Scenes from the Brooklyn Cyclones’ ‘Seinfeld Night’

Scenes from the Brooklyn Cyclones’ ‘Seinfeld Night’

Seinfeld and baseball go together like Junior Mints and an open body cavity. From George’s long-standing job with the Yankees to Jerry’s friendship with Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez, the national pastime always loomed in the background of the show. And for nearly a decade now, the Brooklyn Cyclones have continued that tradition.

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Since 2014, the Coney Island-based minor league baseball team has annually hosted “Seinfeld Night,” where, in between innings, fans of the sitcom gather to play Seinfeld-themed games and cosplay as their favorite Seinfeld character. There are also special guests from the show — like John O’Hurley, who played J. Peterman — and exclusive bobbleheads.

This year’s exclusive bobblehead

When I arrived at this year’s festivities, I immediately spotted a man with a giant “Serenity Now” sign. On the field, select fans were participating in an “Assman Contest” — where contestants pop balloons by sitting on them — and an eclair-eating competition, where people fish eclairs out of a trash can and cram them down their throats like George Costanza.

Serenity now, insanity… also now.

O’Hurley threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and more fan games were held in between innings. Even Billy Harner, the assistant general manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones, admits, “Nobody cares what’s going on in the game; people are just having fun together.”

The eclair-eating competition 

Unsurprisingly, Seinfeld superfans from the Tri-State area have made this a tradition of their own as well. “There’s a lot of electricity in the air, and a lot of people are dressed up — I saw one guy who had all these Seinfeld candies taped to his shirt,” writer Eric Dobin, who co-hosts a Seinfeld podcast named The Place to Be, tells me. “I’ve been to every one of these, and it’s especially fun for me to gather with so many people from the Seinfeld fan universe. People with different podcasts and meme pages and stuff like that. We all come together and celebrate this one awesome event.”

John O’Hurley throwing out the opening pitch.
Eric Dobin with his podcast co-host Adam Pacecca

After getting a pretzel, I got in a long line to see O’Hurley. This was his second time at the event, which has boasted other special guests such as Larry Thomas (the Soup Nazi), Phil Morris (Jackie Chiles), Steve Hytner (Kenny Banya), Jeremiah Birkett (Jean-Paul), Tim DeKay (Bizarro Jerry), Matt McCoy (Lloyd Braun), Susan Walters (Mulva) and Angela Dohrmann (Donna Chang).

Explaining the origin of the event, Harner says, “Back in 2014, it was the 25th anniversary of Seinfeld. I’m a big Seinfeld guy, and it’s also such a New York show that it seemed logical to try to pull something together. We reached out to Keith Hernandez, and he gave us permission to do a bobblehead with his likeness. The event was so popular with fans that the night has become an annual tradition. Now, Opening Day and Seinfeld Day are the two first things we discuss going into a new season.”

After the players left the field following an 8-7 victory, another contest (no, not that kind) was soon underway as three dozen people took part in the Elaine Dance Contest, where about 5,000 fans determined who did their best imitation of Elaine’s “full body dry heave.” It devolved into hilarious pandemonium almost instantaneously. Men who had entered the contest were automatically booed; the audience even booed a small child who, apparently, didn’t get Elaine’s kicks just right. “It’s like the Roman Coliseum,” Harner jokes.

Mary, the winner of the Elaine Dance Contest

After five rounds, the dancers were whittled down to the top six before a winner was crowned. Mary, the victor, truly unleashed a champion’s performance, complete with an Elaine-style pantsuit and a dead-on imitation of the famous jig. After the dance, she told me her favorite Seinfeld episode was “The Marine Biologist” and gave an impassioned endorsement of Kramer’s “The Beach” cologne. As for how she prepared for the dance-off, she says, “Growing up on Seinfeld — just living on Seinfeld.”

And Seinfeld, of course, has always lived right alongside baseball. 

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