The entertainment industry gives out the Oscar for the movies, the Tony for theater, the Emmy for television, and the Grammy for music — all very prestigious awards.
In fact, some entertainers have even won awards in several of the above-named categories.
But it’s an indisputable fact that no actor or musician, either before or after winning his Oscar, Tony, Emmy, or Grammy, has ever won a Clonie, thus proving the exclusivity of the Clonie, the annual award given by The Brooklyn Paper to a Cyclone player, or to any other highly deserving person associated with Cyclone baseball.
Cue the drum roll. The envelopes, please:
The Jimmy Piersall Memorial “Battered and Bruised” Award: And the Clonie goes to Zach Lutz. Although awarded this year, the award is based on cumulative results for the 2007-8 seasons. Last season, Lutz played in only the season opener for the Clones before leaving the game with a right foot injury — and putting Lutz on the shelf for the rest of the season. This year, Lutz came back and was terrific, hitting .333 with three homers and 12 RBI in 24 games. Unfortunately, several injuries — foot, quad, and even lower back — send him back on the disabled list for the remainder of the season.
The Scott Kazmir Memorial “Sure Bet to Make the Bigs” Award: And the Clonie goes to Brad Holt. Selected as the Mets’ supplemental pick (33rd overall) in this year’s draft, Holt more than lived up to expectations. After a shaky start, he went 5-3 and had a stingy ERA of 1.87. (See more on Holt in his week’s column, “The Play’s the Thing,” right.)
The Pedro Martinez Memorial Award for being Pedro Martinez: And the Clonie goes to Pedro P. Martinez. This award, in honor of the Mets’ future Hall of Fame pitcher, is awarded to the Cyclones’ starter who has the same name. Did the Class A Pedro live up to his namesake’s standards? Well, sort of: He was dominant one game and then a mere mortal the next. He ended up 3–2 with a 3.45 ERA.
The Dave Campanero Memorial “Lifetime Achievement” Award: And the Clonie goes to Edgar Alfonzo. This is the third time around for Alfonzo as the Brooklyn manager. As Brooklyn’s skipper during the inaugural 2001 season, Alfonzo led the Cyclones to a 52-24 regular season record (still the franchise’s best mark) and a share of the New York-Penn League championship (the series was suspended with Brooklyn leading Williamsport 1-0 because of 9-11). Last season, Alfonzo was back at the helm and Brooklyn went 49-25 and swept Staten Island in the playoffs before losing to Auburn in the championship series. This year, the Cyclones were 45-30 and won 12 of their last 16 games before being nosed out of the contention for the playoffs (see main story above). In the regular season, Alfonzo-led Cyclone teams have a record of 146-79 (.649), and including the playoffs, Alfonzo has won 151 games for Brooklyn. The man is a winner.
The Darryl Strawberry Memorial “Big League/Small Years” Award: And the Clonie goes to Wilmer Flores. Late in the season, Flores was called up from Kingsport and became Brooklyn’s regular shortstop. Yet he’s only 17 years old! And he looks it, having a young face and even wearing braces. After a fast start, going 6-for-8 combined for his first two games, he tailed off, hitting .267 for his eight-game Cyclone season. The good news is that he’s big — He’s 6-foot-3 and possibly still growing. And at 175 pounds, he’ll get more muscle as he matures. He’s also big on potential — very big.
The Hilda Chester Memorial “Fan of the Year” Award: And the Clonie goes to John Davenport. Chester was the Brooklyn Dodgers’ best-known fan, ringing her cowbell and reigning insults on opponents. Davenport doesn’t ring a cowbell, but the long-time Windsor Terrace resident was an Ebbets Field regular, and he attends nearly every Cyclones’ game with his wife Eleanor. John is usually encouraging, but he can still hurl down a boo or jibe with the best of them. As a diehard fan, he believes in tough love. “I’m hard on these kids sometimes,” said Davenport. “But I’m really helping them to toughen up. If they can learn to take us here, they’ll really be ready for the majors.”
The Rod Serling Memorial “Twilight Zone” Award: And the Clonie goes to Ralph Henriquez (with an assist from Pat Venditte). Henriquez hit only .210 with the Cyclones this year, but the switch-hitting catcher was involved in one of the strangest incidents in baseball history. On June 19, the Cyclones were at home, trailing the Staten Island Yankees 7-2 in the ninth. Pat Venditte, an ambidextrous pitcher, was on the mound for the Yankees. Pitching right-handed, Venditte retired the first two Cyclones. Up to bat stepped Henriquez, who saw Venditte now wearing his special two-way glove on his right hand. So Henriquez stepped into the batter’s box intending to bat right-handed against Venditte’s left-handed throws. Venditte then switched the glove to his left-hand so he could throw righty and gain the righty-righty advantage against Henriquez, who switched sides himself. This dance went on for some time, prompting howls of laughter from the fans and players. Eventually, umpire Shaylor Smith ordered Henriquez to bat righty. Venditte pitched right-handed and struck Henriquez out swinging.
The George W. Bush Memorial “Support the Troops” Award: And the Clonie goes to Sean Ratliff. Let’s face it: No one looks good in camouflage. Whether the classic desert dun-colored mixture or the newfangled “snow camo” look, the military-style duds are a dud with fashionista. So when the Cyclones marked their annual Military Day on Aug. 28 by wearing camouflage uniforms, most team members looked as if they wanted their outfits to do what they’re designed to do: hide them. But Ratliff looked like a million bucks.
The Forrest Lawson Memorial “Cream Pie Face” Award: And the Clonie goes to Reese Havens. The Cyclones have a tradition of tossing a shaving cream pie in the face of the star of the game as he’s being interviewed by a camera crew — and both Sean Ratliff and Havens got the treatment, thanks to game-winning homers. But Havens’s July 14 game-winner earned him the nod in this tight contest.
The Ariel Sharon Memorial “L’Chaim” Award: And the Clonie goes to Josh Satin. It’s one thing to be ordered to wear Hebrew-language uniforms. But it’s still another to look good doing it. Satin, who is Jewish, wore the “Tzyklon” uniform on Jewish Heritage Night with pride — and also had to pose for publicity photos. One thing for sure? His mother was proud.
The Steve Cohen Memorial “Best General Manager in the Business” Award: And the Clonie goes to Steve Cohen. Look, this is not just brown-nosing. Ever player and front-office official in the New York-Penn League knows it: Cyclone GM Steve Cohen is the hardest working man in pro baseball. Case in point: The Cyclones held a “Superhero Night” and encouraged fans to get in on the fun and wear costumes. Cohen got into the spirit, but a rain delay forced him to doff his superhero garb and become a true hero, running all over the field like a member of his own hard-working grounds crew, getting everything ready for the game. Is it any wonder he was named the league’s “Executive of the Year” last year?