Before Brett Kay was the Orange County Register’s baseball coach of
the year, he was a professional ballplayer.
And in 2001, he was a key member of a team that brought baseball back to Brooklyn for the first time since the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles.
Kay returned to Brooklyn last weekend to throw out the first pitch at
Saturday’s Brooklyn Cyclones (the New York Mets Class-A affiliate) game.
“It was awesome to be back,” said Kay. “And special to throw out the first pitch.”
Kay was 21 when he joined the Cyclones.
“It was one of the best and most influential summers of my life. I was living in Manhattan on my own,” he said. “It was almost like playing in the major leagues with all the attention we received.”
He recalled opening day, when then-mayor Rudy Giuliani tossed out the first pitch. Spike Lee and Sandy Koufax were among the other legends who have tossed out first pitches at Cyclone games, he said. Now, Kay is on that list.
Kay led the Cylones to the co-championship. The
championship series was shortened by the terrorist attacks of Sept.
“Brett was more than just the team’s catcher,” writes Dave Campanaro, author of
The Brooklyn Baseball Blog, “…. (he and other members of the 2001
squad) gave the team its personality, and became the face of the new
generation of Brooklyn baseball.”
A few highlights from Campanaro’s report:
– Kay was the subject of a book: The Brooklyn Cyclones: Hardball Dreams
and the New Coney Island
– He coined a slogan that the Cyclones still use in marketing
materials: The Best Show on Surf.
– He appeared on MTV’s Total Request Live (before it was known as TRL).
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