Though it had been announced that the Short Season A NY-Penn League would potentially be transitioning to a summer-collegiate league, Staten Island Yankees management says they were not informed about being dropped by the New York Yankees as an affiliate.
Not every NY-Penn League team is slated for elimination: some teams, like the Hudson Valley Renegades, are moving up to the High-A level and retaining affiliations; in the case of the Renegades, Hudson Valley will be a Yankees affiliate, a role that the SI Yankees had hoped to fill. And not every NY-Penn League team is thrilled with the MLB proposal to convert the circuit to a summer-collegiate league managed by Prep Baseball Report. Indeed, there’s been widespread complaining about the proposal from NY-Penn League owners: they say that Prep Baseball Report is proposing high dues and little expertise in actually administering a league of any sort. Prep Baseball Report’s experience has been running showcases and compiling scouting information for MLB, not in running an actual league with all the services required to run a league. Still, the proposal checks off MLB’s promise to provide a path toward keeping baseball in NY-Penn League cities–even if the promise seems cynical at best. We expect many NY-Penn League teams that decide to continue to look at other summer-collegiate leagues; we also expect the high-level independent-baseball options in the NY-Penn League footprint to expand past the Atlantic League and the Frontier League.
For the Staten Island Yankees, the New York Yankees said it would be willing to work with the team on an Atlantic League membership. That may not be the best economic model for the SI Yankees, and doesn’t really solve a big marketing issue for the Staten Island team: Not being able to sell itself as a place to see future Yankees stars compete. From the press release issued today by the SI Yankees’ Will Smith:
The Staten Island Yankees made every effort to accommodate MLB and New York Yankees requirements, including securing a commitment from New York City for ballpark upgrades. However, MLB and the Yankees choose not to engage in any discussions with us. We were unaware of the final decision and learned about it by reading the statement on Yankees social media.
2020 continues to be a difficult year for our community. The Staten Island Yankees and its employees have felt the effects. While our season at Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George was cancelled due to the pandemic, we looked ahead to a brighter future.
After careful consideration of locations in New York City, our ballpark was approved by the New York Yankees and built in St. George, Staten Island by the City of New York. It was planned and agreed-to in 1999 for the express purpose of hosting New York Yankees professional Minor League Baseball. We are shocked at the developments from this past weekend, and we believe what has happened to our organization is unacceptable.
The Staten Island Yankees will evaluate all of its alternatives and make choices based on what is best for the community.
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