News

Ballpark Digest: 'Staten Island Celebrates Return of Baseball'

 
by Kevin Reichard on August 27, 2021 in Independent Baseball, News
 
Former New York Mets and Yankees World Series champ Dwight Gooden was on hand to celebrate the return of professional baseball to Richmond County Bank Ballpark in the form of an Atlantic League team in 2022.
 
The event was hosted by Staten Island Entertainment and the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which is funding ballpark upgrades for the 2022 season for a new Atlantic League team. Staten Island Entertainment is led by John Catsimatidis, head of the Gristedes Foods grocery chain. His ownership group includes New Jersey politician Eric Shuffler; Dany Garcia, chairwoman and owner of the XFL; SNL performers Pete Davidson, Colin Jost and Michael Che; with both Yankee Global Enterprises and RedBird Capital Partners involved. 
 
The return of baseball to Richmond County Bank Ballpark is good news; the facility features one of the best views in all of pro sports, as originally designed by Populous. It is a great experience to take the ferry to the ballpark, take in a game and watch the sunset reflected in the Manhattan skyline.
 
“NYCEDC was so excited to close this deal to bring professional baseball back to Staten Island,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Rachel Loeb via press release. “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. We thank Staten Island Entertainment for their partnership, along with the Mayor’s commitment to invest in the stadium to help it return to all its glory come next Spring.”   
 
“This is one of the most exciting ventures I have ever been a part of,” said SIE Chairman John Catsimatidis via press release. “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.”
 
“We are delighted to bring Atlantic League baseball to Staten Island,” said Rick White, President of the Atlantic League via press release. “We are confident the leaders of the team will become fixtures in the community, delivering top-notch baseball and world-class entertainment to the residents of Staten Island for years to come.”     
 
The investment in the ballpark is seen by New York City Economic Development Corporation as an economic-development move, bringing foot traffic back to Staten Island, with the facility renovations allowing for a variety of events. The $5 million renovation will see installation of synthetic turf for more than just baseball, including soccer and concerts; overhauled seating and upgraded mechanicals. (The photo above shows the condition of the ballpark right now; the top photo shows Gooden meeting with area youth. Both supplied by New York City Economic Development Corporation.) The addition of the Staten Island team has already been approved by the MLB Partner League; the next step is a name-the-team contest. We are expecting at least 20,000 or so submissions for Staten Island Pizza Rats.


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