The event included former Mets and Yankees World Series Champ, pitcher Dwight “Doc” Gooden at the Staten Island Ballpark.
Surrounded by youth athletes, coaches, and elected officials, the deal announced earlier a few weeks ago between NYCEDC and SIE was touted on the field as a success, their leadership saying it will be vital to Staten Island’s economic recovery post-pandemic.
Officials and community members said a revitalized stadium and new team will impact neighboring businesses positively, improve the quality of life for residents, create jobs, and offer the borough and city a venue for more than just baseball.
“NYCEDC was so excited to close this deal to bring professional baseball back to Staten Island,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Rachel Loeb. “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.”
NYCEDC negotiated the deal with SIE who signed a lease in July of 2021 to take over the stadium and organize and operate an Atlantic League franchise. SIE will field a team for the 2022 season.
SIE is led by Chairman John Catsimatidis and President Eric Shuffler has famed investors, which include SNL stars and Staten Island natives Colin Jost and Pete Davidson, SNL castmate Michael Che, along with Dany Garcia, chairwoman and owner of the XFL, and Yankees Global Enterprises/New York Yankees president Randy Levine and others.
“This is one of the most exciting ventures I have ever been a part of,” said SIE Chairman Harlem’s John Catsimatidis. “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.”
“Staten Island is a borough of passionate sports fans, and we are excited to partner with the community to create something great for everyone on Staten Island–from high-quality professional baseball to local youth sports, high school and college athletics–to make the stadium a central part of the Staten Island sports community,” said SIE President, Eric Shuffler.
“We are excited to partner with New York City and New York City Economic Development Corporation to bring a professional team back to Staten Island where it rightfully belongs,” said Dany Garcia, Chairwoman, CEO and Founder of The Garcia Companies. “Growing up in both New Jersey and New York, I watched baseball avidly with my family and developed a lifelong passion for the sport. I am thrilled to work with my fellow investors on this meaningful venture that will entertain and bring this community together for years to come.”
“They say the 162-game Major League Baseball season is a grind. I think I understand that a bit better in wake of all the work we have put in to locate an Atlantic League franchise on Staten Island and that brings us to the cusp of utilizing this gem of a facility to its full potential,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo. “As I have said repeatedly, this effort has been about so much more than baseball. The Mayor’s interest and support has been steadfast, and the NYCEDC has been a fantastic ’double play’ partner, for sure. I am so excited about this ownership team, and I am grateful for the passion and commitment demonstrated by Eric Shuffler, John Catsimatidis, and Randy Levine. Baseball is coming, and so too is making this stadium a true asset for Staten Island.”
“We are delighted to bring Atlantic League baseball to Staten Island” said Rick White, President of the Atlantic League. “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.”
Last year, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the stadium was forced to close. Then it remained underutilized for more than 18 months due in part to the previous team, folding during Major League Baseball’s restructuring. The stadium fell victim to natural elements, but through this new deal, the city and SIE are committed to replacing the grass field into synthetic turf, making all necessary repairs, completing capital work, and getting all deferred maintenance back on track. With that, SIE and NYCEDC are working hard to bring fans back to the ballpark by Spring 2022.
“I am excited to see minor league baseball returning to Staten Island,” said former Mets and Yankees Player Dwight “Doc” Gooden. “I love New York and know that the Atlantic League represents high-quality baseball. Congrats to the ownership group SIE, the Borough President, NYCEDC, and Mayor for helping to make this happen. And most importantly, congrats to the residents of Staten Island.”
“Congratulations to Mayor de Blasio, Jimmy Oddo, Staten Island Entertainment, but most importantly to Staten Islanders. The return of baseball to the Staten Island Ballpark will ensure we are fulfilling our promise of an economically vibrant North Shore. I can’t wait to see our team take the field,” said Senator Diane Savino.
“As we move closer to normalcy, it is encouraging to see our nation’s favorite pastime make a return to Staten Island. This is a big win not only for the North Shore but for the entire borough. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio, Borough President Oddo, NYCEDC, and SI Entertainment for keeping a team on the North Shore,” said Assemblyman Charles D. Fall.
“Stand up and cheer! The National Pastime is returning to Staten Island,” said Council Member Debi Rose. “The new baseball team will also bring a lineup of entertainment events to a renovated Staten Island Ballpark. Our North Shore Renaissance continues to prevail and set the stage for the years ahead.”
Currently, SIE is hosting a contest to name their new team, which is open to the public through Friday at 11:59 p.m. EST. SIE is looking for name ideas, which reflect the strength and heritage of State Island. To suggest a name, click, here.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is a mission-driven, non-profit organization that creates shared prosperity across New York City by strengthening neighborhoods and growing good jobs.
NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive and invests in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage.
Photo credit: 1) New York City Economic Development Corporation. 2) John Catsimatidis.