Celebrating the 25th anniversary of ‘Seinfeld’ with the Brooklyn Cyclones

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A sold-out crowd filed into Vandelay Industries Park, better known as MCU Park, as the Brooklyn Cyclones paid tribute to the 25th anniversary of the show about nothing: Seinfeld. HBT was on hand to see what it was all about.

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Stepping off of the subway in Coney Island two hours before the game, the Seinfeld anniversary extravaganza was evident almost immediately. As you arrived at the park, The Original Soupman was parked outside to kick off the festivities.

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Once inside Vandelay, Seinfeld Night started off on the wrong foot, literally, as fans did their best to emulate Elaine Benes’ infamous dance moves.

source:  Elaines galore

 

source:  This did not go as planned it seems

The dance contest was followed by a cereal eating contest, an homage to not only Jerry’s unholy amount of cereal, but also Kramer’s cereal mishap.

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Then, the pregame festivitites concluded with a variety of special guests throwing out the first pitch(es).

There were postmen:

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Fans that share the same name as members of the cast:

source:  His name is actually George Costanza

source:  This is an Elaine, though not that Elaine.

Plus, actual actors from the show made cameos:

source:  Rosalind Allen actress who plays George’s crush in the “Marine Biologist” episode

Even the notorious Soup Nazi took the mound:

source:  No soup for you!

And even the real Kramer – Kenny Kramer — showed up for the celebration. Kramer was Larry David’s neighbor for five years while he was living in New York City, and eventually was turned into Seinfeld’s most eccentric character. Kramer explained how he wound up being portrayed on the show, “Larry lived next to me for five years; I didn’t know he was taking notes the whole time.”

source:  I’m not the A**man

While the game began on the field, the Seinfeld theme remained in full affect in the stands, as fans came decked out in their best Seinfeld-related garb.

source:  Puffy shirts, puffy shirts everywhere

source:  I don’t want to be a pirate

source:  Pretty convincing Kramer getup

source:  More postmen

Even during the game, the Seinfeld mantra continued with clips from the show being broadcast on the big board:

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Pictures of the players were Seinfeld themed too:

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The foul pole was even dubbed the “Festivus Pole” for the affair, though in the spirit of the holiday, it was not decorated.

source:  Festivus for the rest of us!

In between innings the salute to Seinfeld continued with a marble rye fishing contest a la George’s misguided attempt at reacquiring a marble rye he believed would go uneaten. A Junior Mint toss followed, paying tribute to the show’s favorite candy, where fans had to catch boxes of the Junior Mints in buckets in order to win.

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Winners of the contests were awarded with the contest’s props and a DVD box set of one of the seasons.

source:  Junior Mint toss winner

source:  Cereal eating contest winner

Just like the show, Seinfeld Night was a smash hit. The game itself was, for lack of a better phrase, much ado about nothing. The Cyclones were completely dismantled on the field — they may as well have fielded a team comprised of the members of the show (just picture George and Newman running the bases) — losing to the Aberdeen Ironbirds 18-2. To make it worse, the Ironbirds came into the game with a whopping three wins on the season.

Seinfeld, a comedy of epic proportions, couldn’t even live up to the comedy of errors seen on the field as the Cyclones tallied five errors through the course of the game. While Seinfeld will live on for another 25 years, dropped pop-ups, botched ground-balls, and wild pitches highlighted a game that the Cyclones hope everyone forgets.

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.

Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:

Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?

There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.

As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.