Cyclones drop home opener, 4-3

May 24, 2021 Jim Dolan
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The Cyclones lost their home opener to the Hudson Valley Renegades May 18. But the fans didn’t care. They were just happy to have baseball back in Coney Island. And it was another chance to cheer the same team that won the 2019 New York Penn League Championship, since most of the members of that team have advanced two levels to Brooklyn’s High-A East minor league division.

Although the team is basically the same, fans found some changes on opening day. No longer a short-season summer team as a result of baseball’s minor league contraction, the Cyclones are now a full-season team that essentially was moved from Port St. Lucie. In addition, the team is now under the leadership of legendary St. John’s manager Ed Blankmeyer, an eight-time Big East Manager of the Year. The ballpark even has a new name – Maimonides Park – and Maimonides CEO Ken Gibbs cut the ribbon before the game to celebrate the new partnership.

The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by two heroes of the 2019 team. Relief pitcher Andrew Edwards reenacted the final strikeout against the Lowell Spinners by throwing a strike to Antoine Duplantis. 

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The Brooklyn Cyclones celebrated their 20th anniversary by welcoming the staff of Maimonides Medical Center to celebrate the ballpark’s renaming.

As for the game itself, starting pitcher Joey Butto held the Renegades hitless through five innings and had a 1-0 lead when Kyle MacDonald hit a two-run homer in the sixth.

The Cyclones regained the lead in the seventh when Joe Genord crushed a 415-foot two-run homer to center. But in the eighth, MacDonald struck again with an RBI single to tie it at 3-3.

Edwards came on in the ninth inning and allowed the winning run to score on a double by Pablo Olivares.

Blankmeyer said after the game that he’s pleased with his club’s effort so far, despite a 4-8 record.  From spring training to now, he has seen the team’s work on two of his prime benchmarks – establishment of a baseball culture with good habits along with the development of passion for the game.

“Working at this level you have to be patient,” Blankmeyer said. “It’s still a long season and a grind.”

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