Life in the Minors - Chapter 1: Great Expectations

by DJ Sixsmith, JT Mercurio
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The season begins for the Brooklyn Cyclones and SI Yanks

For the 12th straight year WFUV is taking a look at what life is like in the Short Season Single-A NY Penn League...a close-up view of the Baby Bombers and Junior Mets as they attempt to climb the ladder to Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. It's Brooklyn and Staten Island. It's the Cyclones and Yankees. It's Life in the Minors: How the Other Half Lives.

By JT Mercurio, Staten Island Yankees Beat Reporter

With six championships in only thirteen seasons, the Staten Island Yankees are surely a team to be reckoned with. Following a NY Penn League championship season last year, this year’s squad hopes to continue the Yankee tradition of Pride, Power and Pinstripes by bringing home the league championship trophy once again.

These players were anxious to finally set foot on the field and play together as a team. For some of them, playing baseball in the spotlight and on a big stage is nothing new, but being that this time it would be as a part of the Yankees Organization, things seemed a little more intimidating. The Baby Bombers were eager to get out there nonetheless.

Each player has their own drive to succeed, but they all share common goals. Aside from playing their hearts out and proving their worth to Yankee management, each player has two things on their mind...raising that NY Penn League Championship Trophy and wearing that championship ring.

By DJ Sixsmith, Brooklyn Cyclones Beat Reporter

Summer is full swing which means that NY Penn League baseball is back in the Big Apple. While the Staten Island Yankees are the reigning champions, the Brooklyn Cyclones enter the 2012 campaign with promising hopes. After winning the Wild Card in 2011, the Cyclones have great expectations for this summer. However, this year’s Junior Mets squad is the youngest in franchise history. In fact, there are seven Cyclones who are still teenagers.

Featured on the Cyclones team this year are 2011 Mets first round pick Brandon Nimmo and 2012 first rounder Kevin Plawecki. Many believe that Nimmo could be the next great Mets prospect as the Wyoming native batted .551, hit 14 home runs and drove in 99 runs as a senior playing in the American Legion league. As for Plawecki, the new Cyclones catcher was a standout at Purdue University being named Big Ten Player of the Year in 2012 and also receiving the Big Ten Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Award.

Luckily for the young Cyclones, skipper Rich Donnelly is back for his second season with Brooklyn. After going 45-29 in 2011, Donnelly said that he believes this team has the potential to make a championship run. Donnelly will count on the guys that are returning to Brooklyn as Cole Frenzel and Phil Evans must step up if the Cyclones have any hope of getting past the first round this fall.

Its always important to get off to a good start and the Cyclones have opened the season by winning three of their first five games. Solid starting pitching and timely hits from Frenzel and outfielder Juan Gamboa were two of the main reasons why Brooklyn took three of four from the Baby Bombers. Nothing like sticking it to your cross town rivals to begin the season.

Cyclones fans can’t get too excited yet as the grind of 76 games in 80 games can truly take a lot out of a team. It should be a very interesting and exciting summer of baseball in Brooklyn.

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