Yankees: NYC spending big on Staten Island stadium makes no sense
By Adam Weinrib
The Yankees have left Staten Island, and now New York City wants to rebuild the stadium? Weird.
When the Yankees announced in a blaze of anger that they’d be moving on from Trenton and Staten Island as their minor-league homes for 2021, both communities were taken aback.
SI took things particularly hard, considering they’d built the team’s stadium two decades prior under the guidance of the Yankees, and had to weather accusations that it had fallen into disrepair, which was partially to blame for the team’s change of heart.
The field conditions may be on the mend, though, even as the Yankees’ departure remains hard and firm.
Apparently, New York City has some money to burn in the budget? Otherwise, the borough announcing major upgrades to the Staten Island baseball stadium after the Yankees officially abandoned it would be pretty nonsensical.
According to those in the know, the improvements include new seating, synthetic turf, and changes that allow other sports to be played at the facility. Not included? Re-taping the walls, which was apparently an issue over the past few years.
Of course it’s beneficial to listen to feedback and make necessary improvements, especially if people are going to make good use of the stadium. We’re just not sure why these alterations didn’t come before the Yankees chose to skip town and the replacements lined up, all of which take a bit of the shine off the enterprise.
As the article states, the likely future of the stadium’s occupants is kind of bleak:
"“The borough president and the EDC also said they’ve been working behind the scenes trying to keep minor league baseball on Staten Island by attempting to secure a franchise from the independent Atlantic League to play at the waterfront ballpark in St. George.Meanwhile, the pro rugby franchise Rugby United New York has expressed interest in playing there once it’s reconfigured, according to officials.”"
A good portion of the Atlantic League is being adopted into organized baseball this year (see the Somerset Patriots), which will allow MLB to further exert control over its minor-league system. Whatever’s left could find a good home in Staten Island, sure, but it’ll never be the Yankees.
And then…and then there’s professional rugby? That’s a tough sell.
Staten Island Borough President James Oddo did admit to the New York Post that he hopes the Yankees’ departure serves as a “wake-up call,” and that’s nice.
Unfortunately, whatever they’ll be waking up to won’t be the New York Yankees. It still rings a bit hollow as a call to action.