Minor league baseball is a great American sports and cultural experience, and Richmond County Bank Ballpark in Staten Island is one of the best places to see it for yourself. The stadium has incredible waterfront views, fans get up-close looks at future stars (the team's roster has included the likes of Robinson Canó and Brett Gardner) and the team knows how to draw crowds and keep their attention with theme days, mascots and on-field activities. We spent a fun evening with the team as they took on their archrivals, the Brooklyn Cyclones.
The ballpark's exterior boasts a nautical theme in keeping with the waterfront neighborhood.
Meet some of the Staten Island Yankees. Clockwise, from top left: Austin Gardner, Josh Maciejewski, Tim Hardy, Barrett Loseke, Bryan Blanton and Keegan Curtis.
Clockwise, from top left: Blakely Brown, Alex Junior, Charlie Ruegger, Evan Alexander, Marcus Evey and Mitch Robinson.
Look closely and you'll see that, on this day, the "Baby Bombers" took on a different name and uniform than usual. Their stint as the Staten Island Pizza Rats reflects a minor league tradition of teams devising eye-catching gimmicks to get fans through the turnstiles.
Mascot Scooter the Holy Cow—named for longtime Yankees shortstop and broadcaster Phil Rizzuto, who famously exclaimed "Holy cow!" at exciting moments during ballgames—entertains young fans with his antics. The big-league Yankees haven't had a mascot for many years, since their short-lived experiment with "Dandy" in the 1980s. But in the world of the minor leagues, life without an official costumed rooter is unthinkable.
The Yankees' opponents on this evening, the Brooklyn Cyclones, play at MCU Park in Coney Island. It's another one of the most picturesque ballparks you'll ever see. The squads and their fans have a friendly rivalry thanks to their parent teams (also crosstown rivals in New York) and their proximity—separated by the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.
New York Harbor looms just beyond the outfield wall; it makes a great backdrop for the team's frequent postgame fireworks shows, and it's fun to see boats traveling back and forth during the game.
One of the great pleasures of a minor league game is that every seat is close to the action.
For tickets to see the Staten Island Yankees, visit siyanks.com.