A third of the way into the 2011 season, the weather forecast at MCU Park could be figured out without checking the Doppler Radar or even looking out the window, because it’s always breezy with a chance of whiffs.
To quote Kevin Costner in the baseball classic “Bull Durham,” Cyclones batters couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat. With 214 strikeouts this season (as of Tuesday), the team has the third-most in the league — and have been teetering near the top of the New York-Penn’s dubious K list all summer long.
Manager Rich Donnelly has an unusual cure for his boy’s strikeout flu: be more aggressive.
“All the good hitters, they attack,” said Donnelly after a 1-0 loss on June 29 to the Hudson Valley Renegades. “We’re not attacking right now.”
That wasn’t a problem last year, when legendary Mets spark plug Wally Backman led the greatest hitting team in Brooks history — which, by the way, finish a respectable eighth in strikeouts in the league. In doing so, Backman and the boys proved that well-known baseball maxim: actually putting the bat on the ball can lead to victories.
But these Cyclones aren’t competing against last year’s glorious squad (which, albeit, didn’t finish the job, getting swept in the finals by the not-so-hated Tri-city Vally Cats). No, dear reader, these Cyclones, as always, have to contend with that juggernaut across the Narrows, the hated Staten Island Yankees.
And how are the Baby Bombers doing when it comes to ripping the cover off the ball? Close your eyes, fans, because you’re not going to like this.
The Yanks season can be summarized by that of outfielder Shane Brown, who’s only hitting .460 (chasing Maloof!) for the first-place squad that is running away with McNamara Division with a 19-4 record. He’s got just four strikeouts, and the Yanks have fanned just 186 times which is — you guessed it — eighth in the league and right where our boys finished last year.
So it’s clear that our Mini-Mets need to start getting some good wood on the old pill if they intend to go anywhere this season.
If that means they need to be more aggressive, as the manager averred, so be it.
But if you ask me, they’ve just gotta hit the cage.