June 30, 2007 / Sports / Brooklyn Cyclones / The Play’s the Thing

And now, Who’s on First?

for The Brooklyn Paper
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If you think Lou Costello was confused when he was listening to Bud Abbott trying to explain the strange names on his favorite team, you should see Cyclones fans struggle to figure out who’s on their team at the start of each season.

Even though the Cyclones traditionally bring back several players from the previous year’s squad, the line-up is mostly new each season.

In the hope that you’ll be less befuddled than Costello, here’s our annual Cyclones edition of the old “Who’s On First” routine.

Who’s On First?

Lucas “Zippity” Duda, a 6-foot-4 lefty power hitter from University of Southern California, has been platooning with Jason Jacobs, a right-handed hitter who represented the Cyclones at the All-Star game, albeit as a catcher.

There’s hope for Duda. Tom Seaver also went to USC.

Jacobs is a cool dude. Even though he was batting just .133, he remained upbeat during an interview in the Cyclones’ dugout before the June 25 game against Aberdeen.

He talked about how much he loves living in Marine Park, and enjoying seeing kids play baseball in the neighborhood. He promptly took the field and went 0-3. Then, in his fourth at-bat, he hit a 400-foot triple to drive in the winning run. Flustered? No way.

What’s On Second?

He wears Number 38, and his name is Schilling. Same number. Same spelling as Boston’s star right-hander.

No relation.

So Micah Schilling must at least be a fan of Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, right?

“Not really,” said Brooklyn’s Schilling. “I was originally given uniform Number 7, but that’s Fonzie’s number, so they took that back. They gave me Number 38 because it was the only jersey left that fit.”

OK, he doesn’t have the Red Sox Schilling’s genes, but he does have a fine pedigree. He was selected in the first round by Cleveland in 2002.

That means a lot of people figured him as a future major leaguer. Talent delayed is still talent. Watch him.

I Don’t Know — Third Base

“I don’t know,” is what Zach Lutz must be saying after breaking his ankle in his first game as a Cyclone. Unfortunately, it’s wait ’til next year for this promising fifth-round pick.

The good news is that his replacement, J.R. Voyles, has been an early season revelation. Beginning with a game-winning homer after taking over for Lutz in the season-opener, Voyles has displayed power — two homers — and he’s hitting .370.

I Don’t Give a Darn — Short

The Cyclones shortstop does give a darn. Matt Bouchard practically lived at the indoor baseball facility near his home in Rhode Island, and loaded pitching machines so he could get extra time in the batting cages.

He attended Georgetown — a great school for diplomats and finance, but not so great for shortstops. But the Hoya is hoping to change that reputation.

A bunch of his Georgetown classmates are interning on Wall Street this summer, and planning to visit Keyspan Park to cheer Bouchard on. This guy can pick it at shortstop, but can he hit? If not, at least it won’t be from lack of effort.

Why — Left Field

Can a guy from St. John’s University make it in Brooklyn? Why not? Will Vogl, briefly a Cyclone last year, is being given a chance, and he’s seizing it by the throat. A center fielder in college, he goes back well on a ball and, major leaguers be warned, he catches fly balls with two hands, just as they teach in Little League.

He’s been batting third so far, and can inside-out the ball to right.

Because — Center Field

His name is Reyes. He’s from the Dominican Republic. And he’s fast. But, alas, Raul Reyes is not related to the Mets’ Jose Reyes. But the Cyclones’ Reyes has all five tools: he can hit, hit for power (eventually), run, throw and catch. The Mets hierarchy loves his swing and overall potential.

“He was hurt in extended spring training,” said Cyclones’ manager Edgar Alfonzo. “So he’s struggling right now because this is still spring training for him, and he needs to get his timing.”

Right Field

Abbott and Costello didn’t have a right-fielder, but the Cyclones do: Ender Chavez, who was a popular Cyclones during the 2002 and 2003 seasons. Chavez was signed as a free agent after he had passport problems and the Washington Nationals dropped him.

He probably won’t be in Brooklyn all summer, but he’s here to get in shape, and to help Brooklyn win. Maybe not in that order.

Today — Catcher

Yasmil Bucce (pronounced Boo-Say — so if he’s booed, who could tell?) was at Kingsport in 2005 and sat out last season recovering from surgery on his arm.

He’s solid defensively. Will he hit? He’s batting .120, so the answer, for now, is no.

Tomorrow — Pitcher

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” — sounds like the wail of a losing manager. But you’ll have to wait until our next issue to hear about the hurlers.

Channeling the Bard

Each week Ed Shakespeare channels his ancient ancestor and namesake by writing in iambic pentameter. This week, he observes the 80th birthday of the Cyclone rollercoaster, which hit the mark on June 26.

You know, the Cyclone still always will be
Like baseball. Needing certain sounds, it takes
Material so natural, you see?
To give the sound we crave, the shakes it makes.
The crack of bats in baseball sounds so good.
Like Cyclone frame, the best of things are wood.

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