Results tagged ‘ Staten Island Yankees ’

(Not) On the Road: A Quiet Evening of Leisure in Staten Island

As I mentioned in my recent post(s) on the Trenton Thunder experience, I’m going to make an effort for the remainder of the season to visit Minor League teams that are easily accessible from my New York City base of operations. And few teams, if any, are more accessible than the Staten Island Yankees. They’re just a ferry ride away!

So, this past Wednesday, I left the office a bit earlier than usual and made my way to Richmond County Bank Ballpark. From MLB Advanced Media’s Chelsea-based offices, this involves a ride on the 1 train from 14th street to the ferry terminal.

Len’s Papaya is a new addition to the terminal’s food and beverage choices. Amongst NYC’s wide array of papaya-referencing frankfurter purveyors, Len’s is pretty much a non-entity. But, still, I picked up a papaya drink for the ferry ride. I figured this could be a new tradition for me, as in the past I’d always bought a Budweiser at the ferry snack bar (beer is now off limits to me, due to the celiac disease).

Within 10 minutes I was on the Staten Island ferry, which doesn’t cost a thing! One of the reasons that I have always enjoyed SI Yanks games is because it provides an excuse to ride the ferry — a 1/2 hour excursion filled with wonderful aquatic vantage points. Even the though the weather was less than ideal (cloudy, with scattered rain showers earlier in the evening), I still enjoyed the scenery.

I always do.

Lady Liberty!

I wasn’t expecting a big crowd, due to the mediocre weather, but I was still caught off-guard as the ferry approached Staten Island. It was 7:30 and the game was underway after a 15-minute delay, but very few people were in the stands.

It was going to be a quiet night indeed! The ballpark is, more or less, next door to Staten Island’s St. George ferry terminal. While there are certainly a portion of fans who have driven (or walked) to the stadium, those who have taken the ferry come across this entrance first.

This outfield entrance is THE first impression ferry-riders have of the facility, and not once over six years of attending games here have I ever seen that ticket window open. I find this indicative of a larger issue: for whatever reason, the SI Yanks don’t do much marketing to the city at large (one of the biggest and most diverse media markets in the entire world!).

And call me naive, but I don’t think that this is a tough sell: a Yankees affiliate, easily accessible via an outright fun public transit journey, competing in a beautiful facility that offers a skyline view of the greatest city in the world! 2012 marks the first year in which the team is under the ownership of Nostalgic Partners LLC and in a press conference announcing this Nick Tiller, one of the group’s partners, said “We think a lot of people don’t know the team exists, and we hope to change that.” I sincerely hope that they do! To a large extent my job is to be an advocate for Minor League Baseball, and I would love to be able to champion the SI Yanks as they make strides toward realizing their immense potential.

Multiple requests, via the team, to speak to the new owners went unanswered. That will be a story to pursue for another day, but for now, what I have is merely this slice of SI Yanks life on a damp but otherwise pleasant Wednesday evening in early August. This is simply me, as a fan, trying to convey the experience. Take it for what it is…

The main entrance, like most main entrances, is located in front of home plate. It’s a bit of a hike.

For those looking for will call, the hike continues.

Finally, access was obtained. Poor weather and underwhelming crowd aside, this remains a beautiful place to see a game.

The visibility of the Manhattan skyline was compromised somewhat by the clouds, but nonetheless a case could be made that this is one of the most scenic ballpark environments in Minor League Baseball.

The team’s mascot is the Phil Rizzuto referencing “Scooter the Holy Cow.” He originally had a halo perched above that big old hat of his, but at some point through the years it fell off.

The SI Yanks have expanded their concession options this season, including a nacho stand and, yes, even a sushi bar. But on this low-attended evening these options weren’t available. The third base concessions stand was operating at full-steam, but beyond that the stadium was more or less in shutdown mode.

I soon went into shutdown mode as well, sitting behind the first base dugout with NYC-based Minor League travelers Rex and Coco Doane (last seen in Winston-Salem). And while I have been frustrated regarding the SI Yanks’ marketing and media relations techniques (or lack thereof) through the years, one area in which they have always excelled is in-game entertainment. The between-innings games and contests are well-organized and staged with professionalism, and helped redeem an otherwise sluggish evening (the time of game was an agonizing 3:45, plus it started 15 minutes late).

When the game script calls for you to dance on the dugout, then you dance on the dugout — even if it’s 11 o’clock on a misty Wednesday night.

The Auburn Doubledays were victorious, doubling up the hometown team by a score of 10-5.

And from there, there was nothing to do but catch the 11:30 ferry back into Manhattan — another appropriately late night in the city that never sleeps.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

(Not) On the Road: A Ferry Good Night in Staten Island

siyank.jpgMany New Yorkers have an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality when it comes to Staten Island. While it may be a nice place to live, it’s not a location that many people go out of their way to visit.

But ample motivation to set foot in the so-called “forgotten borough” is provided in the form of the Staten Island Yankees, who have competed in the New York-Penn League since 1999. The team has played at Richmond County Bank Ballpark for the past 10 seasons, a waterfront facility located a proverbial stone’s throw from the Manhattan skyline.

The water plays a key role in the Staten Island Yankees experience, starting with how one gets there. This past Friday, my journey began at lower Manhattan’s South Ferry Terminal (accessible via multiple subway lines):

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The stout vessel that I ended up boarding was the Samuel I. Newhouse, 310 feet long and capable of carrying 6000 passengers.

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While there is ample seating, I prefer standing along one of the outside railings (after stopping for a drink at the snack bar).

Budweiser in the foreground, Lady Liberty in the back, America all the way:

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The ferry provides ample opportunity to view the Statue of Liberty, as well as the chaotic NYC waterways in general.

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All while the city itself slowly recedes into the background:

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Once arriving on Staten’s foreign soil, it is very easy to find the ballpark. Just look for signs with a baseball on them:

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The scoreboard is visible immediately upon exiting the terminal:

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So close, yet so far away as it turns out. The right field entrance is relatively nearby…

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But the team doesn’t sell tickets from this area:

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It’s a disconcertingly desolate first impression, and the only choice is to keep walking:

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Finally, the front entrance comes into view:

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But if you’re one of the poor souls who needs to procure tickets from Will Call…well, keep walking:

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The hassles to actually get inside notwithstanding, this is an excellent place to see a game:

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Red SI Yanks hats are distributed to those attending a game as part of a group. This seems to be a big part of the overall ticket sales strategy; standalone giveaway items and theme nights are non-existent on the promotional schedule.

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But there are many entertaining between-inning games, including one that simply documents the hilarity that ensues after a baby is given his first taste of lemon:

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As well as the ever-popular Hula Relay Race:

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I apologize, my photos from the concourse didn’t turn out. Here’s the best of the sorry bunch:

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The team’s mascot triumvirate, led by Scooter the Holy Cow (in honor of Phil Rizzuto, of course):

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The scoreboard is top-notch, as is the view beyond:

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The game was won by the visiting Lowell Spinners by a score of 7-1. But no mere defeat can get in the way of Friday Night Fireworks and post-game Run the Bases:

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Finally, it was time to walk back in the direction of the ferry terminal:

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The ride back to Manhattan always offers astounding visuals of the rapidly approaching city, but my attempt to capture these views photographically once again came up short. So all I can do is leave you with this quite sagacious-looking fish, who makes his home in Staten Island’s St. George Ferry Terminal:

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I wish I could end this post as gracefully as that fish moves about within his aquatic habitat. All I can come up with is “Oh water night” and, sadly, that’s going to have to do for now.

Oh, water night!

Sorry. 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Starstruck in Staten

Time is at a premium these days. The season is in full swing, and beyond my myriad professional obligations I am also very busy watching Conan O’Brien and playing in a pinball league.

Therefore, I must keep my blog posts short and to the point. With that in mind, let me share two photos I received from baby-bombers.com mastermind Robert Pimpsner. It seems that none other than Sopranos star Vinny Pastore threw out the first pitch at Sunday’s Staten Island Yankees game.

Here, he lectures a gaggle of patriotic youth:

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And here he is on the mound:

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The New York-Penn League is certainly off to an edgy start this season. First, the Cyclones tackled politics. Then, the Spinners gave away a “BOS”. And now the Staten Island Yanks have a man best known as “Big [censored]” throwing out a ceremonial first pitch.

And I don’t even want to get into what’s going in the league next week…there’s going to be both cross-dressing and liposuction, I can tell you that much.

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