Cyclones suffer final indignity of 2015
Watch Arch Rival Yanks Celebrate McNamara Crown at MCU Park
The worst season, by far, in the Brooklyn Cyclones’ 15-year history somehow got even worse on Monday night at Coney Island’s MCU Park.
The punch-less Baby Bums had to watch on in agony as the arch rival Staten Island Yankees celebrated clinching the McNamara Division title at their expense in front of 5,012 Brooklyn baseball fanatics, holding on for a 5-2 victory to deny the Cyclones a shot at playing spoiler in the regular-season finale for both clubs.
So while the Cyclones (33-43) limped back to their locker room without a playoff berth for the third consecutive summer, the Yankees (41-34) were crowned champions of the division and went into all-out party mode on Brooklyn’s home field in advance of their best-of-three first-round playoff series with Tri-City, which will begin Wednesday night in Staten Island.
“It was crazy, we were celebrating around the mound and we had champagne on the field — I’ve never celebrated on the field before,” Yankees left-hander Derek Callahan told MiLB.com after throttling the limp Brooklyn offense over 5 1/3 scoreless innings.
“It was awesome to celebrate with teammates and move on to the next round.”
Brooklyn had its own postseason hopes dashed earlier this month as its once-promising 14-5 start to the season grinded to a stunning halt with an embarrassing 19-38 finish, marking the first time in their 15 seasons on Surf Avenue that the Cyclones failed to finish with a winning record, or at least at .500, which they did in 2002.
The league’s worst offense, which completed the 76-game grind of a Class A short-season campaign with a .220 combined batting average, a circuit-low 263 runs scored and a whopping 684 strikeouts, lived up to its billing in the season’s last game.
Brooklyn went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, left eight men on base and struck out nine times, which was just about its season average for offensive futility at the plate.
The Cyclones also committed three errors, one of which led to an unearned run.
The Yankees, on the other hand, got all the offense they’d need via a three-run fourth inning, capped by Eduardo de Oleo’s two-run double to right field.
“It’s a great atmosphere in the clubhouse, these kids have come together and the thing that makes is more special is it wasn’t easy,” Staten Island manager Pat Osborn told MiLB after his team completed a division-clinching three-game sweep of the Cyclones.
“We held on to that top spot here for multiple weeks — a half-game, a game up — and these kids have been resilient and found a way to win games and maintain the spot at the top of the division. It’s a credit to them and how they’ve gone about their season.”
Trailing 5-0 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, the Cyclones did provide a ray of hope that they may spoil the Yankees’ playoff plans.
Hengelbert Rojas’ booming double sparked a two-run rally, but Desmond Lindsay’s bid for an RBI single was gobbled up by S.I. second baseman Thairo Estrada, foiling Brooklyn’s last gasp at a comeback.
Save for Manuel Hilario reaching on a two-out error in the ninth, the Cyclones went down meekly over the final two frames, much the way they did for the better part of this lost summer on Coney Island.
Second-year manager Tom Gamboa, who missed the playoffs in his initial campaign via a head-to-head tiebreaker with Connecticut despite a furious late-season push, never found the pulse of this team.
These Cyclones failed to catch fire again following their initial burst out of the gate, instead smoldering in the ashes of their own ineptitude.
So it will be another offseason of “Wait ‘Till Next Year” for the Cyclones, while the Yankees look to grab yet another New York-Penn League championship in the weeks ahead.
“We’re hot right now, we have such a good chemistry and team mojo with the clubhouse, it feels like we’re gonna do this thing,” Callahan said. “We told ourselves after the win, we have four more games, four more wins and we’re champions and we get that ring.”
The Cyclones have been chasing that very ring since grabbing a share of the NY-Penn title during their inaugural season here in 2001.
This, That and the Other Thing: Rojas went 2-for-3 with a run scored in Monday night’s finale. … RHP Edioglis Villasmil came on in relief of starter Jose Celas (1-2) and yielded just one earned run on three hits over the final five innings. … Brooklyn finished the campaign with the league’s fourth-best ERA at 3.25. … INF Jeff Diehl, who hit .289 with five homers and 20 RBIs during his 58-game stint in Brooklyn, was promoted to Class A Advanced St. Lucie for the remainder of the season.
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