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Could Rockland Be the Perfect Site for the Scranton Yankees in 2012?



By Mike Silva ~ September 9th, 2011. Filed under: Independent Baseball.

Each week we take a look at what is going on with independent baseball. This week I opine about the 2012 home of the Scranton Yankees, and whether Provident Bank Park in Rockland County would be the perfect fit.

Last week, Robert Pimpsner of Gotham Baseball Magazine discussed the possibility of the Scranton Yankees playing their 2012 International League home schedule in Staten Island at Richmond County Bank Ballpark. Scranton is currently looking for a temporary home in 2012 due to renovation of PNC Field.  The home of the Yankees NY-Penn League affiliate is a nice location, but after visiting Provident Bank Park in Ponoma, I wonder if the home of the Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am League is the perfect location.

I wrote about how impressed I was with Provident Bank Park after I attended the final game of the season there on September 5th. You can check out photos I took while I toured the ballpark. Access to the park is right off the Palisades Parkway; there was ample parking for $5, and the park had tons of charm, as well as an area for kids to play. There is the Bridge Bar in left, short porch seating in right, and the “Boulderberg” playground for kids. These are the kind of amenities you don’t see at Richmond County Park. I also think the parking situation is better, and the access is no worse than getting into Staten Island. It’s only an hour north of New York City, and its right outside North Jersey so you could pull from that area as well.

The only issue I see is capacity, which is listed at 4,500, but they were able to draw over 6,000 for Howard Johnson’s debut on Sunday night. Even though Richmond County Park has capacity over 7,000 they averaged 5,600 during the summer months for the Baby Bombers. If it was such a great location why would the Yankees be looking to sell the team?  Would Triple-A baseball that runs from April to September be any better? Maybe on the nights where a top prospect is pitching or playing, but I don’t see going to Staten Island convenient for fans on Long Island, North Jersey, and Westchester. I found it inconvenient to get to the Richmond County Bank Ballpark, and parking was a pain. There is public transportation (ferry), but it’s not located in the greatest neighborhood. In my opinion, Rockland County was more inviting and family friendly.

In their first season the Rockland Boulders drew almost 3,000 fans playing in the independent Can-Am League. No disrespect to that league, but the ballpark is too nice to have a team playing at that level. The Boulders should be in the more competitive Atlantic League, or should house an affiliated team.

Is this realistic? We know the Scranton Yankees are looking for a temporary home in 2012. I heard Brian Cashman has been to a few games in Rockland recently, which is why I began to speculate about Provident Bank Park being a potential location.

Of course, all this depends on whether the Mets will waive territorial rights to have a full season minor league team play in their backyard. They did place a bid on the failed Nassau County project that would have required Yankees approval. Back in 1994 they rejected the Yankees attempt to house an affiliate on Long Island. Considering this is temporary, and the cold war between the clubs is not what it used to be, I suspect the Wilpons will be amenable to any Yankees request. Considering they are indebted to Major League Baseball financially, do they have a choice?

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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5 Responses to Could Rockland Be the Perfect Site for the Scranton Yankees in 2012?

  1. Marc

    I agree with you that the Provident Bank Park is full of charm that does not exist with many other minor parks in the area and perhaps could be an ideal local for the AAA Yanks in 2012. The Phillies have their AAA team in Allentown, Pa., and they are tops in all of the country in attendance. I also agree that Staten Island should be scrapped as an option to house the AAA team next season. Here is to thinking outside the box and to Rockland hosting a team that is not in the Can-Am League.

  2. Paul W.

    What happens to the existing franchise that’s already in that park?
    Would it just evaporate? No, that franchise owner would have to be compensated – by whom?
    The Ramapo facility is not up to AAA standards – clubhouses, practice space and media facilities – so more $$$’s would have to be spent on the place even though there are still holes in the construction funding.

    The only way the NY-Penn League allowed franchises in NYC was if there were two, to decrease the cost of travel/lodging to the other franchises.
    It is more expensive to transport/house/feed teams in NYC than anywhere else in the league. That league will not let the Staten Island franchise move before exausting all options to keep them there.

    You dismiss the Can-Am League like a “big time” fan, ignoring the business aspects of the situation. You should do some research before
    talking off the top of your head.

  3. Mike Silva

    Paul

    This would be a temporary one year thing… the Scranton Yankees don’t have a home. As for dismissing the Can-Am League, It’s a low level caliber of play. The Boulders should at least be in the Atlantic League. Long term it would be nice to see an affiliated team in that stadium. I just think its too nice a facility for the quality of the on the field product. You won’t get good talent to play in that league.

  4. Jon

    Couple issues… First, the Rockland team ANNOUNCED 3k fans. They drew considerably less than 1000 per date. Agree that the park is far too nice for Can Am League.

    Second, for an affiliated team to go in there several things would need to happen. Both the Yanks and Mets would need to grant waivers, as it exists within their territorial rights. That’s how SI and Brooklyn came to be, as both granted respective waivers. So the issue would be whether and why the Mets would grant such a waiver.

    Third, it exists within a NYPL franchises territorial rights. Since it would be only for one year and not a “drafted” territory, the NYPL would need to waive their rights. There would have to be something MAJOR in terms of compensation for them to allow the Yankee AAA team to move in for a year…it would assuredly affect the NYPL team(s).

    Fourth, bottom nine baseball holds a 20 year lease on that park to control the baseball games. They are also locked in with independent baseball. MiLB would need to take an unprecedented step in allowing for an indy operator to operate a AAA franchise, even for one year.

    It COULD happen, but there would be tons of steps.

  5. Benny

    Mike:

    You know my feeling on why sports stadiums should not be financed by the public and my dad gave me a link this morning to an article he saw in this morning’s Journal News, when he got the paper from his driveway. Again, my parents live in Clarkstown the next town over from Ramapo but it will affect all of Rockland County. It proves my point that the voters were right in Nassau to turn down the public financing for both the ball park and the Nassau County replacement

    http://www.lohud.com/article/20110918/NEWS03/109180375/Comptroller-s-draft-audit-blasts-Ramapo-s-ballpark-financing-budget-planning?odyssey=nav|head

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