Cyclones salute ex-batboy Donovan Mitchell Jr.
After a 17-year absence from Maimonides Park, NBA All-Star Donovan Mitchell Jr. made a homecoming appearance for the Brooklyn Cyclones.
During the 2005 season, Mitchell Jr. was the Cyclones’ batboy, while his father Donovan Mitchell Sr. was the team’s hitting coach. Fast-forward to 2022, Mitchell Sr. is now a member of the N.Y. Mets’ front office, while his son is completing his fifth NBA season with the Utah Jazz as a three-time All-Star.
After playing baseball for Canterbury H.S., Mitchell Jr. transferred to Brewster Academy, where his basketball talents blossomed. After two years at the University of Louisville, he entered the 2017 NBA Draft, where he was picked by the Denver Nuggets and immediately traded to the Jazz.
For Mitchell Jr., whose first love growing up was baseball, his homecoming was a baseball dream trifecta. First, to celebrate his homecoming, the Cyclones gave away his bobblehead likeness to the fans. Next, Mitchell Jr. took batting practice with the Brooklyn players and even hit five home runs over the right-field wall. To cap off the day, the former Elmsford little leaguer threw out the ceremonial first pitch to bench coach Chris Newell before the Greensboro game.
Reminiscing around the batting cage, Mitchell Jr. spoke of the fond times with his father on the road traveling around the New York Penn League. When asked to recall his favorite memory from that 2005 season, he said, “I really enjoyed how much the players took me in and made me feel like a part of the team.”
In fact, he remembered a good number of that season’s Cyclone players, including one in particular. Pointing to the outfield, he said, “I can still see big Caleb Stewart making those catches out there in left field right in front of that big wall.”
As a minor league fan, Mitchell Jr. admitted that as an 8-year-old in 2004 he was heartbroken when the Mets traded top pitching prospect Scott Kazmir to Tampa. But a promising rookie named David Wright salvaged the season for him.
Coincidentally, on the day of this event, sports talk radio and all the major networks were talking about the Jazz trying to trade Mitchell Jr. to the N.Y. Knicks. That was two weeks ago, with trade talks still in limbo. However, for those who missed Donovan’s Brooklyn homecoming, a much greater welcome back reception may lie ahead for “Spida” in the fall if he steps onto the floor of Madison Square Garden as a Knick.
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