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New toppings for hot dog races

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This season’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Race will feature three additions to last year’s line-up: Chili (a Chili dog), Franky (a plain dog), and, of course, Sauerkraut.

The six hot dogs will compete in a rotating lineup with each game’s fourth inning competition being a three dog night. At the end of the season, the leading racers will compete in playoffs to see who becomes top dog.

The season’s inaugural sprint featured Chili, Franky and that lovable loser, Relish.

At the start of the race, Chili peppered Franky with shoves that, quite frankly, Franky didn’t relish. So he shoved back before Relish, who was dogging it at the start of the race, became green with envy. Seeing the two upstarts ahead of him, Relish began to ketch – err – catch up, and eventually pass the two weiners.

Relish’s winning run enabled it to lead the hot dog race season standings for the first time ever.

Relish then mustered up a victory dance, prancing and cavorting in front of the third base dugout in an over-the-top celebration of his victory.

What a hot dog!

— Ed Shakespeare

Score in the sky

The famous Parachute Jump stands in foul territory just past right field outside Keyspan Park. Originally used at the 1936 World’s Fair in Queens, the ride was later moved to its present location in Coney Island.

The Parachute Jump no longer operates as a ride, but it remains a famous landmark.

Warner Fusselle, legendary radio announcer for the Cyclones, has a terrific idea to put the jump to work for the Clones.

“Colored lights should be added to the Parachute Jump,” said Fusselle. “One color if the Cyclones are ahead, a different color if they are losing. [Both colors if the game is tied.] A blinking color when the game is over.”

Imagine the scene. People in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and New Jersey can see the Parachute Jump. People sitting at home, relaxing on the beach, driving their cars, walking on sidewalks, sitting on ferries and flying in planes all look at the Parachute Jump.

“The Cyclones are winning,” fans will say.

“The color changed, the Clones are losing,” observers will note.”

“What do the lights mean?” an as yet uninformed viewer will wonder?

The neophyte viewer will learn.

The lights will become a part of Brooklyn, and New York, culture.

Is there a sponsor, or a mover and shaker out there, who can make this happen, who can quickly cut through the red tape and get some added lights on the Parachute Jump?

A great idea, a relatively simple execution.

Who can make it happen?

— Shakespeare

Brooklyn boy

Brooklyn’s own Joe Burke, a catcher, started his pro career with a game at Keyspan Park on Opening Night, but the Marine Park resident was playing for the Cyclones’ opponents, the Staten Island Yankees.

That was fine for Burke, a long-time Yankee fan who was recently drafted in the 15th round.

Burke, a left-handed batter, played his high school baseball at St. Edmund’s Prep, in Brooklyn, where he played virtually every positions.

He played his college baseball at St. John’s University, in Queens. Burke had a large contingent of family and friends on the third base side of the ballpark on Opening Night.

— Shakespeare

Suits me

Noticeably missing from the advertisements along the outfield wall was one some considered a holdover from Ebbets Field.

Since the Cyclones’ inaugural season in 2001, Garage Clothing had promised a suit to any player that hit their strategically-located billboard in left-center.

The company held up their end of the commitment twice in the Clones history — when infielder Jay Caligiuri whacked a ball off it in 2001, and in 2004 when Derran Watts knocked one off it.

This year, the sign, which harks back to Abe Stark’s right field sign in Ebbets Field, is nowhere to be found.

Perhaps the owners were scared away by the year-old Tracey Real Estate glove, perched high above the left field wall, which promises up to a $250,000 home to anyone that can hit it.

Of course, $250,000 isn’t much for a house these days (did somebody say Staten Island?), so most players would probably prefer the suit.

But we think what finally brought down the Garage sign was the new challenge from the family of Bay Ridge car dealers.

The popular dealerships, famous for their “We Deliver” commercial during the games, will deliver a new car to any player who hits a ball inside their target, placed high up on the light post in left.

We’re sure that for a kid in his late teens or early 20s, a new car is better than a new suit any day of the week.

Well, maybe except Sunday.

— Vince DiMiceli

June 25, 2005 issue  

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