Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Off

Labor Day was made a federal holiday in 1894 as part of President Grover Cleveland's reconciliation with the labor movement following his intervention in the deadly Pullman Strike earlier that year.  The September date was intentionally chosen to not coincide with International Workers Day and from its inception Labor Day has generally been more fest than protest.

"Women model clothing on an ILGWU Labor Day parade float on 5th Avenue"
[at East 41st Street, New York City], photographer and date unknown,
courtesy of the Kheel Center for Labor-Management
Documentation & Archives, Cornell University

Owing to the nature of their jobs, many people must work on Labor Day but most workers have the day off.  Included in the latter are the Staten Island Yankees and Brooklyn Cyclones, who may play each other six times in seven days with only Labor Day as an off-day.  The teams, designed to be crosstown rivals, end their seasons playing each other.  Since the Baby Bombers won their division and the Mini-Mets are the wild card, they'll meet again in the New York-Penn League play-offs starting Tuesday Wednesday uhm, now Thursday—Game One was postponed twice due to rain.

The ferry to Staten Island was escorted by three armed Coast Guard boats.

David Bragdon, who we last saw celebrating his birthday at a Cyclones' game, a co-worker of his and I saw the second of these games on Saturday night, on Staten Island.  The visitors gave the Yankees a spanking, 11-4.  Unlike some minor league games where a high run total can be attributed to poor fielding, the defensive play Saturday was crisp, particularly in the infield as was noted several times by David's colleague Jeff.

The Cyclones' win was powered by 14 hits that twice resulted in four-run innings, in the third and the ninth.  In the first instance, the Yankee starter walked two but Brooklyn produced three sharply hit singles and stole a base on its way to the big inning.

Why so reflective?  Cyclones won!

We missed the ninth inning rally, electing to catch the 10:00 ferry (above), which runs hourly after 7:00 pm on Saturdays.  Three of the four runs came on a Brian Harrison home run, capping an outstanding evening for him: three-for-four with a home run, double and a walk; four RBI and three runs scored.  The late runs were icing on the cake since Staten Island was scoreless after Dante Bichette Jr. banged one over the center field wall in the fourth inning.

Bichette—son of the 1995 runner-up for National League MVP and four-time all-star with the Colorado Rockies—was the Yankees' top pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.  Last month he led their Gulf Coast League franchise to a title and could possibly play on two championship teams in his first year of professional baseball.

On Friday night, the first of the potentially six match-ups, two Cyclones pitchers allowed eight hits but struck out 11 and walked none to shut out the Yankees 4-0 in Coney Island.  The Cyclones returned home Sunday for the final game of the season, which they won 7-4.  A four-run (The magic number?) fourth inning put the team up for good and included a single by Danny Muno, who ends the season with a 13-game hitting streak and a league-leading .355 batting average.

Brooklyn played unevenly this year, some times hitting poorly as a team, and trailed the Yankees in the standings all season despite going 6-5 in head-to-head competition.  That won't matter, however, if they can win two out of three after taking Labor Day off.

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