We’ll see pro baseball in the form of an Atlantic League team return to Staten Island’s Richmond County Bank Ballpark, as negotiations with an investment group led by John Catsimatidis are in the final stages.
The ballpark sat empty this season after the Staten Island Yankees (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) were downsized as part of MLB’s reorganization of MiLB. In the end, the SI Yankees owners decided to fold the team and sued the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball. In the meantime, last November the city’s New York City Economic Development Corp. began discussions of spending $5 million in Richmond County Bank Ballpark upgrades in contemplation for the ballpark’s use by an Atlantic League team. That spending would include new synthetic turf to replace the grass field and new seating. We also expect some other reconfigurations to make the facility more suitable for concerts and other events.
That money, as part of a larger $8 million spending plan on the ballpark and the surrounding area, is close to being approved as well by the Economic Development Corp. It’s being reported in various media outlets that a group led by Catsimatidis, head of the Gristedes Foods grocery chain (among other ventures), will be acquiring a new Atlantic League team and begin play in 2022. New Jersey politician Eric Shuffler and Dany Garcia, chairwoman and owner of the XFL, will also be involved with the investment group. Yes, we will see all the usual hoopla surrounding a new team, including a name-the-team contest.
The addition of a Staten Island team will push the Atlantic League lineup to nine teams, but it looks like the addition of a planned tenth team will be pushed back to 2023, leaving the league to look at other options for 2022.
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