New York, Nu York: Baseball in Late August At Coney Island

My family and I love baseball, the "great American pastime." My family and I love Coney Island, "America's Playground." And there is an overlap between these two great loves of ours, for there is a minor league baseball team (a farm team for the New York Mets, our National League local team) called the Brooklyn Cyclones. The 'Clones play at MCU Park, a small but kind of charming stadium on Surf Avenue in Coney Island. The Cyclones were names after the iconic, landmarked roller coaster several blocks away called, of course, the Cyclone. (We love the Cyclone too. We have some interesting loves in our family.)
The Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team has been celebrating its 15th year in existence in 2015, and every year we've attended a few baseball games. This year we have been to three and may go to one more. (We have also walked by other Cyclones games at times, while strolling on the Coney Island boardwalk.) It's fun for us because it's a smaller site than the major league games; thus. we get to sit closer to the action, hear the crack of the baseball bats in contact with the balls, see the dust rise up as players slide into bases, and so on. The players are not as skilled nor experienced as major leaguers, but we get to see developing young talent. And there is always some kind of hokey activity going on, with costumed mascot birds walking about and waving, silly carnival games between innings of the game, corny local personalities parading around (one guy, a portly crowned fellow dubbed "King Henry," seems to have been at every home game the team has played). And we usually run into friends at the game.
Oh, and tickets are much cheaper to these games compared to local major league games for the Mets and Yankees. Yeah!
Last night, Thursday, August 27, we attended a Cyclones game. Part of the reason for this was my younger daughter hadn't yet attended a game this season, and also because the team was giving away free jerseys. These dark-blue jerseys, emblazoned with cream-colored letters reading "BROOKLYN," were a nice perk. We also bumped into our friends Sarah, Hal and Joan and spoke with them.
Alas, the Cyclones performed miserably yesterday, losing the game 5-0 to the Aberdeen Ironbirds of Maryland. Oh, well. But I sat beside a young Orthodox family, parents and three young children, who were wrapped up in the game. It was adorable. Two girls and a boy; the boy, perhaps 4 or 5 years old, sat quietly and watched the game carefully, wide-eyed, his feet not yet touching the ground as he sat in the plastic stadium seat. His two sisters, one younger and one a bit older, were interested in the game and did cheer and clap with gusto. The parents seemed pleased that their kids were entertained.
They were not the only observant Jewish family at the game last night; there were others of various ages, and there is a kosher food stand on the concourse level that vends hot dogs (I bought one, it was pretty tasty), knishes, pastrami sandwiches and some other edibles. And just about every time I have attended any baseball game in New York City, be it the Cyclones or the other minor league team the Staten Island Yankees, as well as the major league Yankees in the Bronx, and the Mets in Queens, I have seen obviously observant Jews as well as less-observant who wore more secular clothing, but still wore Jewish star necklaces or shirts from Jewish sleep away camps and schools.
This is not surprising to me: American Jews professing their love for baseball is no new topic, and there have been Jewish baseball players of note (Sandy Koufax! Hank Greenberg! Sean Green! and so on). But yesterday in a local Jewish newspaper called the Flatbush Jewish Journal, a letter writer griped about many things, and one of them was about a story or photo in which observant Jews cheered on a baseball game. The letter writer was angry about the magazine taking note of baseball, and the Jews engaging in what he thought was frivolous, secular interests.
To which I say, dear letter writer, sheesh, what's yer problem? Can't we Jews enjoy a little baseball in our lives? It's summertime!