Saturday, September 17, 2011

S.I. Yankees ~ Baby Bombers Put Up For Adoption

Parents in the Bronx Stick FOR SALE Sign on Their
Staten Island Cabana

Hank's Yanks; Staten Island's Baby Bombers; will be changing hands.  Hank will retain a small piece of the team, but they will be under a new administration once a sale is finalized with un-named parties.  This news (NYDN) broke out Thursday only two days after the team won their sixth New York Penn League Championship on Tuesday.

Since the beginning; from the team's first Opening Day forward; attendance consistently dipped in each of their first four seasons at St. George.  They up-ticked somewhat in 2005.  But in 2006, they suffered through their worst season with only 115,00 fans showing up for games.  Then 2007 started a steady uptick again.  And in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, Staten Islanders broke the 200,000 barrier for the first times in the Baby Bombers' decade-plus long history. 

This year, they dropped below 200,000 again; but the 192,500 fans that showed up still amounted to their third best ever attendance figure; and capped off a run of their three most successful seasons at the gate.  Staten Island placed third in the NYPL, as Brooklyn finished first in attendance with Aberdeen a close second.   Brooklyn and Aberdeen popped the gate with nearly a quarter-million fans each this past summer. 

But from my view on the other side of the Verrazano Bridge, the support I see the Yankees receive from Staten Islanders is getting stronger by the season.  If they slacked out there, they are showing renewed interest now.  Considering Brooklyn has over 2.5 million people and Staten Island is still working on their first mill..., I'd say the crowds over at St. George Park have been damn good lately and that Staten Islanders are providing fine support for their team.

To bring Brooklyn into this conversation is unfair to Staten Island and the Yankees.  Brooklyn and Baseball mean something entirely different here.  That's not to say Staten Island isn't connected to Baseball's unique NYC past.  The New York Metropolitan BBC; circa 1880's; existed as a professional baseball team in the old American Association.  As Champs representing the A.A., they lost the 1884 World Series to the National League's Providence Grays.  By 1886, they called Staten Island home for good but folded shortly there after.

150 Years of Baseball; Beekman House; LOC# 90-61429

So, with a good gate; a successful team; a built-in rivalry; and Staten Island's connection with Baseball's grand history; not to mention the NYPL history they are creating by winning their sixth title; why the sale?

Are the attendance figures still not up to the partners' expectations?

My only concern is that the team ends up in good hands and that the new owner is committed to the fans of Staten Island Baseball.  For my part, I love the Battle of the Boroughs and don't want the annual match-up compromised in any way.  Let us hope, this is not the beginning of a string of transactions putting the viability of Baseball in Staten Island on shaky ground.

We are their Brooklyn rivals.  We play against them.  I love to hate them within the context of respectable forms of competition and engage in the intra-borough antagonism with friends.  It is fun when done with people of character; and not troglodytes.  The rivalry is something that now gets talked about in the coffee shops of the neighborhood and at the work place.  So no, I don't want anything to happen to them.  They are still our neighbor.  What's equally important to both boroughs is having them operate as a healthy ball club, and always remain a Local franchise.


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