Hello again, sports fans and welcome to the Seventh Annual Clonie award ceremony — the only award show guaranteed to not feature an embarrassing performance by Britney Spears (though we can’t promise the same for relief pitcher Steve “Impeach” Cheney).
Now that the Cyclones have failed to win the New York–Penn League championship for the sixth straight year, it’s time to look back at a (mostly) great season that ended with a humbling sweep by the Auburn Doubledays in the championship series last week.
So without further ado, judges, the envelopes, please:
The Lawrence Taylor Award for Best Game-Saving Tackle
And the Clonie goes to … Relief pitcher Grady Hinchman!
Hinchman rode the bench most of the season, but on July 25, he made the biggest save of the season — without throwing a single pitch. After an inebriated fan ran onto the field and then into the Cyclones bullpen, Hinchman led the clown into a passageway that leads towards the home lockerroom. After Hinchman shut the door behind the drunk, he had nowhere to go and gave up without a struggle.
The Alanis Morissette Ironic Irony Award
And the Clonie goes to … Will Vogl! Outfielder Will Vogl refused to talk to the press before the last game of the season, saying that he didn’t want to ruin his “focus.” Hitting .161 with only one RBI after the All-Star break, it’s fair to say that the press played a minimal role in his struggles. Try a batting cage, Will.
The ‘Slapshot’ Award for Bringing in Ringers
And the Clonie goes to … the Cyclones’ front office!
And we thought we were being gracious by agreeing to compete against the Cyclones’ management in pre-season charity game. But when our team of worn out, overweight and unpracticed journalists showed up at Keyspan Park, we were greeted by a team that looked like it just walked out of the College World Series. In other words, we lost.
The Wally Pipp Award
And the Clonie goes to … Zach Lutz!
The Mets’ highly touted, fifth-round draft pick played a great first game for the Cyclones — or make that half a game. The prospect went 1-for-2, and made a nifty play at third base, before injuring his ankle and leaving the team for the entire season, leading us to our next award …
The Lou Gehrig Award
And the Clonie goes to … J.R. Voyles!
Zach Lutz’s backup, J.R. Voyles, made the most of the phenom’s first-game injury, hitting a homer in his first appearance, then going on to hit .254 with 11 doubles in 49 games. And he even showed true grit by coming back after a beanball sent him to the hospital.
The Louis Pasteur Award for Good Lab Work
And the Clonie goes to … Pitching coach Hector Berrios!
Cyclones fans could be forgiven for being confused by all the apparent junk in the team’s bullpen, but there was a method to the messiness. Not only did pitching coach Hector Berrios sometimes use a life-sized blowup doll to simulate (get your mind out of the gutter!) an actual batter, he installed wires and poles to train his pitchers into keeping the ball down. It must have worked: The Cyclones pitching staff led the league in wins (49), ERA (2.93), shutouts (10) and fewest home runs against (23). And starter Dylan Owen led all pitchers in the league with a 9–1 record and a 1.49 ERA.
The “This is your Pitcher on Drugs” Award for Clean Doping
And the Clonie goes to … Nick Waechter!
After getting off to a horrible 1–2 start, pitcher Nick Waechter started taking a different set of vitamins — in the form of caffeine-heavy Red Bull energy drink. In the five starts since starting his new “diet,” Waechter went 3–0 with a 1.43 ERA, and told The Brooklyn Paper that he credited the beverage with helping keep him focussed on the mound.
The MTA Award for Packing’em In And the Clonie goes to … The Brooklyn Cyclones!
After a brief drop-off last year (thanks, in part, to the resurgence of the Mets), the Cyclones set new records this year for attendence, topping the league record for a single-game crowd three times this season. The final record-breaker — a mammoth crowd of 10,073 on the last game of the season, Sept. 7 — put the team’s attendence for the year at 294,972, which led the league for the seventh straight year.
The Rickey Henderson Award for Making Things Happen
And the Clonie goes to … Micah Schilling!
Let’s face it, few Cyclones fans expected much from Micah Schilling, a journeyman who has spent five years in Class A ball. But Schilling had a way of always being on base. Not only did he set franchise records for walks and runs scored, but his .283 batting average was impressive, his 17 doubles was second on the team, his 13 stolen bases led the team, and his .427 on-base percentage was the third-best in the entire league.
The “Biggest Loser” Award for being, well, the biggest loser
And the Clonie goes to … Pitcher Nick Carr!
Before the season, pitcher Nick Carr hired a personal trainer and lost an amazing 40 pounds off his 6-foot-1 frame. But despite his weight loss, he led the Cyclones in strikeouts, thanks to a hefty 94 mile-per-hour fastball and dominating slider.
The Al Gore Energy Saver Award
And the Clonie goes to … Raul Reyes!
Striking out 94 times in only 253 at-bats, center fielder Raul Reyes blew breezes through Keyspan Park that no air-conditioner could compete with.
The Anti -Alhaji Turay Award for Personality
And the Clonie goes to … Edgar Ramirez, Josh Appell and Jason Jacobs!
This trio of fan-friendly Cyclones certainly did a lot to expunge fans’ memories of the least-loved Cyclone in the team’s seven-year history, Alhaji Turay (who once signed an autograph with a fake name and generally disdained the fans). All three of this year’s winners signed autographs — with their own names! — until fans screamed, “No more!”
The “E-yeeeeaaaaah!” Award for Best Song Played as Player Walks to the Plate
And the Clonie goes to … Lucas Duda!
This one was easy, given that Duda’s name sounds pretty much like that old Police song, “De do do do (de da da da).” But it must have worked, as that song was played just before Duda smashed an almost 400-foot shot to dead center field to help Brooklyn defeat the Staten Island Yankees in the first game of the Cyclones’ two-game sweep. Duda’s name is also found in “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” a song from the controversial Disney movie “Song of the South.” Of course, no one could beat original Cyclone, John Toner, in this category. Toner used to play Roger Daltry’s “E-yeeeeeaaaaah!” scream from “Won’t Get Fooled Again” before his at-bats.