Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hudson Valley Renegades 0 at Brooklyn Cyclones 3 (7, New York-Penn League) - July 8, 2014

After checking out Staten Island the other day, I wanted to compare New York's other minor league ballpark. MCU Park on Coney Island hosts the Brooklyn Cyclones and they conveniently had a morning doubleheader yesterday starting at 11:30. I knew I wouldn't stay for both games with the World Cup semifinal at 4 pm, but this would be my last chance to visit on a weekday for some time so I woke early and headed out.

I took the Q train all the way from Astoria to the final stop at Coney Island, an 80-minute ride made all the more entertaining by my friend Mike "King" Casiano, who happened to be on the same car that I boarded. He's been watching baseball since 1963 and he does not look kindly on some of the recent changes in strategy, such as using three pitchers in an inning. Just asking about the most recent Met game will bring forth a string of invective that results in a lot of stares from fellow passengers.

Anyway, the ballpark is just a few minutes away from the subway stop, located right next to the theme park on Coney Island making for a unique view beyond left field. The newest roller coaster "Thunderbolt" is visible in the photo above. The theme park motif is felt throughout the ballpark and the game, with constant advertisements being blared over the PA and over-the-top promotions on the field. I just tuned it out after a while. There is no doubt Staten Island is a better place to watch a game - it is less crowded and offers baseball as the prime attraction instead of noise. There are few seats with shade as you can see below, another minor annoyance on a hot afternoon such as this.

To be fair it was Camp Day, which meant about 4,000 kids in attendance which ratcheted up the noise a few decibels. Counselors had plenty of extra tickets but they were not giving them away, asking $5 each, a fair price given that the cheapest at the box office were $10. It took a while to get in with the kids lined up at each entrance, so by the time I found my seat, it was time for first pitch.

Marcos Molina started for the Cyclones coming in having given up just 1 earned run in 18 innings. The Mets #10 prospect according to Baseball Prospectus, Molina just turned 19 and is in his third season with the organization, having been signed out of the Dominican Republic. He certainly looked strong today, keeping Renegade hitters like Bralin Jackson (below, 5th round, 2012) off balance throughout his appearance. After four hitless innings, the murmurs of an abbreviated no-hitter (minor league doubleheaders are only seven innings) began to make the rounds, but Wilmer Dominguez singled with two out in the fifth to end that hope.

The Cyclones scored in the first on a double steal of second and home, and added two more in the fourth on a huge homer from Michael Bernal to give Molina more than enough for the win, his second of the campaign. Josh Prevost (5th, 2014, out of Seton Hall) pitched the final two frames for Brooklyn, retiring all six men he faced to preserve the one-hitter. Enderson Franco pitched a 6-inning complete game in taking the loss. The game took just 96 minutes for 173 pitches, a wonderfully quick 1.8 PPM.

It took 45 minutes to get the second game underway, and I wanted to leave around 2:30 to get home in time for the Germany Brazil game. Brooklyn made it difficult by not getting a hit for three innings, and I debated whether to stay, as leaving a no-hitter, even in the minor leagues, would be a mistake for which I would never forgive myself. Fortunately, the Cyclones managed a single in the bottom of the fourth and I headed back, making it home in time to see Germany run rampant. The final score of the second game was 3-0 Hudson Valley, with the Cyclones managing only two hits, essentially the ¥ opposite of the first game.

Next Up

Ottawa! The RedBlacks have brought the CFL back to Canada's capital and I'll be there for the home opener next Friday. I'll have a big announcement before that though, so check back often to see what it might be!



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