The Brooklyn Cyclones: Hardball Dreams and the New Coney Island

The Brooklyn Cyclones: Hardball Dreams and the New Coney Island

by Ben Osborne
     
 

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When professional baseball returned to Brooklyn in 2001, fans were jubilant and the media swarmed. After losing the Brooklyn Dodgers to California 44 years ago, Brooklyn baseball fans could once again claim a team of their own: the Cyclones, a Class A affiliate of the New York Mets.

The Brooklyn Cyclones: Hardball Dreams and the New Coney Island

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Overview

When professional baseball returned to Brooklyn in 2001, fans were jubilant and the media swarmed. After losing the Brooklyn Dodgers to California 44 years ago, Brooklyn baseball fans could once again claim a team of their own: the Cyclones, a Class A affiliate of the New York Mets.

The Brooklyn Cyclones: Hardball Dreams and the New Coney Island recounts that first season of the Cyclones. From the construction of the incredible Keyspan Park at Coney Island to their improbable successes on the field, Ben Osborne tells the story of the Cyclones' delicate first year of operation. We see the story up close and personal through the eyes of two very different young men. The first is Anthony Otero, who was raised in a Coney Island housing project and loves baseball, but has never seen a game in person until the Cyclones land in his neighborhood. The second is Brett Kay, a young man from California who has never been to New York, until he becomes the catcher for the Brooklyn Cyclones.

From the plans of politicians like Rudy Giuliani and Howard Golden, to the poverty of Coney Island's citizens, The Brooklyn Cyclones reveals the stories behind the headlines to show that the reality of creating a new sports team often involves broken promises and shattered dreams. Osborne includes chapters on the Cyclones' rivalry with the Staten Island Yankees, the Cyclones' chances of capturing the New York-Penn League title, and an epilogue updating Kay's, Otero's, and the Cyclones' progress through the 2003 season.

Ultimately, Ben Osborne shows how, for these two young men, the Brooklyn Cyclones created dreams the same way the Brooklyn Dodgers allowed the boys of Flatbush to dream about one day playing in the Big Leagues.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Osborne...actually lives in Brooklyn. This lends both weight and depth to his account of the Cyclones' birth, and a reality, rather than nostalgic sentimentalism, to his Brooklyn."

-Nine

"If there's more fun than attending a Cyclones' game, it's reading Ben Osborne's warm-hearted, historically observant take on Coney Island's new and very old pastime."

-Rick Telander,author of Heaven Is a Playground

"Love Brooklyn or love baseball or love both, you are sure to love Ben Osborne's tale of the birth of the only team ever named after a roller coaster. The perfect off-season read; in season, the book will make you wonder what you are doing reading when you should be down at Keyspan Park, rooting for those Cyclones."

-Michael Daly,New York Daily News columnist and author of Under Ground: A Novel

"The Dodgers will likely never return to Brooklyn, but The Brooklyn Cyclones makes it possible for the old-time fan to feel passionate again."

-Jeff Pearlman,Newsday staff writer and author of The Bad Guys Won: A Season with the 1986 Mets

Chicago Sun-Times
This one really is for Brooklynites past and present. It's an entertaining tale of how the Cyclones, a minor-league farm team for the Mets, have given baseball back to the borough the Dodgers deserted in 1957.
The Washington Post
From recounting the political machinations that ultimately gave rise to the Cyclones, Osborne's narrative focuses on two disparate youngsters, a teenager from the Coney Island projects and the Cyclones' California-born first baseman.
Publishers Weekly
Osborne, a staff writer for the sports magazine SLAM, decided to follow the Brooklyn minor league Cyclones through their inaugural season in 2001 and gauge their impact on the local community. The result is jumbled and uneven but never dull; imagine Roger Angell and Alex Kotlowitz passing a typewriter back and forth to write about sports and social policy. Osborne focuses his story on two primary figures: Brett Kay, a rookie fresh from college with strong potential to make it in the majors, and Anthony Otero, a teenage baseball fan who lives in a housing project within walking distance of the team's new stadium, KeySpan Park. But some of the book's most fascinating material is about how the park came into being, recounting a struggle that pitted former mayor Rudy Giuliani, "desperate to have baseball stadiums as part of his legacy," against local borough politicians. The return of baseball to Brooklyn was supposed to launch a redevelopment of Coney Island that would rival the turnaround of Times Square, but, Osborne suggests, the Cyclones franchise still has lots of community outreach to do. Though the prose can be raw, the account of the season's games is handled deftly, and Osborne effectively captures the zeal of Brooklyn baseball fans. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Osborne pens a highly readable and detailed account of the inaugural season of the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball team. Intertwined with the politics of baseball and the tale of the miraculous season are the stories of two people connected with the team in very different ways. One is Brett Kay, a catcher for the Cyclones with dreams of playing his way into the big leagues. The other is Anthony Otero, a Hispanic teen who lives in a housing project close to the team's stadium. Osborne sticks well to his task and does not become too obsessed with Coney Island's history, yet he blends in historical facts well when necessary. He also puts into perspective what the team meant to a community starved for baseball since the departure of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1957. Teens will find the stories of Otero and Kay quite accessible. Many youth dream of playing professional sports in the same way that Otero did. His words and actions should hit a home run with any teen who hopes to escape poverty. Otero and his friends also send a very positive message when they inform the author that they play baseball to stay out of trouble. Kay is a prospect with a rebellious streak that teens will admire. There is much to like about this book. It is recommended for libraries where the demand for teen sports books is high and for libraries serving a high percentage of Hispanic teens. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2004, New York University Press, 198p.; Photos. Charts., Ages 15 to Adult.
—David Goodale
Library Journal
Why should anyone outside New York City care about the return of baseball (albeit at the single A level) to Brooklyn? Because of the long, sad absence (44 years) that preceded it: when the Dodgers packed up for parts West in 1957 it signaled a larger national migration that the team has since come to symbolize. Osborne treats the phenomenal success of the Cyclones (tickets sell out months before the season even begins) as a happy-ending story to which all fans of minor league baseball or who live in communities that have lost a treasured franchise can relate. For larger collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814762059
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
04/01/2004
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.78(d)

What People are saying about this

Rick Telander
If there's more fun than attending a Cyclones' game, it's reading Ben Osborne's warm-hearted, historically observant take on Coney Island's new and very old pastime.
author of Heaven Is a Playground
Jeff Pearlman
The Dodgers will likely never return to Brooklyn, but The Brooklyn Cyclones makes it possible for the old-time fan to feel passionate again.
Newsday staff writer and author of The Bad Guys Won: A Season with the 1986 Mets
From the Publisher

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"The Dodgers will likely never return to Brooklyn, but The Brooklyn Cyclones makes it possible for the old-time fan to feel passionate again."

-Jeff Pearlman,Newsday staff writer and author of The Bad Guys Won: A Season with the 1986 Mets

Michael Daly
Love Brooklyn or love baseball or love both, you are sure to love Ben Osborne's tale of the birth of the only team ever named after a roller coaster. The perfect off-season read; in season, the book will make you wonder what you are doing reading when you should be down at Keyspan Park, rooting for those Cyclones.
New York Daily News columnist and author of Under Ground: A Novel
Armen Keteyian
"Here, thanks to a sparkling lineup of characters, vivid writing, and a veteran scout's eye for detail, a single season comes alive with far more than just wins and losses; with the power, politics, and people dead center in a book as much about hopes and dreams as it is about baseball.
CBS and HBO Sports

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Meet the Author

Ben Osborne is a staff writer for SLAM magazine. His articles have also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Daily News. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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