Baseball will return to Staten Island.
The Staten Island Yankees, a Bronx Bombers farm team that has produced greats like Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrerra, were among the 40-plus Minor League teams that were tragically shut down last year due to the pandemic and a massive reorganization of the Minors.
However, The New York Post has learned that a group of investors — including Gristedes mogul John Catsimatidis and Jersey politician Eric Shuffler, among others — is planning to form a new team that will play at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark on the New York Harbor waterfront.
Dany Garcia, a Merill Lynch alum, business mogul, and ex-wife of Dwayne Johnson, is said to be a part of the conglomerate, according to sources.
Major League Baseball reportedly purchased a franchise in the independent Atlantic League, which currently includes eight teams from the eastern United States, including the Long Island Ducks, in a bid to bring America’s Pastime back to the borough.
They’re now ready to hand it over to the investment group, who will run the team. The city will keep ownership of the stadium and lease it to the team owners, though we’ve been told that the new group of investors intends to renovate it.
A contest will be held in the Staten Island community to name the new team, which will be unaffiliated with any Major League Baseball team, according to reports.
The park’s new owners intend to use it for concerts as well as baseball. It has stunning views of Lower Manhattan and the Harbor.
Major League Baseball took over the Minor Leagues last year and imposed a rule limiting each Major League team to four farm teams in the Minors, whereas they previously had the option of having as many as they wanted. Many smaller teams were decimated by the new rule, which was combined with the pandemic.
The MLB and the New York Yankees, on the other hand, have pledged to assist any of the shuttered teams in resurrecting their franchises and reopening their doors.
We’ve been told there’s still some red tape to work out. The owners of the S.I. Yankees, who leased the stadium from the city, must transfer the lease to the new owners. And the conglomerate is still looking to expand its investor base.
According to sources, Mayor Bill de Blasio intends to make the announcement as soon as next week.
The new owners hope to have concerts at the stadium by the end of 2021, and players on the field for the 2022 season, according to reports.
In other Catsimatidis baseball news, John’s wife, Margo, will throw out the first pitch at a Brooklyn Cyclones game in Coney Island on Wednesday. Legendary Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden, as well as 69′ Mets players Art Shamsky and Ed Kranepool, are said to be giving her advice on the field. The New York Mets are the owners of the Cyclones. The Ocean Drive Towers apartments in Coney Island are owned by John and Margo Catsimatidis.