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Catsimatidis Among Group Bringing Baseball Back to Staten Island

NEW YORK – Greek-American billionaire John Catsimatidis is among a group of investors bringing baseball back to Staten Island, the New York Post reported on July 14. The New York Yankees’ Minor League team, the Staten Island Yankees, which launched the careers of many well-known players including Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrerra, was among about 40 teams that were shut down last year during the pandemic and a “massive reorganization of the Minors,” the Post reported, adding that it has learned that a group of investors, Catsimatidis and New Jersey “politico Eric Shuffler, with more still to be named — is set to start a new team that will play out of the Richmond County Bank Ballpark on the shores of New York Harbor.”

Sources tell the Post “that Merill Lynch alum, business mogul and ex-wife of Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, is also part of the conglomerate” and “in a bid to restore America’s Pastime to the borough, Major League Baseball (MLB) acquired a franchise in the independent Atlantic League, which currently includes eight teams from the eastern United States, including the Long Island Ducks.”

MLB is “set to hand it off to the investment group, which will operate the team,” the Post reported, adding that “the city will continue to own the stadium and lease it to the team owners,” and “the new group of investors plans to revamp the park.”

A contest in the Staten Island community will be held “to name the new team,” the Post reported, noting that sources say it “will be unaffiliated with any Major League Baseball team.”

“The new owners plan to use the park — which has stunning, sweeping views of Lower Manhattan and the Harbor — for concerts as well as baseball,” the Post reported, noting that MLB last year, “took over the Minor Leagues and imposed a rule saying that each Major League team could only have four farm teams in the Minors, when they could previously have as many as they wanted. The new rule — coupled with the pandemic — decimated many smaller teams.”

The MLB and the New York Yankees, however, “vowed to help any of the shuttered teams to start a new side and open up their gates once more,” the Post reported, adding that there is still “red-tape to work out” and “the group that owned the S.I. Yankees and leased the stadium from the city needs to transfer the lease to the new owners.”

The conglomerate is also “still planning to add more investors to its ranks,” the Post reported, noting that “sources say that Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning to announce the news as early as next week.”

“The new owners hope to have concerts at the stadium by the end in 2021, and plan to have players out on the field for the 2022 season,” the Post reported.

Margo Catsimatidis, John’s wife, “is expected to throw out the first pitch” on July 14 at the Brooklyn Cyclones game in Coney Island, the Post reported, adding that sources say “she’ll be getting some tips on the field from legendary Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden and ’69 Mets players Art Shamsky and Ed Kranepool.”

The New York Mets own the Cyclones, the Post reported, noting that “John and Margo Catsimatidis own Ocean Drive Towers apartments in Coney Island.”

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