Six months after Superstorm Sandy trashed much of MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones (short season A; NY-Penn League), the ballpark is ready for baseball well in advance of the scheduled June 18 Opening Day.
As you’ll recall, Superstorm Sandy was the deadliest and most expensive hurricane last year, moving up the Atlantic Coast and wreaking havoc everywhere, especially New Jersey and New York, Coney Island, and surrounding communities, fell victim to the never-before-seen levels of storm surge and rising sea tides. MCU Park, located just off the famed Coney Island Boardwalk, suffered several millions of dollars in damages, mainly to the first floor of the ballpark.
“Like so many of our fans and neighbors, we felt the wrath of the storm,” Cyclones General Manger Steve Cohen said. “We realize that while we are ready to return to business as usual, there is still a lot of work to be done both here on Coney Island and in other communities throughout the area. We are excited to get back on our feet and embrace the opportunity to continue helping our friends, fans and neighbors in their recovery efforts.”
Thanks to a massive rebuilding effort over the winter, the ballpark – which opened its doors for the first time in 2001 – will look like new this summer, according to team officials. Renovations have been completed on the front office, locker rooms, ticket office, catering areas and dugouts, while a completely remodeled team store will be unveiled closer to Opening Day. The most obvious change to the ballpark, however, will be a brand-new, state-of-the-art playing surface. The salt, chemicals and other pollutants caused by the ocean water left the previous surface extremely contaminated and unplayable.
LandTek recently completed installation of the FieldTurf synthetic grass system at MCU Park. The field is made of specifically designed turf with the exception of the pitcher’s mound and home plate area, which is still comprised of traditional clay and dirt. The specially designed baseball turf has the look and feel of traditional sod, but is optimally designed for durability and severe weather.
“Our new field will be a great addition to MCU Park,” Cohen said. “The added durability of the playing surface allows us to use the ballpark almost year-round. We can now host soccer, football, lacrosse, concerts, corporate outings and more in addition to the youth, high school and college baseball games that we typically schedule. Equally important is the fact that it is designed to withstand severe weather, which bodes well in the event that the recent trend of storms continues.”
The first events at the newly renovated MCU Park will by the CUNY Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament running from Monday, May 6 through Wednesday, May 8. The Cyclones season will get underway on June 18 when they take on the rival Staten Island Yankees, with a special pre-game ceremony honoring those affected by the storm.
Images courtesy Brooklyn Cyclones.
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