Brooklyn Cyclones Tab Carl Stajduhar with Player of the Week Honors

By Jerry Del Priore


Carl Stajduhar with the Brooklyn Cyclones.

The Brooklyn Cyclones haven’t been hitting much this season, resulting in a 11-22 record through 33 games. But one player, infielder Carl Stajduhar had a very good offensive week earlier in July, slugging .333 (9-27), including going yard twice, ringing up two doubles and driving in five runs.

As result, the Cyclones named him as their player of the week, the team announced on Twitter.

Stajduhar, the New York Mets’ 18th round selection in the 2017 June MLB amateur draft, is currently batting .209 with a .395 slugging percentage through 43 at-bats in 13 games.

The six-foot-two-inch, 215-pounder played ball at the University of New Mexico, where he amassed a .344 average with 44 home runs and 188 RBI in 727 at-bats in 179 contests in three seasons before entering this year’s draft.

The Mets inked Stajduhar on June 19th and shipped him to Brooklyn on the 24th to start his professional baseball career.


Five Borough Wrestling Holds United We Stand in Brooklyn

By Jerry Del Priore


Stand back, it’s Hurricane storming throwing. Well, more like former Cruiserweight Camp Hurricane Gregory Helms during Five Borough Wrestling’s show Thursday night in Brooklyn.

On Thursday, 5 Borough Wrestling held its United We Stand card at the American Legion Hall in Old Mill Basin, Brooklyn, featuring some of the top local indie wrestlers as well as a veteran former WWE fan favorite, Hurricane Gregory Shane Helms.

Here’s how the high-octane action went down in Kings County:

General Manager Chris Beckett pulled the curtain on the show as he introduced his new assistant Ariela Nyx. He also stripped Mike Verna and David Starr of the Tier 1 W (T1W) Tag Team Titles because of lack of a title defense.

During his opening comments, things got worse as Darius Carter—the No. 1 contender for Verna’s FBW Heavyweight Title—interrupted Beckett.

After a bush league shot from behind from Carter’s reputed henchman, Anthony Gangone, on the Man of Steel, Beckett called for a tag match later that night between Carter and Gangone and Verna and partner of his choice.

Logan Black and Bam Sullivan, with Victoria Von Black Vs. Stockade and Matt Tremont for the open Tier 1 Tag Team belts.

The King of Chaos Logan Black teamed with his trusty bother in arms, Bam Sullivan, to take on Stockade and Matt Tremont for the vacant Tier 1 World Tag Team straps.

Von Black performed an impressive Hurricanrana on Cyrus during the match. But after outside inference from him, Stockade and Tremont came out victorious and the new T1W Tag Team Champs.

Matt Macintosh Vs. Talon.

In another highly competitive encounter, Macintosh defeated Talon due to outside interference from Danny DeManto. Talon vowed to seek vengeance on DeManto.

Chris Payne Vs. The Pro Wrestling Manic Joe Gacy in a Wild Card Championship Qualifying bout.

Payne pinned the crazed grappler to qualify him for the Wild Card Title.

Denny Gavin Vs. Orion Dove.

Newcomer Gavin outlasted Dove, but the collective group of MJF, Bear Bronson and AJ Spectre (Force) made him pay for it by mercilessly beating down the youngster.

Fortunately for Gavin, Hurricane and The Elements intervened and saved him from the clutches of Force.

Tag Team match between Darius Carter and Anthony Gangone and Mega Muscle – Mike Verna and the Big O (Adam David Ohriner).  

Carter and Gangone both pinned the Big O after a physical, hard-fought contest by both teams.

Hurricane and the Elements (Pyro and Glacier) took on Force in a trios main event match.

Hurricane and The Elements eroded Force with a stellar wrestling performance that worked the crowd into a frenzy as the three embarrassed their opponents ridiculous fashion time and time again.





Grunt Fitness Style Set to Transform the Fitness App Scene

By Jerry Del Priore

GF11-BETA-WorkOutWRKOUTHaving a qualified personal trainer at your disposal isn’t always possible, nor affordable, for that matter. But then there’s the next best thing: Grunt Fit, brought to you by the people at Grunt Fitness Style, and produced by Softweb Solutions.

Grunt Fit, which will begin beta testing on Tuesday, August 1st and will go live later in the month, is a fitness app that will bring the personal trainer to palm of your hand.

Moreover, Grunt Fit, free and available for iOS and Android platforms, goes beyond planning a basic workout. It helps you tailor your meals to meet your specific nutritional needs, with recipes, prep instructions and nutritional information.

Plus, it helps you adjust your workouts according to your soreness and injuries, removing excuses from most exercise programs.

Those factors alone separate Grunt Fit from the rest of the fitness apps pack.

However, those features aren’t the only ways Grunt Fit differs from other fitness apps on the market. GF8-BETA-FoodEATING

“Consider us as being the Drill Sergeant in your pocket,” explained Tiffany Allen-Hampton, President of Grunt Fit. “We basically tell you what to do. If you want to be successful in reaching your fitness goals, let us help. Whether you want to lose weight, maintain it or build muscle, we can show you exactly what you need to do to reach those goals.

In addition, you can invite friends to download the app and create friendly competitions, adding a bonus motivational factor to your fitness regimen.

While there isn’t a cost right now, upgrades (such as working with other devices) will be available to the user as more complex elements are introduced, which may carry a slight fee, as the app progresses, according to the company.

But please don’t forget to check with a licensed health care professional (e.g. Physician, Nurse Practitioner, or Physician Assistant) before starting any type of exercise program, especially if you have special medical needs.

To learn more about Grunt Fit, log onto


Promising Brooklyn Pro Wrestler Chris Velletri Stumbles onto Wrestling Career


Chris Velletri, A.K.A, Talon, at a FBW show in Old Mill Basin, Brooklyn.

Chris Velletri, who wrestles under the moniker of Talon, a wrestling lone wolf savior, didn’t venture into professional wrestling with the typical lifelong dream story.

He was helping out a few wrestling friends at a New Jersey independent show in his twenties by conducting commentary and ring announcing. After the card, Velletri, a longtime wrestling fan, bounced around the ring and felt he was athletic enough to give it a shot.

Not too long thereafter, I passion was ignited. He said he started his sports entertainment training at ACE in New Jersey and later with industry respected trainer Joel Maximo in Brooklyn. After his first match, Velletri said he was hooked.

“I didn’t think I was going to be a wrestler when I was younger,” Velletri, 31, said. “When I was younger I didn’t think people could become wrestlers. I didn’t even know that was a thing. I just thought they were superheroes.

“I spent more time thinking about myself in (Yankee) pinstripes than in trunks,” he continued. “Once I had my first match in 2010, that was it. It was full speed ahead, all systems go. I haven’t looked back since then.”

Over the seven years in the business, Velletri’s Talon wrestling character—which he said is inspired by the two vigilante Catholic brothers, Conner and Murphy MacManus, in the movie Boondock Saints—has developed a loyal following.

“Those two brothers in the movie are vigilantes that take care of the criminals that the cops won’t take care of,” the Manhattan College graduate explained. “To me, in wrestling, a lot of people get away with some stuff. Bad guys do some bad stuff. I’m going to do some bad things, too, but to the bad guys.”  

Velletri, a certified and head personal trainer at Harbor Fitness Center in Marine Park, said the long, black coat-wearing, unlit-cigarette-dangling-from-the-mouth Talon is somewhat of a likeness of himself in the way he goes about his everyday business.

“My persona, the look of it and mannerisms of it, I think, do kind of reflect myself in that I keep to myself, I do my own thing. I do what has to be done, and I go home,” the affable Velletri said. “I’m friendly, I’m sociable. I like to go out and have a good time with my friends. But when I’m at work, when I’m focused on something, I kind of keep to myself.”

Moreover, Velletri, who has wrestled for promotions such as Five Borough Wrestling (FBW), Warriors of Wrestling (WOW) and New York Wrestling Connection (NYWC), is wholeheartedly dedicated to the rough-and-tumble pro wrestling craft, and unequivocally believes in his in-ring abilities.

“I’m not trying to live out some kind of fantasy. I’m doing this because I think I’m good at it, and I think I can make a living doing it,” the Bay Ridge resident said. “And if giving the opportunity, I like to certainly prove that. But If I didn’t think I had a chance to be something in the business, I wouldn’t still put my body at risk to still do it. I do this with the confidence I can do it at the highest level.”

Happenstance or not, Velletri is determine to reach the top of the wrestling chain.

Follow Velletri at

Elizabeth Sage Set to Rock the Stage at the Summer Breakout Event in Williamsburg

By Jerry Del Priore

Summer BOUp-and-coming indie pop singer/song writer Elizabeth Sage, a Brooklyn native, will be performing at the Summer Breakout at the Hall at MP (400 Driggs Avenue) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Sunday, July 30th.

The show starts at 5:00 p.m. and runs until 11:00 p.m. or so. Tickets for the performance are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

Sage, accompanied by various bandmates, will be playing her own music, mixed in with a few surefire, classic covers.

Other acts include Wooden Ships, Black Bishop, Typhon Rising, Point/Forty Five and Rico and the Rebels.

To purchase tickets, log onto or contact Sage on Facebook @

E. Sage

Elizabeth Sage, standing right with guitar.

Fireflies’ Harol Gonzalez Earns Team-Best Sixth Win

By Jerry Del Priore

Harol G.

Pitcher Harol Gonzalez picks up sixth win.

Righty Harol Gonzalez (6-7, 4.17 ERA) pitched a gem Monday night versus the Kannapolis Intimidators, whiffing a season-high nine hitters en route to a Columbia Fireflies’ 2-1 victory at Spirit Communications Park.

It was Gonzalez’s team-leading sixth win of the season after logging eight innings of one-run ball while only permitting five hits.

Fireflies’ closer Adonis Uceta picked up his 11th save of the season (second in the South Atlantic League) with a scoreless ninth inning.

Monday night’s performance was the ninth consecutive start in which Gonzalez lasted six frames or longer.

Minor League Transactions:

Columbia placed right-handed pitcher Thomas Mcllraith on its disabled list, while St Lucie activated righty pitcher Chase Ingram and transferred him to the Fireflies Monday.

Plus, Columbia positioned outfielder Gene Cone on its DL, and lefty hurler Placido Torres made the jump from the Gulf Coast Mets (rookie) to the Fireflies Monday.

Don’t Look Now: St. Lucie outfielder and former NFL signal caller Tim Tebow is off to a hot start since the Mets called him up to Advanced-A ball last month. Tebow is batting .308 with three home runs (including a wall-off), 12 RBI, three doubles, a triple and seven walks in 65 at-bats in 20 games.

Tebow is hitting .240 with six dingers, 35 RBI, 31 bases-on-balls and 17 two-base knocks in 279 at-bats in 84 tilts for the 2017 season.


New York Mets’ Prospect Peter Alonso Getting Back on Track

By Jerry Del Priore


Peter Alonso,  New Mets’ second round pick in the 2016 draft. Photo: Brooklyn Cyclones.

After missing the first six weeks of the 2017 season with an injury, St. Lucie Mets first baseman Peter Alonso is now hitting .255 with seven home runs, 29 RBI and 11 doubles in 165 at-bats in 45 games.

The one glaring aspect of his game that seems to plague him, however, other than injuries, is Alonso’s high strike out-to-walk total, which is 40 to 12 this year.
Moreover, baseball insiders believe Alonso, 22, needs to raise his batting average in order to project as an everyday big league first baseman.

It’s something the six-foot-three, 225-pound slugger did last year with the short-season Single-A Brooklyn Cyclones. Alonso batted .321 with five dingers and 21 RBI in 109 at-bats in 30 tilts before a broken right pinky finger ended his first pro baseball season.
Therefore, Alonso, the former 2nd round pick (64th overall) of the New York Mets in the 2016 draft, has shown he can do it.

However, he’ll need to continue to hit for average (raise his current average as well) as he advances through the Mets’ minor league system, while staying healthy, of course.
Alonso is known for solid work ethic and selfness. The Tampa, Florida, native rushed to return early from an injury, just days before the MLB amateur draft, potentially hurting his stock.

Instead of backfiring on him, though, Alonso led the University of Florida to the 2016 NCAA College World Series with an awe-inspiring 16 for 32 performance (.500), with five long balls and 13 RBI, after his stint on the disabled list.

Alonso amassed a .316 average in with 23 round trippers and 124 RBI in 551 at-bats in 157 affairs in three seasons with the Gators.

Alonso played college ball with A.J. Puk, a pitcher in the Oakland A’s farm system, at the University of Florida, and attended Plant and Jesuit High Schools in Florida.



Former Brooklyn Cyclones, Current Fireflies Shine in SAL

D Riz

Catcher Dan Rizzie.

By Jerry Del Priore  

Columbia Fireflies catcher Dan Rizzie (New York Mets’ 13 round pick in 2016) extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the eighth inning of their 4-1 loss to the Greensboro Grasshoppers Thursday night at Spirit Communications Park.

This is the longest hit streak of Rizzle’s young professional career.

Andres Gimenez also contributed with two singles, picking up his 17th multi-hit game of the season.

South Atlantic League (SAL) leaders

Pitcher Gabriel Llanes has tossed 100.00 innings, the third most in the league.

Gene Cone, who the Fireflies recently activated from the disabled list, has walked 42 times this season, third highest in the SAL.

Pitcher Matt Blackman leads the league in K:9 IP with 13. He has a total 50 whiffs in 34.2 innings of work.

Closer Adonis Uceta ranks fourth in the league with ten saves.



Danny Muno Makes Case for MLB Return

By Jerry Del Priore

Danny Muno

Danny Muno, pictured during his days with the Brooklyn Cyclones, is performing well with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.

After the Seattle Mariners inked infielder Danny Muno to a minor league contract in May, he has been taking full advantage of the opportunity. The Fresno State University product is hitting a solid .304 with four home runs, 16 RBI, 22 walks and 22 runs scored in 135 at-bats in 42 games with the Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League (PCL).

Muno, a former Brooklyn Cyclone and New York Met, began the 2017 baseball season with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic League. The 28-year-old Long Beach, California, native batted .254 while slugging one dinger, driving in four runs, scoring nine runs, and stealing four bases in 59 at-bats in 18 games before signing with Seattle.

Muno had spent Spring Training with the Detroit Tigers, but was cut before the campaign started.

The six-foot-one-inch, 195-pound switch hitter made his MLB with the Mets on April 17, 2015. He went on to hit .148 in 27 at-bats in 17 tilts.

After New York selected him in the eighth round of the 2011 MLB amateur draft, the Mets shipped Muno to short-season Single-A Brooklyn to begin his professional career. He wound up slugging to the tune of an impressive .355 with two homers and 24 RBI along with a remarkable .466 on-base percentage and 22 doubles in 220 at-bats in 59 games with the Cyclones.

Muno’s stellar season earned him a spot on the New York-Penn League (NYPL) All-Star team, and New York named him as the Sterling Award winner for Brooklyn, symbolic of the team’s MVP.

While in college, the Western Athletic Conference named Muno as the Freshman of the Year after helping Fresno State win the College World Series Championship in 2008.

Additionally, he garnered first team All-WAC honors in 2009 and left Fresno State ranked first in school history in games played (259), runs scored (251) and walks (213). Muno also ranked second in hits (332) and doubles (69) and eighth in RBIs (156).

Of note, Muno received a 50-game suspension in 2012 after testing positive for a metabolite of Drostanolone, an anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS).



The Stretch Joint Provides Flexibility, Relief in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

By Jerry Del Priore

The Stretch Joint

The Stretch Joint.

One of the most ignored segments of a fitness routine is flexibility. Even when incorporated into an exercise program, there’s a limit to how far someone can stretch themselves, noted James Leonard, a longtime fitness professional and manager and stretch practitioner at The Stretch Joint in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

That’s where Leonard’s flexibility facility and staff come into play, providing pain relief and increasing range of motion for Brooklynites and countless others for the past 11 months.

The flexibility method employed at the Stretch Joint is called Active Isolated Stretching (AIS)—a type of athletic stretching technique, developed by Aaron Mattes (M.S.), that provides effective, dynamic, assisted stretching of major muscle groups. More importantly, it delivers functional and physiological restoration of superficial and deep fascial planes, according to

The key to AIS is that stretches are held no longer than four-five seconds at a time, with each repetition moving a little further, Leonard pointed out. This prevents localized muscle fatigue and lactic acid buildup, plus decreases potential injury.

AIS is better suited for pre-workout or competition performance, Leonard said.

“Whenever somebody comes in, the first thing we do is to find out what’s going on with them,” Leonard, 52, explained. “Then, we teach people the proper way to stretch.”

The Stretch Joint treats clients from all walks of life, including athletes and people with various physical conditions and maladies.

“What we get in here are athletes trying to increase range of motion, and people with injuries and diseases, Leonard said.”

Among some of the injuries and diseases he mentioned were piriformis syndrome (a neuromuscular disorder related to the sciatic nerve), bulging and herniated disks, frozen shoulder syndrome, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) and muscular dystrophy (MD).

“We relieve the symptoms thereof. It doesn’t cure it. It relieves symptoms that they’re suffering from, because those are autonomic nervous system diseases, which attack the nervous system,” he said of Parkinson’s, MS and MD. “The muscles are controlled by nervous system, so they get some relief.”

In addition, several clients are benefiting from The Stretch Joint’s flexibility therapy.

“A friend of mine, who knows my chronic neck pain issues, referred me to see James (or Magic Jim as he is often called) at the Stretch Joint,” said Jeanmarie Tari-Blake, a highly skilled Nurse Practitioner from Staten Island. “I have had neck pain for over 20 years and recently developed numbness and tingling down my arm. I have had multiple epidural steroid injections in my neck as well as facet joint injections and radiofrequency ablations (a pain management procedure) over the years, which were ineffective. I have also done physical therapy, chiropractic treatment and acupuncture, with limited relief of my symptoms.


The Stretch Joint’s James Leonard works on a client.

“I went for a free session in April 2017,” she continued. “I then met with James, who is a true professional. I have now been going twice per week. He was very honest with me and made me aware from the first visit that, given the chronicity of my symptoms, this will be a long process. But he would get me better. I’m happy to say that I get improvement with each session. I’m very optimistic about the future now.”

Plus, Leonard said that increased flexibly also improves blood circulation, as taught and tight muscles limit blood flow. He said proper stretching over time leads to muscular healing and improved sleep patterns because of better overall body relaxation.

“When we stretch you, you release endorphins within your body, so it relaxes you,” Leonard expounded. “So, later on that night, you sleep better. I’ve had people I’ve stretched, come back and say, ‘That’s the best night’s sleep I had in years.”’

To book a free half-hour appointment at The Stretch Joint, call 347-578-7108 and/or visit