Saturday July 2nd was the longest I’ve ever spent at a ballpark. Just under 9 hours. Saw two great games, some fantastic defense, probably the best backdrop to any stadium around, a fellow alum from my alma mater, the world famous ZOOperstars, and THE most energetic spirit team I have ever seen!
Richmond County Bank Ballpark is a fantastic place to see a game. Sitting right on the river, you can see the skyline of Manhattan just over the center field fence. I think I took way too many photos of Manhattan from the ballpark! Some were intentional, some were just a matter of having a great view of the action with a gorgeous background.
Richmond County Bank Ballpark and staff
But I am getting ahead of myself. Richmond County Bank Ballpark opened in 2001 and is the home of both the Staten Island Yankees of the NY-Penn League, and of the Wagner College Seahawks. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the NY-Penn League, it’s a Class A short league season, starting in June after major league teams have signed their amateur draft picks. The league traces its roots back to 1939, although just one original team (the Batavia Clippers) remains in the league. In addition to the beautiful view of Manhattan, it’s a great place to watch a game. I lucked out and got a home plate suite seat, complete with a server and padded seats, the latter of which came in handy as the evening wore on! I also got to chat with the Pinstripe Patrol gang, the Yankees’ spirit and dance squad. What a great group of folks!
The ballpark has a wide open concourse with a great view while you are stocking up on food.
And also has a well stocked stadium store that rivals many major league stores.
Players were even on hand when the gates opened to sign autographs. Here are pitcher Freicer Perez on the left, and Danienger Perez on the right.
I also want to give a quick shout out to a few of the front office staff of the Yankees. I traded emails with Ian Fontenot and T.J. Jahn a few days before the game, and they were great to chat with. I ran into Ian at the game, who noticed my FSU shirt, and told me that Brian Levine, who is the VP of Corporate Relationships, was also an FSU grad. Sure enough, just a few minutes later, I ran into Brian. Great guy, and glad to see the ‘noles had representation in the Big Apple! Thanks guys! If I ever make it back, I might ask for a press pass to get some good shots from upstairs!
In game entertainment
Since my blog started last season, I’ve been to over two dozen mostly minor league games, and I have to say I’ve never been more entertained in between innings than I was Saturday night. The Pinstripe Patrol is head and shoulders the best spirit squad I have ever seen. With my seats right behind home plate, I got to chat with them a bit during the game. We even traded John Cena and Chris Jericho (both of WWE pro wrestling fame) references. Most teams have the dizzy bat, the mascot race, the t-shirt toss…. these folks took it to another level!
They shared their program for the first game so I could know what was coming up. As an aside, I asked another minor league team for this, and you would have thought I was asking for the codes to launch nuclear warheads. They flatly refused to share. Not this team!
And how did the games go? Well, here’s the tug of war against Scooter:
The flag tag relay:
In the Uncle Sam Scamble, Alana and Charlie had to race around to collect pieces of clothing until they were dressed as Uncle Sam:
One of the highlights, though, was the dance cam in the 5th:
Even into the late night, the team came up with new fan games. As late as the 14th inning, they were doing live promos like “drop the needle” where fans had to guess the next line of popular songs. It was a long day for them as well, and they never slowed down. Ahhh, to be young again!
With my current rate of hair loss, I am sure I could get in the Wipeout drum entertainment in a year or so. Drums on bald heads, gotta love it!
The Yankees have two mascots, Scooter the Holy Cow, and Red. Scooter is a tribute to Yankees legend Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto and his tagline, and Red is the little brother. Not sure who the other clown is in these photos.
One of the highlights of the evening, though, was an appearance by the ZOOperstars! These guys were hilarious! Here’s Roger Clamens clowning between innings:
And here’s Derek Cheetah:
Friday night’s game was suspended in the bottom of the first, so we basically got a double header Saturday, with the full game being played Saturday, then a 7 inning game as the regularly scheduled game. The Yankees took the suspended game 4-1, but lost the nitecap 7-6 in 15 innings. The game concluded at just before 1AM in the morning.I did get some good in-game photos, as well as some tweets with the Yankees as to what the curfew rules were in the NY-Penn league!
In the end, I got to see 8 full innings of the first game, and 15 innings of the nitecap. The Yankees split the double header against the Vermont Lake Monsters, and I got to see some great baseball in a fantastic stadium! A long day to be sure but well worth it!! For any fan, the Staten Island Yankees are a class organization and if you ever take a trip to NYC, it’s worth the trip over to Staten Island to catch a game!
For more photos, check out my second post from the game here.