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Fonzie back at Cyclones helm

As they gear up for their “lucky number” seventh season in Coney Island, the Brooklyn Cyclones are bringing along one of the charms from their inaugural season. Officials from the Cyclones camp announced that Edgar “Fonzie” Alfonzo, the team’s first manager, will be barking orders from the dugout in June when the ’07 Cyclones take on their longtime rival, the Staten Island Yankees. “I have amazing memories of my time in Brooklyn, and I can’t wait to get back there for another season,” said Alfonzo, who’s spent the past three seasons as the New York Mets’ Minor League Infield Coordinator, working with the organization’s prospects at every level of the organization. “Being a part of that first year was something very special. Having a team in Brooklyn again meant a lot to the community, and it meant a lot to the players and coaches, too,” he said. Under Alfonzo’s tutelage, the Cyclones’ first season was a victorious one. After capping off a 55-25 record, Alfonzo’s Cyclones were favored in the 2001 McNamara Championships. But after beating the Williamsport Crosscutters in the first game, the championship series was tragically cut short as the city reeled from the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Cyclones and the Crosscutters were ultimately named “co-champions.” Alfonzo was named Baseball America’s 2001 Short-Season Manager of the Year. Although they’ve been in three other playoffs – most recently in a wild card slot in the 2006 season — the Cyclones never grabbed hold of that brass ring again. That could change with Alfonzo at the helm, said Cyclones General Manager Steve Cohen. “We are extremely excited to have Fonzie back in Brooklyn,” said Cohen. “He is a proven winner and leader, who has shown a knack for success in the unique environment of KeySpan Park.” When asked what he remembered most about his time with the 2001 Cyclones, Alfonzo didn’t hesitate in responding. “The fans,” he said. “They’re different from anywhere else. They gave us support, and they gave us energy. They really helped that team, and I know they’ll do the same thing this year.” Alfonzo played for 12 years in the minor leagues with the Anaheim Angels and Baltimore Orioles organizations and also played in the Mexican and Taiwan leagues. His best season came in 1994 for Bowie (AA) of the Eastern League when he hit .309 with 35 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 73 RBI and 13 stolen bases. Alfonzo, 39, also has family ties throughout the organization. His younger brother, Edgardo, was an All-Star infielder for the Mets who played at Shea from 1995-2002. Another younger brother, Robert, is an international scout for the Mets. Alfonzo’s oldest son, also named Edgar, is a Mets’ minor leaguer who spent parts of 2004 and 2005 pitching for the Cyclones. Helping Alfonzo mold the 2007 Cyclones will be pitching coach Hector Berrios, coach Guadalupe Jabalera and trainer Matt Hunter. The team’s hitting coach has yet to be announced. The team’s first game of 2007 will be at KeySpan Park on June 19.

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