New York Yankees News: Staten Island Yankees fight for life, learn what they’re doing

William Parlee

For the New York Yankees and fans of the Staten Island Yankees, the loss of their team to MiLB contraction has economic and cultural ramifications.  Long before the coronavirus pandemic struck, MLB proposed a plan to contract the minor league teams from five for each MLB team to just four.  The plan would affect the economies and communities of where the 40 minor league teams are located.

For Staten Island, the home park of the Yankees is Richmond Country Bank Ballpark. The ballpark is the home of the Staten Island Yankees, the NY-Penn League affiliate of the New York Yankees, and was personally selected by deceased Yankee owner George M. Steinbrenner. 

With the coronavirus shutting down spring training and the delaying the regular baseball season, the fight to save the Staten Island Yankees took to the back burning.  Now the fight is starting up again to keep the Staten Island Yankees. Congressman Max Rose, whose district includes all of Staten Island, and Staten Island Borough President James Oddo sent a joint letter to Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner to plead the case of their club, which has represented the Yankees in the short-season New York-Penn League since 1999.

“This team means so much to our borough,” Rose and Oddo wrote. “Not only does it offer jobs and a big economic boost, it provides civic pride and family fun. The impact the players have is evident on the faces of the children who show up at the ballpark every year — and that cannot be overstated.”

The Yankees, however, appear content with their top four affiliates, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Double-A Trenton, and Class A Tampa and Charleston, the last of which Rose and Oddo suggested specifically as an affiliate the Yankees could jettison in favor of Staten Island.  The only hope of saving the Staten Island Yankees will have to come from the front office of the New York Yankees, as the MLB plan is already approved.

Several New York Yankees have ties to the Staten Island Yankees, including Zack Granite who dreamed of being a Yankee and as a kid attended games at Richmond County Bank Stadium.  Yankee starting catcher Gary Sanchez played for the Staten Island Yankees before becoming a major leaguer.  Other Yankees that played for the SI Yankees include Justin Anderson, Chien-Ming Wang, Robinson Cano, and Brett Gardner.

The latest appeal will probably fall on deaf eyes as the Charleston River Dogs is an A minor league team. In contrast, the Staten Island Yankees is a short season A team, which the Yankees organization feels is more expendable.