By Laura Amato
Blake Tiberi was exhausted. He would go as far as to say he was absolutely bone-tired.
There was a good reason for it.
The Brooklyn Cyclones’ third baseman, along with his teammates, played 20 straight games to open the 2016 season, including more than half a dozen extra-inning games. Tiberi was tired. The entire Cyclones roster was tired. But, luckily for the Brooklyn squad—the short-season Class A affiliate of the Mets—the team, finally, got a day off July 7.
It would have been easy for the players to sleep away their day, but the Cyclones opted to put their 24 hours of baseball shore leave to good use.
“I slept in until about noon,” Tiberi said. “Then I came over to the (Coney Island) boardwalk and kicked it for a little bit with some of the guys. I just wanted to relax and try and recover a little bit.”
While Tiberi decided to spend his day off close to his summer home in Brooklyn, several of his teammates from out of town turned their attention to other locations.
A handful of Cyclones players took the subway into Manhattan, braving the nearly hour-long commute on the F train, to check out the sights.
“I tried to see the city where we are. It’s the first time I’ve been able to go out,” pitcher Nabil Crismatt said. “Guys here are always talking about the city and it’s so nice and I wanted to get to see it. It was crazy.”
It was a memorable day for Crismatt, who grew up in Colombia and never expected to find himself in the United States, let alone Midtown.
He and his teammates—Ali Sanchez, Joel Huertas and Hengelbert Rojas—saw everything they could, walking from Times Square to Battery Park. The quartet took in the sights and sounds of the city, wandering from block to block and, they’ll admit, getting a bit lost.
“We had to stop and ask for directions a couple of times,” Crismatt said. “It was all like ‘Take the train and then go to this part and when you get there, go to this street.’ We were definitely lost.”
While Crismatt was seeing the city with fresh eyes, a few other Cyclones seized the opportunity to check out big-name locations for a second or third time.
Catcher Dan Rizzie brought several of his high school friends to the city and the Chicago-area natives relished the opportunity to play tourist for a day.
“It was the first time I’ve been to Ground Zero,” said Rizzie. “I’ve been to a couple of those other places before, but not in the last few years, so it was cool to see it all again.”
The players weren’t the only ones who used the day off to spend time in the city.
Brooklyn manager Tom Gamboa also spent his 24 hours away from MCU Park in Manhattan with his daughter. The pair spent time in Central Park and even took in the Broadway show ‘Waitress.’
It was a much-needed break for the ‘Clones, many of whom have been playing baseball long before the summer began.
“I’ve been playing since the beginning of the college season,” Rizzie said. “It might have even been before that. So it was nice to be able to relax.”
The mini Mets’ next day off is July 20 and while the players are excited about another chance to explore the city, it isn’t always easy to leave baseball, even for a day. After all, this is their life.
“You’re spending a lot of time thinking about baseball and it’s tough, even on your day off not to,” Crismatt said. “I love this game, so sometimes even during the day off you start thinking about baseball and how you can be better.”