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Ballpark Digest Podcast: Eric Shuffler, Staten Island FerryHawks

Eric Shuffler, president of the Staten Island FerryHawks (Atlantic League), joins Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Kevin Reichard to discuss the creation of the team, the work in reviving the team’s scenic waterfront ballpark, and how it will offer more than just baseball as a community center.

Topics discussed in this podcast:

·      Unused since the 2019 season, SIUH Community Park–the former Richmond County Bank Ballpark–required millions in renovations for use as a working facility. Maintenance had been deferred for many years, while other essential components were reaching end of life for a 20-plus-year-old facility. Upgrading HVAC systems and elevators isn’t sexy, but were essential. Also essential: the installation of synthetic turf, allowing for more events like concerts, graduations and youth baseball. Concessions were updated as well; seat replacement is now set for 2023.

·      The FerryHawks moniker came after a very open name-the-team contest. After an open call for monikers, there were over 2,000 submissions, which was pared down first to seven and five. In the end, fans chose FerryHawks; Eric describes how that came to be.

·      Supply-chain issues were front and center in the team development, ranging from delays in ballpark components to issues with hats stranded on shipping containers overseas.

Despite the issues and some unseasonably cold weather, the team had a successful debut: Staten Island FerryHawks debut at renovated ballpark.

Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is Voice of the Lansing Lugnuts and author of The Baseball Thesaurus and The Football Thesaurus, both from August PublicationsKevin Reichard is editor of Ballpark Digest and founder/publisher at August Publications.

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