Rivera returning to manage in Brooklyn
Former Cyclones All-Star takes reins for 2022 campaign
For the first time in their 21-year history, the Brooklyn Cyclones are going to be managed by one of their own.
Luis Rivera, an All-Star outfielder on Coney Island in the summer of 2009, is back in our borough and ready to guide the High-A New York Mets’ affiliate at Maimonides Park.
“The fans in Brooklyn are very excited and very energetic and to be honest with you, I love that. Even if they boo you, it gives you more energy,” said Rivera, who batted .297 with four homers and 34 RBIs in 66 games for the Baby Bums 13 years ago.
“I’m feeling very happy to be the manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones,” Rivera added. “It’s a great opportunity for me.”
And a great chance for young players to learn from a former player, bench coach, hitting instructor and ex-manager for Rookie-level Kingsport from 2015-17.
“It’s very exciting. It’s going to be a different stage from Kingsport, where it’s 400 fans,” said Rivera. “Here the stage is going to be a lot bigger. I feel happy for the chance, the challenge.”
Though the minors are mainly for player development, Rivera will also be tasked with teaching winning baseball, something that was lacking in Brooklyn last year as the team finished dead last in the High-A North Division at 48-70.
The 37-year-old native of Puerto Rico will have plenty of help, however, as the Cyclones also added hitting coach Richie Benes, pitching coach A.J. Sager, bench coach Chris Newell, athletic trainer Austin Dayson and performance coach Drew Skrocki.
Benes was part of the staff here in 2019, when the Cyclones completed their tenure in the New York-Penn League by winning the title under the tutelage of Mets legend Edgardo Alfonzo.
Rivera doesn’t have a big-league resume to boast as he assumes the position, but he is glad to get a shot to manage on a big stage with increased media attention and a state-of-the-art ballpark by the sea along Surf Avenue.
“I was surprised they sent me to Brooklyn,” he admitted. “Usually they send an ex-Major League ballplayer. I told them I want to manage again. I have good leadership skills.”
Rivera will get his first chance to display those skills on April 8, when the Cyclones open their season on the road at Wilmington.
The Baby Bums will open the Brooklyn portion of their schedule on April 12 vs. Jersey Shore.
This, That and the Other Thing: The Cyclones will kick off the 2022 season with a Winter Cap giveaway for the first 1,000 fans in attendance on Opening Day. … Rivera isn’t the only big change coming to Brooklyn this summer. MiLB has implemented new rules and semantics for full-season teams. Experimental rules for the 2022 campaign include: a pitch-timer to encourage faster play, larger bases, increase from 15 to 18 square inches to help sliding players and fielders on the bag avert injury and there will be limits on player positioning and shifting.
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