Cyclones Drop 20-Inning Marathon Home Opener To Staten Island


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Brooklyn Cyclones’ first baseman Darryl Knight awaits pitch during home opener Friday night at MCU Park.

Brooklyn Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa said his team led the New York-Penn League in extra inning tilts last season. So it was only fitting that the game went into extra innings as it reached the end of nine frames.

Unbeknownst to Gamboa at the time that the affair would take 20 innings, five hours and 39 minutes to complete, with the Cyclones falling, 3-2, to the Staten Island Yankees in their home opener Friday night at MCU Park in Coney Island.

“I was telling Sean (Ratliff, hitting coach), as soon it got to the end of nine, I said, ‘I think we led this league in extra-inning games last year, and wouldn’t you know that we’re going to start right off with this one (with extra innings),’” said Gamboa, who is in his third year at the helm with the Cyclones. “I have been doing this for 40 something years. This is the third longest game I ever played.”

Things began well for the Cyclones, as centerfielder Enmanuel Zabala lead off in the bottom of the first inning with a solo homer to take a 1-0 lead.

Staten Island retaliated within two runs in the top of the fourth thanks to third baseman Mandy Alvarez’s RBI double and a sacrifice fly from left fielderKendall Coleman that made it 2-1 in favor of the “Baby Bombers.”

Brooklyn would not lay dormant for long, as catcher Brandon Brosher laced a one-out double to place himself in scoring position. First baseman Darryl Knight followed with a triple into the left-centerfield gap that tied the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth.

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Brooklyn Cyclones’ first baseman Darryl Knight awaits pitch during home opener Friday night at MCU Park.

However, that was all the scoring for both teams for quite a while, until Dionis Paulino, a third baseman, came in to pitch in the top of the 20th and quickly surrendered three straight walks to juice the bases for the Yankees.

Centerfielder Ricardo Ferreira wouldn’t allow the scoring opportunity to fall by the wayside, as he hit a sacrifice fly that gave the Yankees the eventual 3-2 win.

 The Cyclones pitchers set a club record with 22 strikeouts in the affair. Brooklyn batters struck out 19 times. The Cyclones used two position players to pitch and went 14 consecutive innings without scoring a run in the loss. Brooklyn is now 12-4 all-time in home openers.

The next game didn’t bode well for the Cyclones (0-2) as well, as Staten Island (2-0) no-hit Brooklyn in a 2-1, 10-inning affair in the Yankees’ home opener Saturday night at Richmond County Ballpark.

Brooklyn is currently 4-6 through its first 10 games.

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Gerritsen Beach Native Is A Cut Above The Rest In Anti-Cancer Fundraising Effort


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(L-R) Dan Foster, Dr. Jay Weissbluth and Elliot Magid at the Help Knockout Colon Cancer event outside the Marine Park Barber Shop last Sunday.

On Sunday, Dan Foster, with the help of Elliot Magid, owner of Marine Park Barber Shop, and Dr. Jay Weissbluth, a local gastroenterologist, held the second annual Help Knockout Colon Cancer event at the Marine Park Barber Shop, located at 3010 Avenue U. All of the proceeds from the day’s haircuts went to the Colon Cancer Alliance Blue Hope Financial Assistance Program.

For Foster, a lifelong Gerritsen Beach resident, colorectal cancer is personal. In 1996, at the age of 46, his  doctor diagnosed him with Stage I rectal cancer after experiencing severe stomach cramps, which the doctor thought might be kidney stones.

Unfortunately for Foster, it wasn’t. After enduring bouts of radiation treatment and surgery, in which 19 lymph nodes were removed, the doctors gave him a clean bill of health.

Much to Foster’s dismay, however, in 1999, at the age of 49, the cancer returned and metastasized to both of his lungs in the form of Stage IV cancer.

The doctors performed surgery on one lung in September and the other in October, proceeded by eight months of grueling chemotherapy. But Foster, a 20-year cancer survivor, kept a gleeful, positive attitude throughout the ordeal.

“I never really thought much about it coming back,” the 66-year-old retired gas company worker said. “When it came back, I thought, ‘I fought it before, and I’m just going to fight it again.’”

Magid, who was kind enough to open his shop on a Sunday and donate the day’s proceeds, has been friends with Foster for 25 years. Magid has always been impressed with his buddy’s positive outlook, especially during his past trying times.

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 Elliot Magid, the owner of Marine Park Barber Shop, gives longtime friend and customer, Dan Foster, a fresh, new haircut. 

“He was upbeat, actually, because I saw him during those times,” Magid said of Foster’s gleeful outlook during his cancer episodes. “He never complained. He never felt like he was sorry for himself.”

 Optimistic attitude aside, Foster’s caring attitude for others has also played a part in helping people beat the disease.

“When Dan was going through treatments, I had a barber working here, who was also diagnosed with colon cancer,” Magid recollected. “He basically was his mentor. He gave him such a positive outlook, like it was only the flu. He gave him such a boost. He encouraged him to get a colonoscopy. To make a long story short, he totally recovered because they got it in time.”

Why does Foster and Magid continue to volunteer their time?

“I want to give somebody else a second chance in life, and not just for colorectal cancer, all cancers,” Foster emphasized, urging people to get screened for the condition. “I realize how lucky I am. I want to help save somebody’s life.”

“We’re going to start doing this thing every two months,” Magid added. “We need to give people awareness. People have the mentality that it’s going to happen to somebody else. It’s never going to happen to me.”

Dr. Weissbluth believes there should be a 100 percent colon cancer survival rate, urging people to get screened for the disease at the appropriate age.

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Dr. Jay Weissbluth was on hand to dispense important medical info at the Help Knockout Colon Cancer event at Marine Park Barber Shop last Sunday.

“Colon cancer is 100 percent curable,” Dr. Weissbluth emphatically said. “No one should die of colon cancer. Zero. The gold standard of screening is a colonoscopy. The general population, everybody without risk factors, for testing is 50, risk factors, 40, and in the black population, age 45, to get screened. Everyone should be screened—men and women. There’s a misconception that it’s a male disease. It’s not. It’s men and women who get it.”

The Help Knockout Colon Cancer event isn’t Foster’s only philanthropic activity. He’s also participated in The Walk of Hope, a seven-day, 150-mile jaunt from Montauk Lighthouse (on the tip of Long Island) to Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where Cardinal O’Connor blessed him, in June 1999, three months before his second diagnosis. His efforts helped him raise over $20,000 for the Circle of Hope Cancer Foundation and Beth Israel Medical Center, where he had his surgeries.

Foster, who is the Brooklyn Ambassador for the Colon Cancer Alliance, noted that the Gerritsen Beach community helped raise over $190,000 for his cause throughout the years.

Foster and Magid hope to hold another barbershop event after Labor Day, and Foster is hosting his fourteenth annual Dan’s 5K Fun Run/Walk on Saturday, September 17th, with all proceeds going to the Colon Cancer Alliance Blue Hope Financial Assistance Program.

For more information on colorectal cancer, log onto www.ccalliance.org.

Brooklynites Take Part In 4th Annually Brain Aneurysm Awareness Walk At Marine Park


Photos and Text By Jerry Del Priore

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The Bagarozzas and others who made the Brain Aneurysm Walk event go off without a hitch.

Last Saturday, at Marine Park, over 200 people walked in remembrance of Daris Bagarozza— who died of a ruptured brain aneurysm, a weak bulging spot on the wall of a brain artery that burst, at the age of 30, 13 years ago—and others who lost their lives to the condition.

“I think it was a great turn out,” said Julie Bagarozza, Daris’ sister in-law and one of the organizers of the event along with her husband, Patrick. “I think we did better than last year. I would love to have 500 to 1000 people (in the future). I would love to see it as big as other walks. But my mother-law was happy with the turn out.”

The walk serves as a fundraiser for the Brain Aneurysm Foundation (BAF), as well as spreads brain aneurysm awareness and provides emotional support for people who have been affected by the disease.

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Walkers take Part in the Brooklyn Brain Aneurysm Walk event Saturday at  Marine Park.

Several medical experts, such as Dr. Michael Ayad, Director of Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery at New York Methodist Hospital, who was on hand at the walk to educate attendees, believe many people don’t even know they have it because unruptured brain aneurysms are typically and completely asymptomatic.

In fact, an estimated six million people in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm, or 1 in 50 people, according to BAF.

However, BAF’s website reports that the annual rate of rupture is approximately eight – 10 per 100,000 people, or approximately 30,000 people in the United States suffer a brain aneurysm rupture. Ruptured brain aneurysms are fatal in about 40 percent of cases. Of those who survive, about 66 percent suffer some permanent neurological deficit.

Approximately 15 percent of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) die before reaching the hospital. Most of the deaths from subarachnoid hemorrhage are due to rapid and massive brain injury from the initial bleeding which is not correctable by medical and surgical interventions.

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But it’s not all bad news for brain aneurysm patients. Ayad (pictured left) said If somebody is transported to a suitable facility that is able to deal with aneurysms, it can treat the source of the bleeding. Many patients can make fantastic recoveries, such as the survivors who attended the event.

One such fortunate person is Jennette Kruszka, who, after experiencing an excruciating, debilitating headache while vacationing in Madrid, Spain, in February 2015, took a nine and half hour flight home, and headed straight for the hospital upon landing.

Much to Kruszka’s dismay, after several tests came up negative for meningitis, the hospital sent her home when she refused the painful spinal tap test. But after enduring more agonizing headaches at home a day later, she decided to return to the hospital, and demanded a cat scan and MRI of her head, which quickly revealed the source of her agonizing distress.

“After waiting for about an hour, they finally did it,” Kruszka said, “and within five minutes there were five doctors in my room telling me I had two brain aneurisms and an AVM,” which stands for Arterial Ventricle Malformation–a congenital tangling of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain, which, she said, were feeding her aneurysms.

“After two scary weeks in the hospital and three embolizations to stop the bleeding of the aneurysms so it would be safer for me, I was sent home to explore my options,” the Bay Ridge native continued. “I had two decisions to make about the AVM: I could either have brain surgery to remove the AVM or have Gamma Knife Radiosurgery.”

She learned the Gamma Knife Radiosurgery would be less invasive but would take two to four years to work, with a measure of uncertainty, Kruszka noted. The brain surgery, although riskier, had a higher success rate.

Kruszka, 34, opted for the latter, with the help of Dr. Robert A. Solomon, a highly regarded neurosurgeon at New York-Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.

“I found Dr. Solomon at Columbia Presbyterian, and we discussed the two options, and I had a better chance of getting rid of the AVM with the brain surgery,” explained Kruszka, who is the Director of Marketing and PR at Kleinfeld—a longtime, upscale bridal boutique and star of its own TV show, Say Yes To The Dress, on The Learning Chanel.

“On May 11th 2015, I had the seven and half hour surgery to remove the AVM, and it was successful.”

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Warning signs and symptoms of a brain aneurysm include: a localized headache; dilated pupils; blurred or double vision; pain above and behind an eye; weakness and numbness; and difficulty speaking.

BAF’s websites strongly urges that any individual experiencing some or all of the aforementioned symptoms, regardless of age, should undergo immediate and careful evaluation by a physician.

For more information on brain aneurysm, and to make a donation, visit Bafound.orgBafound.org and http://give.bafound.org/goto/netty.