Ask Us Anything Blog # 2 — Mailbag Monday

Our first question for this version of “Ask Us Anything” comes from an e-mail from Sean McGreal to our mailbox.  Don’t forget, you can be a part of our next mailbag Monday by submitting your question there as well:

Sean McGreal:  Is (or will) Grimaldi’s be open by the time the Cyclones season starts?

There is no reason to believe that Grimaldi’s won’t be open well before the first pitch of our season.  The vast majority of your favorite Coney Island spots will be open in the next few weeks.  Luna Park is opening in March, Gargiulo’s is already open, Nathan’s is well on its way to reopening, and a brand-new Applebee’s is close to opening.  

Daniel S. Weiss:  Why don’t you sell the sleeveless alternate jerseys in the team store?  Are there any plans to?

We don’t sell the authentic on field sleeveless jerseys because of a lack of demand.  When we first introduced the jerseys, we made the sleeveless jerseys available and they were far from a best-seller.  The inventory in the team-store is starting from scratch following the hurricane, so if there is a demand for it, I am sure we will look into ordering them.  However, at this point the only e-mail/comment/post that we have received is this one. 

Daniel S. Weiss:  Why did the Cyclones do away with the old grey road jerseys with pinstripes?

Those were my favorite jerseys that we have ever worn.  Classic and simple.  But the reason we had to phase them out is simple, Rawlings – the officially licensed on-field jersey manufacturer, stopped making the style.  So, we couldn’t order replacement pants or tops and therefore we had to come up with a new uniform.

P.J. Chesterfield:  How many Frenchman can’t be wrong?

The answer of course is fifty million…no more, no less.    Fifty Million Frenchman Can’t Be Wrong is a song from the 1920s and the basis for a Broadway play.

Raul Velazquez Jr.:  Sometimes you do concerts at MCU Park from time to time, when will you bring a country concert to MCU Park?

We are always looking for new acts and concerts to come to MCU Park.  We haven’t finalized any shows for this summer yet, but with the launching of the new 94.7 Country station and the excitement that has added to the country music scene, that may very well be an option we explore in the very near future.

Daniel S. Weiss:  What’s Steve’s Social Security #?

Not 100% sure, but he’s pretty old.  So I would guess it’s something like 000 00 0001.

Daniel S. Weiss:  Are you looking for a pro broadcaster like Warner or younger broadcasters?

We are still in the early stages of the hiring process, but ideally we would find someone in the middle.  Getting someone of Warner’s credentials isn’t realistic.  That was just lighting in a bottle (which is ironic, because Warner HATED storms more than anyone), and spoiled all of us who were fortunate enough to listen to him call Cyclones games for over a decade.  Last year, we were blindsided by Warner’s passing and were lucky to have WSOU provide students to help us in a pinch.  This year, we are looking for broadcasters who have more experience, but just like our players are looking to make it up through the minor league systems. 

Paul Zorovich:  Bruno Sammartino or Stone Cold Steve Austin?

There are people in our office far more qualified to answer this question than I, we have some hardcore fanatics of the sport.  Ricky Viola, who does all of our video work, has been a fan since he was a wee tyke.  George Napolitano, who has been our team photographer since the beginning, has photographed the WWF, WWE, WCW, TNA, — anything that has to do with wrestling – for decades.  He’s even published a couple of books.  But since I’m the one answering these questions I’ll take a stab at it.   I would have to say Bruno Sammartino.  During his heyday, he was THE man.  Conversely, Stone Cold Steve Austin was one of THE guys.  There was The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Triple-H, and on and on.  Plus Bruno never appeared in a movie as bad as “The Condemned.”

Jim Rochford:  One question and one request: 1. When will the Team Store be back online? 2. If you have a concert series, please book Brooklyn natives Garland Jeffreys and The Persuasions.

We don’t have a firm date as far as when the team store will be back on line.  Construction on the team store has not begun yet, so at present time, that is the priority.  Once everything is up and running, we will be sure to post on our website and Social Media outlets.  We don’t have any plans for a concert series this year, but hope this counts as free promotion for the band you mentioned.

Christopher Varmus:  Was Ike Davis & Kosher foods one question? (in reference to our first Ask Us Anything)

Nope, but I get why you might have though otherwise. 

Michael Clancy:  What is it going to take for our boys to bring those rings and title to Bklyn?

Well, the last two years Rich Donnelly led us to the playoffs in very different ways.  Last year the pitching staff was amazing, the year before we had some great offensive weapons.  I think in order to win a championship, you need to combine the best of both worlds.  In 2001, we had guys like Angel Pagan, Frank Corr, and Jay Caligiuri who all were among the offensive leaders in the NYPL, but we also had Ross Peeples, Lenny Dinardo, and Luz Portobanco who were leaders in pitching categories.  You also need some luck on your side.  In 2010, I think Brooklyn would have won the title if it wasn’t for some rainouts down the stretch.

Mary Mcconville Smyth:  Why don’t you have some healthier foods like salads?

Last year, we added the healthy food cart on the 3rd base side of the concourse that did serve salads, wraps, stuffed pitas and more.  It was pretty popular with our staff.  We are always looking for healthier alternatives and hopefully we will have more offerings of the healthy variety this summer.

Johhn Houlihans:  What’s your favorite Krokus tape? 

Question asked and answered in the first Ask Us Anything.

Frankie Gargiulo:  Has anyone thought about streaming the home games live online? This would surely bring in online views from people not in attendance and it can be paid for by sponsors.

We used to offer that service, but the demand wasn’t there for it.  Fans would much rather come to the ballpark than watch on their computer.  The only people who were regular viewers of our online streaming was family members of the players, and at that point the cost of the streaming video was too prohibitive. 

Jeffrey Lemon:  Do you sell any game use jerseys or equipment?

At every Cyclones home game we have the STRIKE Raffle on the concourse.  This raffle regularly contains game worn jerseys/caps/jackets. 

Kyle Barron:  Nelfi Zapata, Te casarás conmigo?

Not sure what Nelfi’s current relationship status is, but when I see him at Spring Training, I’ll be sure to ask him.  I’d love for a love connection to come from the Ask Us Anything blog. 

Derek Bock:  What Krokus song did Ike Davis used to go to bat to? 

I wish I got paid by the Krokus reference on this blog.  I am going to have to say that I have no idea what the answer to this question is.  He’s come out to “Start me Up” by the Rolling Stones for a while.  He also used “Panama” by Van Halen and “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC.  If I had to take a guess, I would say “Long Stick Goes Boom” would be an appropriate Krokus song for a guy who could hit 40 home runs this year.

Alison Redmond:  How do you feel about going to Disneyworld with no kids?

I have had a change of heart on this topic in recent years.  I went to Disneyworld with my wife a few years ago (we don’t have any children yet) and we had an amazing time.  It’s not the Disneyworld I remember from when I was a kid.  There are a lot of things for just the grownups to enjoy.  We went to Downtown Disney at night, saw a concert at B.B. Kings, and were able to avoid a lot of lines for rides because we didn’t have to take our kids to watch the parades.  I would recommend not staying at a Disney Resort if you are traveling without the kiddies.  We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria (which was surprisingly affordable) and didn’t have to worry about screaming kids at breakfast or running in the halls.  We actually had one of the best meals of our lives at the Bull & Bear restaurant down there.  No kids, but plenty of ambiance. 

And once again, it is time for the rapid fire series of questions provided by Anthony Thomas.

Anthony Thomas:  Doo Wop and Irish Singers is nice, but can we get some more Rock ‘n Roll in the house? Further is cool, but I’d like to see other bands.

As we said earlier on, we are always looking for new acts to perform at MCU Park.  We’ve had Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Phish, 311, Bjork, Furthur, Daft Punk, Def Leppard, Wilco and several others.  But it’s not as easy as you might think to arrange for larger concerts at the ballpark.  With venues like the Nikon Theatre at Jones Beach and the PNC Bank Arts Center that are similar in size, and already built for concerts, (at MCU Park, we need to bring in flooring to cover the field, as well as numerous other changes to the ballpark) there needs to be a perfect match when it comes to getting a show to choose Brooklyn over the already established music venues. 

Anthony Thomas:  Do you have any new in-between inning promos in mind?

Yep.  We are hoping to overhaul a lot of the in-between innings contests this year.  We’ve been trying out some contests that might make the cut during out Thursday afternoon staff meetings.

Anthony Thomas:  Any competitive eating contests this year? I’d like to participate but I haven’t heard about them for awhile. Are they done last minute?

We did a couple of “competitive eating contests” last year.  I think there was a cannoli contest on Italian Heritage night and a knish contest on Jewish Heritage night.  We typically only do these events on theme nights when it is appropriate.  When we are in need of contestants, we typically post something on Facebook. 

Anthony Thomas:  How are the Brooklyn Dodgers memorabilia?  Did they survive Sandy? 

We were able to salvage the majority of the items that were on display in the gallery, some things were not able to be saved, but there will still be a plethora of Dodgers memorabilia on display in the revamped Gallery during the 2013 season.

Anthony Thomas:  How about some decades themed night?  Like 70s, 80s, and 90s games?  Might be interesting…

That is something we have done in the past with mixed results, it’s not on the schedule for this year, but if there is enough interest in your idea maybe we can find a place for it.

Daniel S. Weiss:  How awesome is my beard?  How awesome a fan am I?  Why was someone without a beard allowed to enter a beard contest on hangover night?

In the grand scheme of things, you have a beard that I would rate as average.  Take a look at the website for the National Beard & Moustache Championships, which were held in Las Vegas in November.  These guys have AWESOME beards.  Check out this guy.  When it comes to being an awesome fan, I view it like a parent and their kids.  When you ask which kid is their favorite, the answer is always supposed to be you are all my favorite…even though certain fans don’t sit in the section in which they purchase a ticket (cough, cough, I’m talking about you..cough).  And in regards to the beard contest, you really hold a grudge huh?  That’s two years ago, and frankly I have no recollection of who was even involved in the contest.

Michael Pam:  How about a hockey shirt night. Fans can pick a shirt resembles Ranger colors as well as Islander Colors .With the Cyclones name on it. I know what shirt I will pick and it has to do with NYR.

I feel like we’ve answered this question a bunch, but hopefully that just means people are interested.  We are planning on doing a special Jersday Thursay on a Wednesday, in which fans can get a Cyclones hockey jersey.  We aren’t doing Rangers, Devils or Islaners style jerseys because with three local teams, it gets rather confusing. 

Lawrence E. Benjamin:  Some Quick Questions for the new players. (1.) Did using Aluminum bats in youth baseball, give them a false sense of how strong they really were ? (2.) When did they stop using them ? (3.) When did they know they had professional ability ? 

Well, we won’t have new players until June, so I asked Phillip Evans – the shortstop from the 2012 version of the Cyclones.  Here’s what he had to say.  “Aluminum bats don’t give you a false sense of how strong you are, but it does give you a lot of cheap hits.  It doesn’t make you feel stronger than you are because when you hit a ball well, whether it’s with wood or aluminum, you can tell that it’s going to go pretty far.  But with aluminum, sometimes you get jammed, or hit it off the end of the bat, and you end up with a hit, but with a wood bat, you end up with an out and fingers that are numb.  I used aluminum all through high school, because that’s what the rules of our league were.  But I played in wood bat leagues from the time I was probably a sophomore.  I knew that I was better than most people when I started playing travel ball.  When you are just playing little league, and playing against your friends, you just think I’m the best player out of my friends.  But when you start traveling to cities all over California and playing other kids your age, it gives you a better sense of the skill level you have as a player. 

Gary Fishbein:  How about having an old timers game prior to a regular season game with former Brooklyn Cyclones who are no longer in professional baseball. You can get some of the major sponsors of the Cyclones to foot the bill. 

This is something that we would love to do, but honestly the cost to do it is astronomical.  That’s why so many major league teams have gotten away from the tradition as well.  To do it right, you would need to fly in at least 50 guys from around the country, or heck, even around the world.  So that’s 50 flights, plus 50 hotel rooms, plus incidentals.  You are looking at easily a six-figure expense, which is something that just isn’t financially feasible for us.

Lizzie Ann:  Will there be Beach bums this year since everything was destroyed in the storm? If so,who will be the Captain since Nicole M moved to California?

Yep, we will have the Beach Bums again this season.  They have become one of the most popular aspects of a trip to MCU Park, so we know we need to bring them back.  Not sure who the captain will be yet, there will most likely be a lot of new faces from years past.