It may not come as a big surprise to the fans of independent baseball, but the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) Board of Directors today approved the application of Staten Island Entertainment, LLC to organize and operate an ALPB club in Staten Island, New York, beginning play in 2022.
Led by John Catsimatidis, Eric Shuffler, and a healthy investor group, the Staten Island club will debut in the league’s 2022 Championship Season as part of the Atlantic League’s North Division. The addition of the team could create a rivalry between the Long Island Ducks and the Staten Island club, with both squads residing in the great New York area.
The new ALPB franchise will play in an upgraded Ballpark at St. George and make the association the only Major League Baseball Professional Partner League with a team in New York City.
While the has been been skeptics on whether or not the new Staten Island team will make it in the ALPB, the league’s President, Rick White believes the new ownership group has laid out a plan for a positive result.
“We are thrilled to welcome Staten Island to the ranks of the Atlantic League,” Rick White said. “Their ownership group has demonstrated a clear passion for the Borough of Staten Island, along with a sophisticated approach necessary to succeed in the City of New York. This bodes well for their success.”
The new team will replace the Staten Island Yankees (short-season Single-A), who started in 1999 and lasted until 2019 before COVID-19 caused the cancellation of the 2020 season. Staten Island ultimately lost its affiliation with the New York Yankees when MLB contracted approximately twenty five percent of its minor league teams in ’20.
— Jerry Del Priore