Last Tuesday, I had the chance to go down to Coney Island to attend the Brooklyn Cyclones Opening Day.
This experience, which is always a great one, was the first time I was in Brooklyn since 2015, and I was interested in what’s changed over the last two years, and give the fan experience a proper review.
I arrived into Coney Island and immediately turned right onto Surf Avenue, which, in the last five years, has gone through a significant restoration. The sidewalks are cleaner, brighter at night, and a more welcoming atmosphere for families.
The Thunderbolt, which I had seen on my 2015 trip, looked very nice just feet from MCU Park.
Upon arrival, I quickly picked up my tickets (always go for the commemorative ticket stock), and waited on the long rope line, that wrapped around the ticket office three times.
I was surprised to see Metal Detectors at every gate, something you don’t see at Citi Field, but due to the extreme lines, the routed me and anyone without bags to a temporary line with one guy with the Garrett Wands, which took less than five seconds.
The Cyclones, rather impressively, were waiting on the steps of the ballpark to sign autographs from eager fans, a nice touch that you can only see in the Minor Leagues!
There was a spin to win for five dollars, similar to the set up at the Mets Spring Training Facility in Port St. Lucie.
I won a phone charger, which I’m currently putting to good use on my vacation;)
The ballpark was cramped, which is always the case during any stadium’s opening day, so I give them a pass. What I do not give them a pass for was the state of their concessions.
All but a few of the main stands only accepted cash transactions, as their new credit machines weren’t installed in-time. This led to massive confusion for the workers, long lines, and complaints from fans who waited in the lines, only to hear that the credit/debit machine isn’t working.
I must have seen five fans throw a total fit at the employees (which one shouldn’t do, as it isn’t the kid’s fault) for the inability to use a credit card, which is troublesome in the increasingly cashless society we’ve adapted. However, one of the employees I spoke to said the machines would be ready in the not-to-distant future, so, that’s a positive.
I got a traditional meal consisting of Chicken & Fries, with prices slightly lower than at Citi Field.
While not everyone was glued to the game, the Cyclones always to entertainment well, and they’ve changed a few things. First, while King Henry continues to do his thing with charm, the Beach Bums have been re-named the Surf Squad, consisting of both girls and a few guys, and are a step in the right direction in the family-friendly department.
Additionally, a lot of the fans were wearing the giveaway of the day, the t-shirt schedule (a better take on the magnetic schedule that is ubiquitous on Opening Day).
And, as always, the Cyclones looked like an exciting, young bunch. I loved how they were all on the top step of the railing, ready to go at any moment’s notice. I was that mentality carried over to the major leagues.
By and large, the Cyclones are an affordable exciting alternative to Big League baseball. It’s a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, and you can get a field level ticket and an autograph or two for under twenty bucks, which is an amazing deal.
It’s no major leagues, but in the summer time in the minors, it’s the experience that counts, and the Cyclones do that very well.