‘You never know what to expect’: Brooklyn Cyclones secure season’s first win during home opener at upgraded Maimonides Park

cyclones game
Jordany Ventura (21) throws a pitch during the Brooklyn Cyclones home opener against the Asheville Tourists at Maimonides Park.
Photo by Paul Frangipane

The Brooklyn Cyclones, Coney Island’s minor league baseball team, delivered a 3-1 win to devout fans during the first home game of the season on April 9. 

Chilly weather didn’t keep the hometown sports fanatics from heading to the ballpark on the boardwalk. The baseball buffs showed up loud and proud in their Cyclones gear, ready to cheer on the team while enjoying park eats.

cyclone fan at maimonides park
Brooklyn Cyclones super fan David Pecoraro poses for a photo during the team’s home opener. Photo by Paul Frangipane

Justin Rocke, assistant media relations for the team and play-by-play broadcaster, said Brooklynites can expect to see new features throughout the park this season, including upgrades to the lights, sound system and seats.

“I’m most excited to see the fans and everyone come back out to Coney Island,” Rocke said. “This is an amazing place to come out and work on a daily basis. We’ve got a great group of players and coaches that make my job every day a lot of fun but a lot of it is also interacting with the fans and the patrons here on Coney Island.”

cyclones player in dugout
Cyclones fans got their gear signed. Photo by Paul Frangipane

Those who tune into the game broadcast will also hear Johnny Gadamowitz, assistant broadcast and media relations for Cyclones, on the mic. He described the game experience out at Maimonides Park as “good-ole-fun.”

“It embodies what this whole place is. It’s fun,” he told Brooklyn Paper. “You come here, you’ve got the rollercoasters in the center, the ocean on the right, you’ve got a minor league baseball atmosphere that’s unlike any other whether it’s the on-field entertainment. You’re always kind of kept on your toes because you never know what to expect in the best way possible.” 

Guy Foda, better known as King Henry, led his same jester-like antics in between innings. Young sports heads joined him for hot dog races, sock tosses and mascot dance-offs with “Sandy” and “Pee Wee.”

King Henry maimonides park
King Henry warms up the crowd during the Brooklyn Cyclones home opener. Photo by Paul Frangipane

But Maimonides Park isn’t just a place for light-hearted giggles. Brooklyn Cyclones are a High-A affiliate of the New York Mets, so a lot of fans come out to watch a roster of athletes who are looking to impress and eventually move up in the ranks.

“As if the entertainment and the product here on Coney Island wasn’t enough with this spectacular ballpark and all its sights and sounds, you couple it with a really exciting roster with a lot of young prospects that Mets fans and Cyclones fans are going to be excited about for years to come,” Gadamowitz said. “It makes for a perfect combination.”

One dedicated game-watcher, Mary Debernardo, was already standing on her feet during the warmups, excitingly waving at players.

cyclones players lined up
Players lined up for the national anthem before the game started.Photo by Paul Frangipane
cyclones player hitting baseball
Some Cyclones players are hoping for a chance in the major league. Photo by Paul Frangipane

“Opening day is always exciting,” she said. “It’s a time for us to get to meet the new players and see the old players that will be moving up eventually.”

Ryan Clifford, a Mets prospect, hit a home run in the eighth, securing the team’s third run of the evening. He said it was great hearing fans support them throughout the game. 

“They showed out. A lot of energy tonight. It’s cool to have the light shows and some new stuff going on,” Clifford told Brooklyn Paper. “It’s a sweet park.”

Brandon Sproat, a right-handed pitcher for the team, made his first appearance on the mound on Tuesday night. He told Brooklyn Paper after the game that it wasn’t the performance he was hoping for but he was proud he battled through it. He’ll be back next game to give it all he’s got and will “keep getting after it” this season.

Gilbert Gómez, who manages the team, gave the new upgrades a thumbs up and is looking forward to more Coney-inspired fun as the season progresses.

sandy the seagull at maimonides park
Sandy the Seagull throws socks down to the stands at the crowd. Photo by Paul Frangipane

“Being here is always special, it’s a historic place. It’s always good to play in front of your home fans, especially for the first time. They were awesome, they were supportive,” he said. “They were giving us all the energy we needed.”

The Cyclones will return to the dirt on April 10 to take on the Asheville Tourists for the second match-up in a six-game series. Their season continues through September.