Sports

John Catsimatidis, others to replace the Staten Island Yankees

Baseball is coming back to Staten Island.

The Staten Island Yankees — a farm team for the Bronx Bombers which has been the launch pad for greats including Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrerra — was one of the 40-some Minor League teams that were tragically shuttered last year because of the pandemic and a massive reorganization of the Minors.

But The Post has learned that a group of investors — which includes Gristedes mogul John Catsimatidis and Jersey politico Eric Shuffler, with more still to be named — is set to start a new team that will play out of the Richmond County Bank Ballpark on the shores of New York Harbor.

Sources say that Merill Lynch alum, business mogul and ex-wife of Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, is also part of the conglomerate.

We’re told that in a bid to restore America’s Pastime to the borough, Major League Baseball acquired a franchise in the independent Atlantic League, which currently includes eight teams from the eastern United States, including the Long Island Ducks.

Richmond County Bank Ballpark, former home of the Staten Island Yankees, is seen in the St. George neighborhood of Staten Island.
Richmond County Bank Ballpark housed the Staten Island Yankees.
Chad Rachman/Gist Vile

And now they’re set to hand it off to the investment group, which will operate the team. The city will continue to own the stadium and lease it to the team owners, though we’re told that the new group of investors plans to revamp the park.

There will be a contest in the Staten Island community to name the new team, which we’re told will be unaffiliated with any Major League Baseball team.

The new owners plan to use the park — which has stunning, sweeping views of Lower Manhattan and the Harbor — for concerts as well as baseball.

Last year Major League Baseball took over the Minor Leagues and imposed a rule saying that each Major League team could only have four farm teams in the Minors, when they could previously have as many as they wanted. The new rule — coupled with the pandemic — decimated many smaller teams.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio seen participating in the second annual Mayor's Office vs. City Council softball game at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark in Staten Island, NY.
The ballpark opened 20 years ago on Staten Island.
Christopher Sadowski

But the MLB and the New York Yankees vowed to help any of the shuttered teams to start a new side and open up their gates once more.

There’s still some red-tape to work out, we’re told. The group that owned the S.I. Yankees and leased the stadium from the city needs to transfer the lease to the new owners. And the conglomerate is still planning to add more investors to its ranks.

But sources say that Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning to announce the news as early as next week.

Margo Catsimatidis (right) is expected to be throwing out a first pitch at Wednesday's Brooklyn Cyclones game.
Margo Catsimatidis (right) is expected to be throwing out a first pitch at Wednesday’s Brooklyn Cyclones game.
Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan

We’re told the new owners hope to have concerts at the stadium by the end in 2021, and plan to have players out on the field for the 2022 season.

In other Catsimatidis-related baseball news, John’s wife, Margo, is expected to throw out the first pitch Wednesday at the Brooklyn Cyclones game in Coney Island. We’re told she’ll be getting some tips on the field from legendary Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden and 69′ Mets players Art Shamsky and Ed Kranepool. The Cyclones are owned by the New York Mets. John and Margo Catsimatidis own Ocean Drive Towers apartments in Coney Island.

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