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Fonzie gets honored while Cyclones start season

Homeboy: Manny Rodriguez was born in Brooklyn, and will be playing shortstop for the Cyclones.
for Brooklyn Paper
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Fonzie’s jumped the shark!

The Cyclones 2018 season kicks off Friday on Staten Island for everyone but manager Edgardo Alfonzo, who’ll miss the weekend series against the Yankees while in the Dominican Republic being inducted into the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame.

Fonzie (as he’s affectionately known) earned the honor thanks to his stellar 12-year career during which he hit .284 with 146 home runs and 744 runs batted in — not good enough for Cooperstown, but certainly good enough to be enshrined with the likes of Moises Alou, Roberto Kelly, and Luis Tiant at the Hall in La Romana, DR.

In eight years with the Mets between 1995 and 2002, Alfonso anchored second base alongside stars John Olerud, Robin Ventura, and Rey Ordonez, who were collectively considered by some to be the best defensive infield in baseball history. His All-Star season in 2000, during which he hit a career-best .324 with 25 homers and 94 runs batted in, ended with a gut-wrenching loss to the New York Yankees in the last Subway Series.

Mets officials say they have no problem with the skipper skipping the season opener because he’s earned the right.

“It’s an honor that he’s very proud of,” said Billy Harner, a spokesman for the Clones.

Harner pointed out that it isn’t the first time the Clones have been without a manager in the dugout. Field generals are sometimes thrown out of games for bad behavior, and have the ability to take “work-life balance days,” Harner said. When this happens, the bench coach takes over.

In this case, that person is former manager Rich Donnelly, who coached the Clones from 2011 to 2013, bringing Brooklyn’s Boys of Summer to the postseason two years in a row in 2011 and 2012.

Donnelly will lead a squad that includes shortstop and Brooklyn native Manny Rodriguez, recently drafted by the Mets out of the University of Cincinnati; Kevin Smith, who hails from Georgia and is known for his mean slider and shifty change-up — and a name that immediately sounds familiar; and Bryce Montes de Oca, who stands at an imposing 6-foot-7 over the mound and has a slight resemblance to Yankee flame-out Joba Chamberlain.

The Cyclones season opener is Friday night at Richmond County Bank Ballpark on the Rock against the hated Evil Empire of the NY–Penn League at 7 pm, before our boys head to MCU Park on Saturday at 6:30 pm for the home opener. The series will conclude on Sunday back on Staten Island at 1 pm.

The Clones struggled last summer, finishing dead last and winning only 24 games through the 75-game season, while the Yanks finished first before being knocked out of the playoffs by the upstart Hudson Valley Renegades — who ended up sweeping the Vermont Lake Monsters for the league championship.

Updated 5:42 pm, July 9, 2018
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