The Brooklyn Cyclones, a Class A minor league affiliate of the New York Mets, make their home debut Monday night against the Mahoning Valley (Ohio) Scrappers in a new $39 million stadium.
``To have baseball back in Brooklyn has got to be one of the most wonderful things that's happened for me while I've been the mayor of New York City,'' Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a die-hard Yankee's fan, said Monday on NBC's ``Today'' show.
On the first day tickets went on sale, fans bought 125,000 seats - about half those available for the season. Some waited 14 hours for their shot. More than two-thirds of this year's tickets are gone.
The Cyclones' 6,500-seat KeySpan Park has an entrance off Coney Island's boardwalk. The abandoned Parachute Jump, repainted and spruced up, sits behind the fence in right field. Beyond left field, the Cyclone roller-coaster soars and dips.
``This will do for Coney Island what the Disney investment did for 42nd Street,'' Giuliani said, referring to Times Square's transformation into a glitzy tourist attraction.
The last time a professional baseball team played in Brooklyn was Sept. 24, 1957, when the Dodgers defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-0. Only 6,702 fans could bring themselves to the bittersweet farewell.
Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley became an instant pariah. When the 1958 baseball season began, the void was in place; two years later, Ebbets Field was torn down to make way for a housing project.
The Cyclones' home opener comes a day after another minor league team in New York City - the Staten Island Yankees - played its first home game. They defeated the Hudson Valley Renegades 3-1.
To learn more about the Brooklyn Cyclones, visit their website.