Two recent announcements may give the borough a total of three pro sports teams
I must have things reversed in my life. Born and bred in Brooklyn, I'm a Long Islander by choice. Waiting nearly three decades for professional sports to return to my home land, I missed my calling. Since I packed up and moved out east, baseball returned to the borough of churches and hockey and basketball are scheduled to follow.
The New York Mets gave Brooklynites past and present a team to call their own in 2001. After completing one of the most beautiful ballparks anywhere, the Brooklyn Cyclones took over Coney Island as if they were the second coming of Luna and Steeplechase Parks rolled into one. The ambiance of sitting in the seats and seeing the sun say goodbye is special. Taking a look at the refurbished Parachute Ride watching the game over the rightfield fence like a charter member of the knothole gang is a sight that must be seen to truly appreciate.
There is nothing better than an outdoor stadium. But if an indoor arena can capture some of that Brooklyn magic, then we are in store for something special.
Both announced just prior to the Holidays, there will be two huge presents under our 'sports fan' Christmas trees, in the form of a Rangers farm team and the return of the Nets to New York.
Out at Floyd Bennett Field, smack in the middle of Kings Plaza and the bridge to the Rockaways, there's a brand new sports facility which includes a hockey rink that may be the next home of a Rangers minor league team. Garden officials announced that they plan on bringing a team right to our own backyard, possibly as soon as next season. No word on a team name just yet. For now, I'll just refer to them as the Baby Blue Shirts.
The ECHL is equivalent to Double-A in baseball, so these players will be a step or so ahead of the Cyclones in terms of organizational development. The arena will hold approximately 2,300 fans. Judging by the sell-outs at Keyspan Park, which holds nearly 8,000 for baseball, filling the seats for hockey should go as smooth as the surface of the ice.
The Baby Blue Shirts will be marketed properly with the help of the parent team's wallet, similar to the Cyclones with the Mets' weekly allowance, if you will. A mascot and a dance team on skates should be quick to follow.
Going further towards the heart of the borough, the Atlantic Rail Yards will be the future location of the Nets, Not sure what to call these guys. New Jersey, New York, Brooklyn...a mystery presently. Once it is all said and done, an 18,000-seat arena will house the basketball club presently residing in the Garden State. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the same person that shot down the Jets dream of building a West Side stadium, gave back a little to the area sports fans by approving Nets' owner Bruce Ratner's dream. The entire project will cost approximately $4-billion dollars, which includes apartment houses and office buildings, too. The center will be at Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, oddly enough the same location that was at the center of the debate back in the mid-1950's. Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley wanted the city to give him the land and he would fit the bill of building a new ballpark for the Boys of Summer. The politicians wouldn't agree, and O'Malley packed up and flew to Los Angeles. Isn't it a bit ironic that the first big league team back in Brooklyn will be playing (although a different sport) at the same spot that the last could have been?
Happy Holidays to everyone.