, Derran Watts

In that time, the Cyclones have had a number of crowd favorites. At his best in 2001, Ross Peeples appeared unhittable. Scott Kazmir made a cup-of-coffee appearance in 2002 as a flamethrowing pitcher on his way to bigger things. The Cyclones crowd took his subsequent trade to the Devil Rays very badly. Ambiorix Concepcion won fans as much for his fun to chant name as for leading the team in home runs and stolen bases in 2004. In the same year, Derran Watts managed to be involved in most of the bizarre plays that happened- from a bunted walk off home run to hitting a sign and winning a suit. Pitcher Bobby Parnell was a safe bet in 2005, leading the league with a fine ERA of 1.73, and he started the All Star Game at Keyspan Park. Ike Davis, who hardly set the world on fire with the 2008 Cyclones, hit better and better as he rose through the ranks and may yet prove to be one of the franchise's best products as he settles into the full time first base job with the Mets. The 2010 Cyclones hit up a storm - Darrell Ceciliani hit .351 to win the batting title and set a franchise record for batting average, adding records for hits (95), runs (56), and triples (12). For all that, he was arguably outdone by Cory Vaughn, whose two run shot in the last regular season game was his 14th home run, also a franchise record, as was his mark of 56 runs batted in.

Big bats - Darrell Ceciliani and Cory Vaughn

The 2009 Cyclones started 16-2, and fans dreamed of a league title, but it wasn't to be. The team landed a wild card spot at 45-30, and was swept out of the playoffs by Mahoning Valley. The undisputed highlight of the year was Brandon Moore's no hitter - the first in Cyclones history - in a 5-0 win over Aberdeen in Maryland.

2010 marked the tenth summer of the Cyclones, an occasion marked by a season long celebration. The team remained the biggest draw, by far, in the New York-Penn League. With Mets favorite Wally Backman managing the squad, hopes were once again high for Brooklyn's professional baseball club. The 2010 Cyclones went 51-24, a rainout shy of matching the 2001 squad's regular season record, and won the McNamara Division by 12 games over Hudson Valley. After scraping by Jamestown, two games to one, the Cyclones ran out of magic at the last moment, being swept by the Tri-City Valley Cats in the championship series.

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