Brooklyn regains major pro team sport
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
BROOKLYN — Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Danny McDevitt wound up and delivered, Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Dee Fondy swung and grounded to shortstop Don Zimmer, who threw to first baseman Gil Hodges for the third out in the top of the ninth. Game over, Dodgers 2, Pirates 0, on Sept. 24, 1957.
With that, major professional team sports went dark in Brooklyn for 5½ decades as other pro sports teams played in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens and across the river in New Jersey.
On Nov. 1, the lights go back on in state-of-the-art, $1 billion, 18,200-seat Barclays Center when the NBA’s Nets settle in to Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights. It’s an area of modern amenities (Best Buy, Starbucks, Target, new condos, homegrown shops, restaurants) and antiquated charm (brownstones, places of worship, family-run corner markets, bars).
Appropriately, the Nets will face the New York Knicks, and the battle is on for Big Apple hoops supremacy.
From the crack of the bat to the dribble of the ball, this has been 55 painstaking and controversial years in the making, the last 10 devoted to moving the Nets to Brooklyn. But it’s here, at Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, with a major subway hub to drop off thousands of fans at Barclays Center.
“Not everyone, in their lifetime, gets to witness a project that changes the face and the destiny of the city,” Nets owner and Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov told news reporters at a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Friday. “Maybe those who were at the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, they could say it. We saw a symbol being born, and I do believe that we’re all the lucky witnesses to such an event, because Barclays Center arena is so much more than just a building.
“It will be the place where everything is happening and everyone is welcome. If you are from Brooklyn or Manhattan, from Miami or Moscow, Barclays Center will be the heart of Brooklyn.”
Just before tip-off, after 7p.m. ET on Nov. 1, TNT’s Marv Albert — a Brooklyn native who was at the final game at Ebbets Field and listened to Vin … [For more on Brooklyn regains major pro team sport, click here.]