Mets Shine for Brooklyn Fans When Workout Is Washed Out
By Neil S. Friedman
It had all the makings of a shining, nostalgic moment. But while the baseball gods were surely smiling when the New York Mets came to Brooklyn last Sunday — the first time a major league baseball team was scheduled to play in the borough since the Dodgers left — Mother Nature wasn’t as receptive. A steady, cold rain forced the cancellation of a Mets intrasquad game at KeySpan Park, the home of the Mets’ single A affiliate Brooklyn Cyclones, in Coney Island.
The postponement initially left the 8,000 fans who showed up for the team’s final spring workout disappointed. Consequently, many of them departed, opting for the warmth of home. However, the hearty ones who remained to brave the unseasonable conditions subsequently had the opportunity to get up close and personal with many players at autograph signings and watching position players take batting practice at indoor cages.
Canarsie Courier freelancer Sonny Maxon asked Brooklyn native John Franco, a Lafayette High School alumnus who’s been a NYMets pitcher since 1990, but is starting 2003 on the disabled list, how it feels to be with the first major league team to return to Brooklyn in 46 years? The affable hurler said, "Well I wasn’t even born then, but it feels good. This is something that Mr. Wilpon (the Mets’ owner) wanted, him being a big Brooklyn Dodger fan himself. So, he came and asked us if we wanted to come out here and workout and the guy’s said, ‘Sure. Why not.’"
Will there be any other workouts here in the future? "I hope so," Franco replied, "It’s something nice. It’s good for the community, it’s good for Cyclones fans and it is good for Met fans who don’t get a chance to come out to Shea Stadium."
While there’s nothing baseball executives, players or fans can do about game-time weather, nor is it is feasible for the Mets to play an exhibition game at KeySpan Park due to the anticipated demand for tickets, it is possible the sun might shine if the major leaguers decide to schedule another historical intrasquad workout in Brooklyn.