Starting the season with Hagerstown and
not getting the opportunity to start as often as he would have liked, Eric Brown was sent to the Cyclones on July 12 in hopes
that he would turn his struggling season around.
Going 5-1 with 1.51 ERA in six starts since
joining the team in mid-July, Brown has quickly become the ace of the Cyclones staff and was named to the 2006 NY-Penn League
All-Star team, despite pitching in fewer games than all of the other starting pitchers selected.
“It was a pretty big honor,”
said Brown regarding being an All-Star. “I started off the year on a bad note at Hagerstown and I came here and started playing well.”
It’s not that Brown was pitching
horribly in Hagerstown; there just wasn’t room for the six foot six, Hamlet,
North Carolina native in the rotation. Owning a 3-2 record with a 5.29 ERA in
six starts and 14 appearances out of the bullpen, Brown wasn’t being utilized the way he would have liked and it definitely
showed in his performance on the mound.
Coming back to the Cyclones after making
16 appearances out of the bullpen with a 3.92 ERA last year, Brown instantly felt a huge comradery between him and the other
starters on the team, something he feels has been extremely beneficial for him this season.
“We just feed off of each other,”
said Brown, who has also exhibited amazing control on the mound this season, walking only three batters in 41.2 innings. “Every
one of us is pitching great, so you can’t call any one of us an ace.”
Despite how well the other Cyclones starters
have fared this season, Brown has been one step above them since his first start and has gotten better after every game he’s
pitched in. Using his trademark two-seam fastball to dominate opposing hitters, Brown feels pretty comfortable using it whenever
he’s in a jam.
“I go to it whenever I need it, said
Brown, who has limited opposing hitters this year to only 33 hits. “Like a ground ball or a big double play.”
Cyclones manager George Greer feels that
Brown is a huge reason why the Cyclones have been the hottest team in the NY-Penn-League over the past month.
“Eric has been given the opportunity
to come here and start and he has certainly performed to everyone’s expectations,” said Greer. “He is really
helping himself along in his development in the organization.”
When it’s all said and done, the
reason why Brown wasn’t playing up to his potential at Hagerstown probably
had more to do with the atmosphere there, rather than his ability. Playing in small towns and Minor League parks with limited
attendance his whole career, Brown just needed a big time venue to show people just how talented he really is. Known for producing
a big game aura and huge attendance that many minor leaguers never see, Keyspan
Park has been the change of scenery that Brown needed in order to be successful.
Regardless of what the real reasons were
however, Brown is happy to be in Brooklyn again and the Cyclones are more than happy to have him.
“I played in a small college with
maybe 50 fans at every game,” said Brown. “We get more people in attendance [at Keyspan
Park] then live in my town. It’s definitely different.”