BROOKLYN, NY – It was real and it was spectacular! For the second consecutive year, the Brooklyn Cyclones, short-season affiliate of the New York Mets, hosted “Salute to Seinfeld Night”, paying homage to the fabled 1990s NBC sitcom, starring comedian Jerry Seinfeld. The series debuted on July 5, 1989 as “The Seinfeld Chronicles”, primarily focusing on the premise of the material a stand up comedian uses during his every day life. After garnering widespread national media attention and an award for Minor League Promotion of the Year in 2014, the Brooklyn Cyclones revived the event, complete with actor Steven Hytner, who played Kenny Bania on Seinfeld, throwing out the game’s ceremonial first pitch. With anticipation at a fever pitch for the festivities outside of the game, it was the historic seven RBI performance by Brandon Brosher, remembered most on this day, as the Cyclones collected their second consecutive victory against the Philadelphia Phillies short-season affiliate Williamsport Crosscutters by a 9-2 final score.
After the pregame histrionics concluded, the first-place Williamsport Crosscutters and their contemporaries from Brooklyn battled in a clash of teams dictating the pace in their respective divisions. Undrafted free agent Jose Celas took the ball for Brooklyn in his second home start and continued to struggle with his command on the hill, walking three batters in the first inning, before fanning catcher Gregori Rivero to leave the frame unscathed. The Cyclones returned the favor in the bottom of the first inning, loading the bases against Williamsport starter Mitch Gueller, a third year member of the club. Unlike the Crosscutters, the Cyclones would dent the scoreboard in a big way on a majestic grand slam off the bat of Brandon Brosher, his second home run in as many games. Brosher’s grand slam was the first by a Cyclones player since Alex Sanchez in 2013. “I am starting to feel really good out there “, Brosher said. “I came in pretty confident today. I am thrilled to be able to do that. It is a nice honor to have”.
The Crosscutters narrowed the margin on an infield single by Zach Coppola in the ensuing inning. Despite a four run cushion, Celas struggled mightily with the strike zone, as control escaped him once again, before departing in the 4th inning after facing just one hitter and walking 6 in the process. Reliever Kevin Canelon would follow and provide the epitome of an outing expected by a bullpen arm with 4.2 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just three hits and shrinking his earned run average by nearly three round. Gueller, a first round compensation pick by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2012, surrendered just two hits after the first inning, pitching the Crosscutters into the fifth, before departing trailing 4-2. With the Cyclones leading by three in the seventh, Brosher emptied the bases on a double to left center field to cap off a seven RBI performance, securing a victory and setting a franchise record, eclipsing the previous mark of six set by four others. “Brosher has a chance to be a great prospect”, Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa said. “He is a rare guy who has Mike Piazza type strength.”
Years of following the game on the field can sometimes lead us to thoughts of complacency, believing that every scenario is viewed from every conceivable spectrum. On a day where the past was celebrated with both alacrity and honor, the day belonged to an individual toiling in relative obscurity as a 36th round draft pick two years earlier, struggling exceedingly to learn the nuances of a foreign position at an age when many players are completing their freshman year of college. Brosher, who missed much of his 2014 season at Kingsport due to injury, displayed flashes of raw power, with a .387/.424/.774 slash line, headlined by four home runs in just 31 at bats. The converted pitcher played just his fifth game in Brooklyn, after joining the club one week ago, turning heads and leaving his team, fans, and opponents in utter disbelief in the events transpiring in front of them. The Williamsport Crosscutters share similar sentiments, after coming out triumphantly in 13 of their first 14 games in 2015, before dropping two consecutive contests in Brooklyn. The Crosscutters will look to salvage the final game of the series on Monday, with 6th round draft pick Tyler Gilbert making his professional debut, opposed by Brooklyn right hander Tyler Badamo, fresh off seven scoreless innings last Wednesday against the Hudson Valley Renegades at Dutchess Stadium. First pitch is at 7 PM from MCU Park and can be heard on WLYC-AM and WKRB-FM via the Tunein Radio app.