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Goodwill game: Scribes take on Cyclones’ front office for contest

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Normally, the only exercise Brooklyn Cyclones beat reporters get is from tapping on keyboards and stuffing their craws with free food in the press box — but on Saturday night, June 2, they’ll find out what life between the foul lines is really like.

The reporters will be facing off against the Cyclones’ front office in a charity baseball game starting at midnight — just one of 12 games the Cyclones’ staffers will play in a 24-hour charity marathon.

The reporters vs. staff game comes in the middle of that all-day death march, so the writers might have a chance to win — if they can overcome their team’s poisonous chemistry.

When asked about his strategy for the big game, manager Ed Shakespeare — the Cyclones’ columnist for The Brooklyn Paper — spent most of his time upraiding two of his most high-profile players.

“My general gameplan is to see where I can put [Brooklyn Paper Editor] Gersh Kuntzman and [Senior Editor] Vince DiMiceli to cause the least amount of damage,” Shakespeare said. “They have enough problems communicating at the office. I want to play them in left and right with a normal human being in center.”

When approached about his manager’s comments, DiMiceli exploded. “I gotta hear that from a reporter?” the renowned loose cannon snapped. “Shakespeare never comes to you face to face, like a man!”

Meanwhile, Kuntzman’s entire career has been dogged by rumors, though he denied any rule-breaking on his part.

“The only performance-enhancing drugs I’m on is my mother’s brisket,” the reclusive slugger claimed in a statement issued through his publicist, George Shea. As usual, Kuntzman refused to speak to the press directly. He also refused to address whether his six-year hitting streak was showing any signs of ending.

Worse, Shakespeare admitted he did not know who was pitching yet.

The Cyclones’ front office team is clearly not worried — about the game, at least.

“The only thing I’m nervous about is that they may hurt themselves somehow,” said Dave Campanaro, media relations manager for the Cyclones, and the team’s shortstop. “I think the fact that a couple of them have called me and asked to borrow a glove gives you an idea of how prepared they are.”

If the writers can manage to get on base, Shakespeare plans to use the old hit-and-run play. “We’ll play small ball,” the manager said. “Most writers aren’t power hitters.”

Yeah, and they’re real fast, too.

Ups and Downs

The Cyclones held open auditions last week for musicians who want to be part of the team’s first marching band. More than 20 aspiring members of the so-called “Band in the Sand” showed up at Keyspan Park, but the team hasn’t decided how big this band will be. Let’s hope the Cyclones don’t get a knuckleball pitcher (who wants to hear some tuba player risking serious injury to play “Flight of the Bumblebee” every fifth day?).

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