MCU Field (courtesy of Brooklyn Cyclones)

The Brooklyn Eagle reports a few changes over at MCU Park where the Brooklyn Cyclones play. First, they have a "brand-new, state-of-the-art playing surface after the salt, chemicals and other pollutants caused by the ocean water left the previously lush green grass surface contaminated and unplayable."

In addition, for six games, $3 from each each ticket will go to help a local charity helping to recover from Sandy. The Schedule:

Monday, July 1 – Coney Island Night to benefit ConeyRecovers.org.
Monday, July 8 – Gerritsen Beach / Sheepshead Bay Night to benefit Gerritsen Cares.
Monday, July 22 – Nassau County Night to benefit the Nassau Hurricane Recovery Fund.
Monday, July 29 – Red Hook Night to benefit the Red Hook Initiative.
Monday, Aug. 19 – Staten Island Night to benefit The Stephen Siller Foundation.
Monday, Aug. 26 – Breezy Point / Rockaway Night to benefit The Graybeards.

 

Sandy Koufax during his basketball days.

 

 

 

 

With all the Brooklyn Dodgers nostalgia, it’s tempting to think that basketball only recently became The Brooklyn Game.  I was struck then reading the wonderful Jane Leavy biography of Dodger icon/hero Sandy Koufax by this:

When he was growing up, baseball was neither Koufax’s dream nor his passion. His dream was to play for the New York Knicks…

Koufax didn’t play much basketball…until his family returned to Brooklyn, where every open space was a court, or a half court, and every fire escape ladder was a potential basket.  Others practiced shooting; Koufax practice the anonymous, contentious skill of rebounding….

He scoured the borough in search of The Big Game, which invariably took place at Brighton Beach, where playground legends, college stars, and pros gathered to hone their games, and the game basketball could become. Back then, no one knew from vertical leap.  Vertical was for skyscrapers.  But Koufax had wattage in his legs, hands large enough to palm the ball, and he didn’t shy away from contact. On the playground, players asked: You sure this boy is white? “He was just a skinny Jewish kid in a bandanna who challenged our small little prejudices,” [Jerry] Della Femina said.

Soon his name began to appear in the fine print of the Brooklyn Eagle sports pages, usually misspelled. Caufax. Kaufox. Kofax, Kauflex, Kouflex. “He was an incredibly smooth basketball player,” said Alan Dershowitz, another neighborhood kid who made good—as a legal authority and auth or I, Dershowitz Fame. “He would fake a jumper, drive the baseline, come under the boards and reverse the dunk. We weren’t used to that.”

His friends remember a dramatic moment in 1953, In an exhibition game with the Knicks, Koufax impressed the pros with his dunks and ended up playing basketball and baseball at the University of Cincinnati, where he was discovered by the Dodgers.

 

Barclays Center released information regarding a "major announcement" at 1 P.M. today, and it appears that announcement is that the New York Islanders, who currently play on Long Island, will join the Nets in Brooklyn and play their home games in Barclays Center in 2015.

From the NY Post:

Developer Bruce Ratner has scored a major goal by landing the Islanders ice hockey team for his Barclay's arena in downtown Brooklyn, sources said.

The announcement was expected at a press conference this afternoon with Ratner, Mayor Bloomberg, Islanders owner Charles Wang, National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

Also: the NHL is currently locked out.