The Cyclones are having trouble at home.
Brooklyn’s boys of summer are just one game away from first place in the NY–Penn League’s McNamara division, but they’re only managing to play .500 baseball in front of their devoted fans in Coney Island.
The Clones are 12–5 when they’re out of town, but at MCU Park they’re just 9–9 — a lackluster record that started turning south when the bottom-ranked Jamestown Jammers roughed them up for three games in a row early this month.
This past week, fans saw the Clones drop two games to the hated Staten Island Yankees in Coney Island — then win two when they played on the other side of the Narrows before losing again at home to the Aberdeen IronBirds.
Skipper Rich Donnelly is confounded by the team’s home turf struggles.
“I don’t know what it is,” said Donnelly. “But what are you supposed to do? Stay in a hotel, so it feels like you’re on the road? Wear gray uniforms?”
Right fielder Jonathan Clark — who’s batting .318 when he gets away from MCU Park compared to a paltry .105 at home — says MCU Park plays tricks on the Clones.
“I think a lot of times with the short fence at left field people aim for a home run, and it alters their swing,” said Clark, a lefty who claims he hasn’t been aiming for opposite field shots to left.
And it’s not just the offense that’s ailing under the Coney Island sun.
Pitcher Rainy Lara boasts an ERA of 1.69 when he takes the mound on the road — but he’s racked up an ERA of 5.06 at home.
“At home, you’re more comfortable, and maybe sometimes you relax in situations where you shouldn’t,” Lara said through translator and second baseman Richie Rodriguez.
Donnelly claims the team’s uninspired play at home is something plenty of normal, healthy, successful teams go through at some point.
“If you look at the Chicago White Sox, the Atlanta Braves, they have better records on the road than at home, and they’re doing fine,” he said.
But Donnelly admits he wants to see more out of his team when they take the field in front of their loving fans.
“The ones who come out to see us here are Cyclones fans,” he said. “They come to see us win, not to see us lose.”