Cyclones Comings & Goings

All season long, outfielder Alhaji Turay has flashed the form that may one day result in his promotion to the big leagues. Unfortunately for him, part of that package was a puzzling penchant for surly behavior towards fans, the media, ands even his own teammates. After an undisclosed incident on the road in Aberdeen last week, Turay has been suspended for the season, and will not accompany the team for the rest of the year.

"The organization has sent him home," Cyclones manager Howard Johnson said. "He has some problems he needs to work on, some things he needs to figure out. We wish him the best, and we hope he's back here next year."

Though it had appeared that Turay had started to improve his attitude towards the fans, signing autographs, etc., the organization obviously had lost patience with his behavior in the clubhouse.

"Playing here, if you're doing something wrong, it gets magnified," Johnson said. "I think maybe that's what happened to him. He's young, and hasn't quite learned how to handle himself."

For all the speculation over the past few weeks that the Cyclones were putting more emphasis on winning than player development, sending a guy packing that was hitting a team-best .327 certainly disproves that theory.

"No one likes to get sent home, much less a guy having (such a good year)," Hojo said. "Certainly it doesn't help our team…but at the same time, it sends a positive message. We'll be fine."

One of the reasons the team should continue its solid season is the ongoing impressive professional debut for the Cyclones' Blake Whealy.

"Ace" in the Hole


A first-year pro, the Mets drafted the kid from Chicago in the 13th round out of the University of Evansville in June's amateur draft. He's been on such a consistent roll, even his mom calls him "Ace".

The nickname comes from Evansville's sports teams, "the Purple Aces", and Cyclones' play-by-play man Warner Fusselle, who's been calling Whealy "Ace" since opening day.

"It seems like everyone from Evansville should be called "Ace", said Whealy. "But now (because of Warner) my mom even calls me "Ace" all the time now."

The nickname fits, as the infielder is hitting .323 (53-for-164) good enough for fifth in the New York Penn League, and leads the team in home runs with 10 (tied for second overall in the NYPL) and 33 RBIs.

Part of his success has come from his own ability, but much of his popularity comes from the aggressive way he plays the game, and his treatment of the fans.

Unlike his former roommate, the aforementioned Turay, "Ace" understands the importance of fan goodwill.

"There is a special relationship between the fans of Brooklyn and its players," says Whealy. "They're not going to keep coming out to see us, if we don't do the right thing by them. I'm one of the last guys in the locker room every night, and there still about 20 kids out there screaming for autographs and stiff. If a little ink on a piece of paper is going to make them happy it's the least thing I can do."

Welcome to Brooklyn, Guys.


The usual spate of injuries and an unforeseen suspension has worked out nicely for a pair of players from the Mets' Kingsport Affiliate in the Appalachian League (a rung below Brooklyn).

Right-handed pitcher Bryan King and outfielder Derran Watts joined the Cyclones last week, both hoping to make an impact with the KeySpan faithful.

"I'm excited," King told the Kingsport News-Times. "It'll be different to play in front of 8,000 people as opposed to the 200 or so we get here."

Both have had solid seasons for the K-Mets, King is 0-2 with a 3.23 ERA out of the pen with 34 strikeouts in 30 2-3 innings, while Watts brings a .257 average, two home runs and 20 RBIs to Brooklyn.

Former K-Mets teammates Tanner Osberg and Domingo Acosta, promoted earlier this season, are still with Brooklyn.

Cyclone Notes


As part of the team's 40th anniversary (and quite forgettable) season, the New York Mets announced their All-Time team this season, of which Johnson was voted by the fans as the Mets All-Time third sacker. "It's a great honor, and I'm really happy the fans picked me," said Johnson. "I was fortunate to play nine years, had some really good years, and it's nice that people remember." … SS Corey Ragsdale's 25 stolen bases are second in the NYPL, three off the pace. … Brooklyn's offense (.262) is now fourth in the league, while the pitching staff is fifth overall with a 3.34 ERA. … RHP Kevin Deaton's 70 strikeouts are second-best in the league, two behind the leader.

Reprinted with permission of Brooklyn Skyline. This article was published on 8/19/02.



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