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Contents Preface vii Prologue: June 2, 2001 1 1 Opening Day 5 2 The First Few Brooklyn “Home Stands” 29 3 Kay and the Cyclones Become Celebrities 53 4 Coney Island’s Team Begins Its Own Rivalry—The “Ferry Series” 76 5 Kay and the Cyclones Take the New York–Penn League by Storm 113 6 Brett Kay Moves to the BIG City, Anthony Stays in Coney Island 128 7 The Last Home Game of the Regular Season 149 8 The Postseason 168 9 Epilogue: September 15, 2003 181 2001 Statistics and Standings 194 Acknowledgments 196 About the Author 198 All illustrations appear as an insert following p. 102. ◆ v ◆ Preface When I realized, as the hype started to build at the beginning of 2001, that there was really going to be a professional baseball team in Brooklyn, I was ecstatic. A lifelong baseball fan and, more specifically, a Los Angeles Dodger fan, I’d harbored a pride in Brooklyn baseball my whole life. The truth was, however, that my connection to Brooklyn baseball felt pretty faint. Now there was more than talk. The Brooklyn Cyclones were about to become reality. My grandfather, Ashton Osborne, was born in Brooklyn in 1914 and lived in the Flatbush area until 1933, when he left to attend Wesleyan University in Connecticut. At that point his family moved to Plainfield, New Jersey, and his Brooklyn days were over. His passion for the Dodgers, however, had been ingrained. Even though he moved to Chicago in 1946, my grandfather stayed devoted to the Dodgers. And when my father, Jeffrey, was born there the following year, Tommy Lasorda’s metaphorical “Dodger Blue blood” was apparently injected into his veins. By the time my grandfather allowed my father to stay home from school to watch Game 7 of the 1955 World Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees (which the Dodgers actually won!), my dad was as hooked on his team as a young fan could be. Surely there was some sadness in the Osborne household when the Dodgers left Brooklyn for Los Angeles in 1957, but the family ties to Brooklyn were no longer strong. My father and grandfather were ◆ vii ◆ Dodger fans at that point, and a pride in the team’s Brooklyn heritage remained without the pain felt by folks who no longer had Duke Snider as a neighbor. My father married my mother (another Chicagoland native) and they moved to California, where I was born, and then they moved to suburban New York, where my sisters and I were raised. Through it all, including the death of my grandfather when I was just two years old, my father remained a die-hard, stay-up-late-for-the-scores, curse-the-TV type of Dodger fan. Needless to say, I became that same type of Dodger fan as well. The Dodger love was never because they had some great teams in the ’70s or because we lived briefly in their adopted home state of California. The love was always because—and who knows how many thousands of times, from grammar school to high school to college to the Yankee Stadium bleachers, I’ve explained this—my grandfather had passed it on. So, with my somewhat unrealized Brooklyn baseball history, and three years of living in the borough under my belt (a fact my grandfather is said to smile about from above), I was thrilled about this new team, the Brooklyn Cyclones. I was not the only one. Coney Island–raised Michael Fabricant, a published author and the head of the Ph.D. program at the Hunter College School of Social Work, as well as a mentor to my wife, introduced me to his friend, the literary agent Lane Zachary. Lane wanted to sell a book about baseball returning to Brooklyn—Coney Island, no less—and I wanted to write one. Once I’d made a couple trips to Coney Island with notebook in hand, it became clear that the ups, downs, and predicted ups again of Coney Island were nearly as big a part of the story as was the baseball. Various politicians had been talking about rehabilitating this magical amusement area for the last forty years, and now something new was indeed coming to the neighborhood. I also learned that the book should be given some historical context. Some, that is, because I quickly found out that the history of Coney Island—especially the amusement parks that have dominated...


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