The Cyclones are, as of this writing, a first-place ball club, and that’s great. But as a Clones follower, you probably can’t tell one Brooklyn player from another without a scorecard this early in the season.
The team has seven players back from last year, but that means they have 26 new players. Thus, inspired by Abbott and Costello’s famous baseball skit, we present our third annual “Who’s On First” column, hoping that we’ll leave you slightly less confused than was Costello (all stats as of June 28).
Who’s on First?
A Swamp Bat. A 6-foot-3, 230 pound Swamp Bat, that’s who! Yes, Jabe (pronounced JAY’-bee) Bergeron, a former Keene Swamp Bat, a popular summer league team in New Hampshire, is on the initial sack. This guy, who played briefly for the Clones last season, is smart — Williams College — and tough — a collegiate hockey star.
He can really bash the ball and, as a right-handed hitter, he doesn’t have to contend with the prevailing winds off the ocean that plague left-handed power hitters at Keyspan. Some of his shots are going to land between the left-field fence and the Wonder Wheel.
Josh Petersen is another right-handed hitter with power, and will spend time at both first and third base. The 6-foot-4, 220 pound slugger can also play some outfield. He’s 23, “but baseball-wise, he’s younger,” said Donovan Mitchell, Brooklyn’s batting coach. This big bopper had a strong second half for Kingsport last season, and his power potential will anchor him in the Cyclones’ lineup.
What’s on Second?
Watts (Derran) is actually in the outfield for Hagerstown, where the popular Cyclone alum is hitting .330.
Armand Gaerlan is manning second for Brooklyn this year, and thus far has made several sparkling plays. The 5-foot-10 Californian from the University of San Francisco has shown major league range and hands.
Matt Fisher, 5-foot-9 winner of the Clonie “Jumbo Shrimp Oxymoron Award” last season for his gritty play, will also see some second-base action.
I Don’t Know’s on Third
We do know. It’s Tim Grogan, and he has been hitting for 19 years, so the 21 year-old got an early start. “Mom hung a Wiffle Ball from a tree in the backyard,” explained the Kentuckian.
But Grogan’s dad had something to do with his hitting as well. “Dad was slow as a ballplayer himself, so he wanted me to hit lefty so, I’d have an early start running to first,” said the Cyclone third-sacker. “So he’d put the bat on my left shoulder early on, and I’ve hit lefty ever since.”
I Don’t Give a Darn (shortstop)
His name might mean “bad” in Spanish, but actually Jonathan Malo’s been pretty good. Being that he’s from Montreal, Canada, he plays hockey and speaks French. He could team with fellow Canadian infielder and hockey player Ivan Naccarata and Bergeron to give the Cyclones the best hockey line in the New York-Penn League. And Malo does give a darn, as he’s hitting .313 with two stolen bases, a homer and two doubles.
Why and Because (outfield)
Caleb Stewart has been playing left field. He hit .252 for Brooklyn last season and spent some time in High-A St. Lucie this season, where he hit three homers in two weeks. Stewart is from Rush, Ky., a place where no one is in a hurry. Why? Where would they go? The slow-paced Rush only has a gas station, a post office, a convenience store and a few hundred people. Some small-town guys can really hit, and Stewart is one of them. Forget last season’s Cyclone average. Stewart’s .316 start this year is more like it.
Greg Gonzalez, from San Francisco and Chico State, is playing center field and leading-off. “He’s probably the Cyclones’ fastest runner,” according to coach Donovan Mitchell. A left-handed batter, Gonzalez was named the Most Valuable Player in this year’s NCAA Tournament’s West Regional. Gonzalez gets a good break on fly balls, and he’s hitting .375.
Jesus Gamero is in right field. The Abbott and Costello skit didn’t have a right fielder, but the Cyclones do, and this guy is hot stuff. The Venezuelan hit .323 for Kingsport last season, fourth in the league, and he had three homers with 32 RBI and 31 runs in 44 games.
Drew Butera has great genes and a great arm. Maybe they’re related. Drew’s dad, Sal Butera, was a major league catcher. Drew was selected by Baseball America as one of the top collegiate defensive catchers, and the Central Florida backstop hit .325 last season. As for his arm, the Mets’ fifth-round 2005 pick has a gun and he allowed only 30 stolen bases in 58 attempts this season at Central Florida.
Rafael Arroyo is fun to watch. The 5’9” pepper pot gets real low in a crouch, frames pitches well, and shows quick feet and a rifle arm. In 2004, he hit .258 with 26 RBI in 42 games for Kingsport, and in his senior year he hit .325 at Cal State, Los Angeles. Arroyo runs well, and he’s a take-charge catcher. He and Butera will split the receiver spot.
Tomorrow is when we’ll tell you about the Cyclones’ hurlers. Okay, it will really be next week.
Meanwhile, remember that Tampa Bay starter Scott Kazmir only pitched in five games for the Cyclones, and Cyclone catcher alumnus Justin Huber, who recently made his big-league debut for Kansas City, had only nine at bats for Brooklyn. So in honor of the Spanish-speaking players on the Cyclones and their French-speaking players from Quebec, see these players perform at Keyspan Park mucho pronto and tout suite.
Or, in more colloquial dialect, hurry up, already!
©2005 Community News Group
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