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NEW YORK CITY-The Cyclone at Brooklyn’s Coney Island has, since 1927, amazed thrill seekers with 3,000 feet of track and speeds of 60 mph. The famous ride is now the namesake, thanks to baseball fan John Diffley of Port Jefferson, Long Island, of the city’s latest minor league team, the Brooklyn Cyclones. Ground has already broken on its permanent home. This is the third team unveiled in the city, and the second with a stadium on the way.

Across the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan residents are up in arms over proposals by the mayor and Olympic lobbying team NYC2012 for a big league sports stadium on West Side. The outer boroughs, however, are celebrating the progress on their minor league baseball stadiums. The city says the teams are already generating revenue and with permanent homes, the potential is even greater.

Mayor Giuliani joined Jeffrey and Fred Wilpon, owners of the Mets, in congratulating Diffley on beating 7,000 other fans in a team naming contest. This will be the first professional baseball team in Brooklyn since the Brooklyn Dodgers defected to Los Angeles 43 years ago. The Cyclones will be a Class A team in the New York-Pennsylvania Professional Baseball League.

The stadium’s completion is expected in time for the start of the 2001 season. It’s located at the former Steeplechase Park in Coney Island at Surf Avenue and Reigelmann Boardwalk between West 16th and 19th Streets. The stadium will seat 6,500 and totals 869,452 sf. The city estimates approximately 700 jobs will be created as 38 home games are played. An additional 240 jobs are expected by staging 35 other events per year.

In early June 2000, Staten Island Borough President Guy V. Molinari, Mayor Giuliani, New York City Economic Development President Michael G. Carey and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Finance Robert M. Harding all joined Staten Island Yankees owners Stanley and Josh Getzler at the ground-breaking of their stadium. The Staten Island Yankees just completed their second season this fall, clinching their first New York-Penn-League Championship, but they don’t have their own stadium. They will, by June 2001, be housed in the St. George area.

The Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George will seat 6,500 people, and is part of a plan to rehabilitate the North Shore. The $81-million plan includes renovation of the St. George Ferry Terminal, the construction of the National Lighthouse Museum and the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences. There will also be an esplanade, landscaped waterfront plazas, new pedestrian and bike paths, new roads and commuter parking lots, as well as other transportation infrastructure improvements. The stadium is expected to create 200 jobs, generate $16.1 million with $2.5 million going to the city.

While awaiting a permanent home, they have been playing at the College of Staten Island. This past June another minor league baseball team joined the city, and it also plays on a college campus. The Queens Kings, owned by the Wilpon brothers, play at St. John’s University’s Queens Campus. Even without a stadium, at the time of its season opening, the EDC predicted it would generate almost $4 million and more than $300,00 in tax revenue for the city.

With the high of the subway series still in the minds of New Yorkers, the interest in baseball is pretty solid. The question will be whether the city’s sports fans can sustain enough interest to support two major league teams and three minor league teams. It’s a lot of baseball on the plates of city residents, but City Hall and the EDC say it’s all a win.

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