Staten Island just scored a home run with the return of professional baseball to the borough.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, other elected officials and community members joined John Catsimatidis, owner of the new Atlantic League Staten Island Baseball team, at a press conference this week to officially announce the team after last year’s cancellation of The Staten Island Yankees minor league baseball team.
Yankees and Mets icon, Dwight “Doc” Gooden threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the event, which took place at the Staten Island Ballpark- previously the Richmond County Bank Ballpark where the Staten Island Yankees used to play.
“I am excited to see minor league baseball returning to Staten Island,” said Gooden. “I love New York and know that the Atlantic League represents high-quality baseball.”
The currently unnamed team is an endeavor of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Staten Island Entertainment (SIE), which is led by Catsimatidis. NYCEDC negotiated the deal with SIE, who signed a lease in July of 2021 to take over the stadium and organize and operate an Atlantic League franchise. SIE will field a team for the 2022 season.
The MILB held a contest in the spring asking the public for its help naming the new team. While submission period has ended, you can soon to vote for your favorite.
Former MLB great Dwight Gooden was on hand to celebrate the return of pro baseball to Richmond County Bank Ballpark in the form of a 2022 Atlantic League team. #sportsbiz #baseballbiz https://t.co/eJDWxx6XYb pic.twitter.com/CP9n1rgDw3
— Ballpark Digest (@ballparkdigest) August 27, 2021
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“This is one of the most exciting ventures I have ever been a part of,” said Catsimatidis. “We will bring affordable, family entertainment back to the people of Staten Island, boost the local economy and see our team conquer the Atlantic League.”
Catsimatidis, a billionaire businessman, was the runner-up Republican nominee for NYC mayor in 2013.
Last year, at the height of the pandemic, the ballpark stadium was forced to close. It remained underutilized for more than 18 months and fell victim to natural elements.
Through the new deal, the city and SIE will replace the grass field with synthetic turf, making all necessary repairs, completing capital work, and getting all deferred maintenance back on track, according to the NYCEDC.
“NYCEDC was so excited to close this deal to bring professional baseball back to Staten Island,” said Rachel Loeb, NYCEDC president and CEO. “We paid special attention to selecting a partner who will work to ensure the Staten Island Ballpark benefits the greater community and be a place for youth and amateur sports, along with concerts and other events.”
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