During the 2016 baseball season, I managed to break last season’s record of going to 83 games by attending 88 games this season, with 62 of them being played at MCU Park. Along the way, I also went to 5 ballparks I had never been to before.
So, after going through all my scorecards, reading thru the hundreds of innings of baseball I watched this season, I am listing the top 10 memories of the 2016 season.
Last week, I listed Numbers 8, 9 & 10. We continue this week with Numbers 6 & 7: The Suite Life!
7: Suite Life in Brooklyn
Over the years, I have managed to see a lot of MCU Park that most fans don’t normally see. I’ve seen both locker rooms, the indoor batting cage and parts of the front office. I have sat in the party deck, covered games from the press box, been in the control room, and even been in the ushers lounge. This year, I finally made it into a Suite at MCU Park.
In late June, I got an email from the CUNY Athletic Conference, telling me I had finished in the Top 10 in the StudentsFirst Rewards program. This program awards fans who attend CUNYAC championship events with special prizes. The top prize is free tuition for a year, with other prizes including laptops and tablets. While I knew about the contest, I never vied for it, as I only attend the Senior College Basketball Tournament and the Community College Baseball Championship, which gets played at MCU Park.
I was invited up to a suite for a private ceremony for the 10 winners, making it the first time I ever entered a suite in MCU Park. Inside the suite were also representatives from CUNYAC, MCU & Army ROTC.
Being told there was no formal dress code, I walked in wearing my usual customized Cyclones jersey with Cowbell Guy on the back, as I was at a game. As soon as I came through the door, CUNYAC Commissioner Zac Ivkovic says to those who were in the room “See, this is how you dress for a baseball game! Daniel Weiss gets it!” (I did pack a Cyclones polo just in case.”
Luckily, it was a rainy night, and the start of the Brooklyn Cyclones game against Hudson Valley was delayed over an hour. This was beneficial as I was very antsy to get back to my seat in Section 16 to score the game. The rain delay allowed the ceremony to be held without causing me to miss a moment of the action. The game itself was bad, as the Cyclones lost 2-0 and had only one hit.
I was awarded a CUNYAC Prize pack, the main prize being a fancy Nike backpack, which happened to be the 10th place prize. Also included were 4 CUNY T-shirts, a fancy water bottle and a drawstring bag. Considering I didn’t know that I was even in the running until after it ended, I would say I did very well.
When Mark Fratto read off the names of the winners in-between innings, he made sure to announce the 9 others before stating “and the final winner, Brooklyn Cyclones Season Ticket Holder, Daniel Weiss of Section 16.”
6: All Star Suite Life in Hudson Valley
Coming off a very successful 5-1 homestand against the Lake Monsters & Black Bears, Tuesday, August 16th was supposed to be a relaxing off-day before a 3-game set at RCB Ballpark against the Yankees & a home stand to follow. I would write a recap of the All Star game that night, while spending my day watching Netflix.
Rich McHugh did not think so. He tweeted me, asking me if I was going to the NY Penn League All Star Game in Hudson Valley that night. I told him I wasn’t planning on making the long trip up to Wappinger Falls. The next thing I know, a man who I did not know told me he was leaving me two suite tickets for the Ed Randall’s Fans for the Cure Suite.
So I stopped what I was doing and went to my closet. I grabbed some gear from the 2014 NYPL All Star Game which MCU Park hosted. I ended up choosing a polo shirt with the logo on it, the South jersey and a cap from that game. After failing to find anyone who could come on such short notice, I told Robert Bloom, who already bought a ticket, that he was welcome to join me in the suite.
When I got to Dutchess Stadium, I got to see my good friend Gary McDonald working on the FeverCast and a few other people I knew from my previous trips up there. I also had to pick up some programs for some of the fans who could not make it up there.
Steve Cohen, who was working a NYPL grab bag table saw me and simply said “Why am I not surprised to see you here?” Steve also told me I made a good choice in rocking All Star gear from 2014.
Jamal Clarke, the Cyclones camera operator, took some footage of me, in case Ricky Viola wanted to use it.
The suite itself was very comfortable and everyone in the suite was friendly. A number of people had read my blog and were interested in some of the ballparks I had been to. I made sure to give everyone signed baseball card of mine.
There was some Kosher food in the suite, mainly chips & pretzels. However, when dessert time came around, they had Kosher ice cream & toppings.
At one point, a pop up foul ball came right towards our suite. I had left my glove in my Cyclones game-day bag along with my scorebook, helmet and Cyclones flags. I did not attempt to catch it barehanded, as I was not in the mood to risk injuring my hand. Robert Bloom ended up getting the ball once it dropped, as it landed in the seat in front of him. I was annoyed at myself for not bringing my glove, as I would’ve caught that one easily on the fly had I been wearing my glove.
After the game, Harol Gonzalez, who got the win for the South, tossed me a game used baseball with the 2016 NYPL ASG logo for coming up to the game, ending a very fun night at Dutchess Stadium.