After a lot of whispers and planning, it’s official: we will see a Staten Island Atlantic League team playing out of Richmond County Bank Ballpark for the 2022 season, owned by a group led by John Catsimatidis.
The announcement was made by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Borough President James Oddo, heralding the deal made by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).
Catsimatidis is head of the Gristedes Foods grocery chain. His group includes New Jersey politician Eric Shuffler; Dany Garcia, chairwoman and owner of the XFL; and SNL performers Pete Davidson, Colin Jost and Michael Che, with both Yankee Global Enterprises and RedBird Capital Partners involved. They’ll be operating under the Staten Island Entertainment LLC umbrella.
The ballpark went unused in 2021 after the Staten Island Yankees (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) were contracted as part of MLB’s downsizing of Minor League Baseball. While other NY-Penn League teams were promoted to higher levels, such as the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Hudson Valley Renegades, the owners of the Staten Island Yankees chose not to move forward in independent baseball.
The ballpark is set to undergo renovations before the 2022 season, including the installation of synthetic turf, new seating, concourse upgrades and other ballpark improvements. To follow: a full calendar of events and concerts, as well as a name-the-team contest. (Yes, we expect there to be 20,000 or so Staten Island Pizza Rats submissions.)
“This is one of the most exciting ventures I have ever been a part of,” said SIE partner John Catsimatidis. “We will bring family entertainment back to the people of Staten Island, boost the local economy and see our team conquer the Atlantic League.”
“We will also welcome local sports teams to use our professional stadium for playoffs and championships,” said SIE partner Eric Shuffler. “We look forward to partnering with the community to create something great on Staten Island, starting with our team name.”
“We appreciate Major League Baseball and the Atlantic League for their support in this effort,” said New York Yankees President Randy Levine. “This is something really exciting for the residents of the great borough of Staten Island. We wish them all of the success in the world.”
The addition of the Staten Island Atlantic League team will put the MLB Partner League at nine teams for 2022. A tenth Atlantic League team originally planned for a 2022 debut was delayed for at least one year, due to circumstances outside league or ownership control.
UPDATE: The Atlantic League Board of Directors today approved the application of Staten Island Entertainment, LLC to organize and operate a team in Staten Island, New York, beginning play in 2022. No surprises.
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