On Tuesday I spent the day and night meeting up with the Brooklyn Cyclones who were in Hudson Valley to play the Renegades.
I came, I saw, I left. I even beat the crowd out of the stadium parking lot without running anyone down as they scurried for their cars. The game may have left the home crowd thrilled and elated, but it left me feeling disappointed and deflated. The Clones were unable to hold onto a 2-0 lead late in the game, and a well-pitched effort by Luis Cessa went by the wayside. The day wasn’t a total loss though as I got to meet, and touch base with some of your 2012 Brooklyn Cyclones.
The final score of Tuesday’s game would turn out to be Hudson Valley 4, Brooklyn 2, but the Cyclones are off to a great start (6-3, tied for first in their division) thanks to their starting pitching. Once the bats get going they will present a formidable challenge to the other entries in the New York Penn League. I spoke with Brooklyn manager Rich Donnelly and asked him if they would go with a six-man rotation like they are presently, for the entire season. He said they would, and that it is now an “organizational philosophy” to use six-man rotations. He said although the pitchers would get an extra day’s rest, they would be getting stretched out through the early stages of the season, and eventually get to the point where they will be able to throw 100-110-120 pitches in a given start.
Before the game I got to hang out near the batting cage and introduce myself to, and chat with a few players. I touched base with two guys who I interviewed for MMO during the off-season, Cole Frenzel and Phillip Evans. They are both super nice guys to talk to, and I look forward to speaking more with them in the future as they progress through the Mets system. I told Frenzel that he would probably be heading back to Savannah soon to provide some punch to their line-up, since they will most likely be losing a couple of corner guys, Aderlin Rodriguez and Brian Harrison to promotion soon.
It was fun talking to Phillip Evans, he is very down-to earth, very real. He’s not only a kid having a lot of fun these days, but he is a baseball player as well. All you have to do is watch him swing the bat, or handle himself around second-base, to see that this kid is something very special. His moves are not the slightest bit awkward, ever. He is smooth, and fluid, and stays within himself when he plays. I was very impressed with him in the field and see no reason why he can’t remain at shortstop going forward. I asked him what he thought of the New York Penn League so far? He just shrugged his shoulders, pretty much said baseball is baseball. I said “yeah but last year at this time you were playing high school ball, now your competing against players much older.” He said he doesn’t think about that, and you know what? He doesn’t. You can see it in the quiet confidence he plays with.
Two guys I am anxious to speak to about their Mets careers so far are Brandon Nimmo, and Kevin Plawecki. I was talking to Joe D on my cell phone while the Clones were taking batting practice, and Nimmo was right on the other side of the back-stop screen. I said, “Joe, let’s go introduce ourselves to Brandon Nimmo!” So with my phone clutched in my hand for Joe to hear, I said, “Hey Brandon!” He walked over and shook hands with me, and I introduced myself to him and asked if we could do an interview next week for MMO, and he said “sure, no problem.” I asked Joe who was listening on the phone if he wanted to say hello to Brandon, and suddenly I had Ralph Kramden on the line. He just said, “hommina, hommina, hommina.” I just said, “never mind, let me handle this big guy.”
I was also lucky enough to be able to have a brief word with this year’s 1st-round sandwich pick, slugging catcher Kevin Plawecki. I introduced myself to him, and asked him for a photo, which he was nice enough to pose for, and then I asked him if we could do a Q&A next week, and he said sure, no problem. Plawecki is a big, strong guy with a very powerful stroke. If he squares one up, it will travel a long way. Kevin will get the lion’s share of the catching duties at Brooklyn this year, and he fortunately has two solid guys backing him up in Nelfi Zapata, and Jeff Glenn.
Like I said earlier, if your a Cyclones/Mets fan, the game itself was a dud Tuesday night with very little to get excited about other than the performance of the starting pitcher. Stefan Sabol had a nice game going 2-for-4, and Eudy Pina seems to be hitting the ball much better of late and went 2-for-4 also, with an RBI. For the season, Pina has already amassed 10 RBI, good for a tie for second-place in the New York Penn League. He has been the regular right-fielder for the Cyclones so far this year, while 2012 17th round draft-pick Sabol, has been flanking Nimmo as the regular left-fielder.
I’ll be seeing the Cyclones play again in person twice next week, as Petey Pete goes on the road to the Hudson Valley once again! I will be sitting down with some of the Cyclones and getting some neat interviews and tidbits for you, so keep checking in with MMO everyday so you don’t miss any of our great Mets coverage. First up, I will be writing up the fantastic interview I was able to do yesterday with Brooklyn manager Rich Donnelly. Rich is a really great guy, and very engaging and fun to talk baseball with. I asked him all about his current Cyclones team, and he was very enlightening. I am going to transcribe the interview in it’s entirety so you don’t miss a thing!
If you live north of the city, or in Connecticut, check out the Cyclones when they come to “The Dutch,” Dutchess Stadium in Wappingers Falls, NY. The Cyclones will be visiting there on July 1, July 3, and July 18, and then one more time on August 29. It’s a great place to see a game, but if you are squeamish about hanging with a bunch of Renegades fans, look me up so I have somebody to talk Mets baseball with during the games. If you need info on getting to Hudson Valley, tickets or whatever, click here to go to the team website.