In our series, Five Five Questions, One Drawing, artist Steven Weinberg interviews and draws a well-known Brooklynite each month. Today it’s L.J. Mazzilli, second baseman for the Brooklyn Cyclones. Technically all of the Cyclones are Brooklynites, as they live in the Holiday Inn in Gowanus during the run of their Short Single A season, but Mazzilli is a little bit different. His dad, Lee Mazzilli, is a former All-Star and fan favorite of the Mets, the Cyclones’ Major League affiliate, and Mazzilli spent a lot of time with his grandparents in Sheepshead Bay growing up. The Cyclones’ last home game is Sept. 1, so get out to Coney Island soon if you want to catch Mazzilli and his teammates this summer.
When you leave Brooklyn and come back what’s the first thing you do?
Honestly just everything that Coney Island provides is what you’re excited to get back to ’cause everywhere on the road is not like this. You don’t have the strip with the Ferris wheel in the outfield, the whole strip of Nathan’s hot dogs and everything else down there. So that’s probably what we’re excited to get back to.
And when you get back to the Holiday Inn?
Yeah every morning for breakfast before the vans, I’ll go to that diner on the corner—I forget what it’s called—it’s right next to the Hess Station by the hotel. That diner. You ever hit that diner? I’ll go there or the bagel place right next to the diner. Those two spots. The bagel spot is really great for on the go. You get that muffin, iced coffee, you’re off. And the diner you can sit down and have a whole feast.
You commute by train/bike/car/walk/other? Why?
We have vans that take us, but sometimes I’ll have my mom’s car. She’ll leave it with me for like weeks at a time. And I’ll take a couple of my buddies on the team. We’ll go there and drive to the field then get here a little early. Do what we got to do.
Ever take the train?
Sometimes, if you miss the van. But I mean, I never miss the van. But I’ll take the train back if I want some food after a game. You know, we went to Applebee’s a couple of weeks ago and the vans left right after the game, so we just hopped on the train back.
Where’s your favorite place in Brooklyn?
Sheepshead Bay. My grandparents were there until they passed away, so you know, there’s lot of history there. You know, that park right underneath the overpass by Avenue Z. I grew up playing handball and basketball and stickball and would ride my bike around there and then hit my grandma’s salon shop down the road. My grandpa would take us there and meet her for lunch all the time. So I mean that’s my favorite spot when I was little.
What’s your ideal Brooklyn date?
I would want to experience something cool. Like a really nice maybe rooftop restaurant then maybe go down to a cool street with little shops, you know, fun little activities. Out of the ordinary, you know, like new things to do.
Do you ever watch Mets games in Brooklyn?
Yeah all the time. I watch baseball all the time. I can’t get away from it.
Is there a bar you all hit up–I mean, sorry, are you 21?
Yeah, I’m 22. Yeah, we went to that place two, I think it’s 250 or 230 on 5th Ave. That bar with like a million TVs. (It’s 200 Fifth at 200 5th Ave., and it does indeed have a million TVs. –ed.) Yeah, so we go there and watch some games and just get some wings, you know, just chill out. And 5th Ave. is nice. It’s hip. It’s a different scene than the city. Obviously the city is usually hard and rugged, but that area is just younger and everyone’s urban: the way they dress, the way they go about things. It’s cool.