The Richmond County Ballpark hasn't been open in more than a year.
The home to the Staten Island Yankees was shuttered because of the pandemic, and it turns out the 2019 season was the beleaguered team's last run at St. George Stadium.
The New York Yankees this weekend ended its affiliation with the Baby Bombers, meaning the Staten Island Yanks won't ever play here again.
"It's real bad news, man,” one fan told us. “All that investment for what? It looks nice…they let it go to waste.”
Major League Baseball announced last year it would limit how many Minor League clubs each team could have.
The Yankees said it had considered maintaining its connection to the Staten Island team, but ultimately decided to transition to Hudson Valley, leaving Staten Island in the dust.
"Staten Island wants to be affiliated with them, but it's been clear for a while that wasn't going to be the case,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo.
But Oddo said baseball will still be played here, and pointed to talks between his office, the city, the Yankees and Major League Baseball to bring an Atlantic League team to Staten Island.
Atlantic League teams are not affiliated with specific Major League teams the way Minor League baseball teams are — but they do meet regularly with MLB for marketing and promotional opportunities. They also share a goal of keeping baseball in communities across the country.
"Maybe something good can come of it,” said Oddo. “You can get an Atlantic League team, so you have some brand of baseball. But that we can have the stadium be the home of concerts and comedy shows and tournaments. And soccer and maybe professional rugby.”
Built with $29 million in city funds, the Richmond County Bank Ballpark was an immediate hit with fans, routinely selling out. But as the novelty of Minor League Baseball in New York City wore off, the crowds waned.
Even with a marketing campaign renaming the team the Pizza Rats for selected home games, attendance drooped to 65,000 in 2018, the lowest ever.
This section of Staten Island's North Shore has struggled in recent years, as plans to build an observation wheel here have fallen apart, and the city's first outlet center, Empire Outlets, has struggled to attract tenants in the pandemic.
"I know Staten Islanders are tired of it, but in the big arc of Staten Island's history, no one will remember the muck and the mire if we get these things alive and activated,” Oddo explained.
And what better time, given the Baby Bombers demise, than to give the ballpark a do-over.