Looking out at an emptied baseball field through another bout of downpour, I grinned crazily and wondered if I was overly excited about spending Friday night at a nearly rained out baseball game. When I received a text message from a New York-seasoned friend two nights later who was having one of best nights of her life, I knew we were onto something.
Through a friend's hookup, the boyfriend and I were invited to attend game nine of the Cyclones vs Cincinnati. Despite thunderstorms and, ironically, a tornado watch, our friend's enthusiasm went unflagged, and we agreed to take the train to the end of the F to watch some ball. Turns out about 200 other people were also undaunted by bursts of pouring rain, and everyone was in great spirits, getting a couple of extra beers and dogs in under the covered concession area overlooking the field. Here we were introduced to frozen margaritas (lime with strawberry syrup are best), nachos in a helmet and my personal favorite, arancini balls. Deep fried pizza balls held together with risotto and breadcrumb are only made more attractive by selling them by sixes in halved egg cartons. A round of drinks and balls later, the officials called game on and we sloshed to our seats, perching carefully atop plastic-wrapped Cyclones bbq aprons (everyone except me, who had immediately ripped mine from the package to don and hastily discarded my butt-saving plastic bag).
The Brooklyn Cyclones are the Mets' pre-team, playing in the shadow of roller coasters along the shore of Coney Island. They throw a party of a baseball game like no other. Minor league games, as the La Crosse Loggers taught me many years ago, are played by and for baseball lovers and equipped to entertain all the baseball lovers' lovers and families who inevitably come along. The emcee for the Cyclones is a red velvet ensconced King who presides over between-innings activities and makes sure no fan suffers the embarrassment of being the last one to shout "Let's go, Cyclones!" when the organ drops out. Friday was "Greek Heritage Night", and though we missed the pre-game Greek children's dance troupe, we were assured the number was performed in near slow-motion. Between innings, the king summoned fans and interns alike to participate in "Greek" gladiator jousting, sumo bubble wrestling and dumping a pail of Greek yogurt over someone's head in a slapstick classic called Take One For The Team. Saturday was the third annual Seinfeld night (How thirsty ARE these pretzels making you?), and Sunday, for one night only, the team was redubbed the Brooklyn Doggers (just kidding, the Brooklyn Franks) in honor of Tuesday's legendary Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest. Although, from the footage she sent, Sunday may as well have been themed AMERICA! with the combination of roller coasters + baseball + fireworks + "I'm Proud to Be an American" occurring simultaneously. The 2016 Cyclones season runs through September and it is well worth the trip to make it part of your summer!