Via the Staten Island Advance -
Back in the bad old days in St. George, when nobody went to the games but everybody had a theory to explain why the hometown Yankees didn’t draw crowds like the Brooklyn Cyclones just across the bridge, a guy in Rosebank or New Springville could get home from work, decide on a whim to round up the kids and head down to the ballgame, and still have his choice of where to sit.
Now Rogers and team president Joe Ricciutti have taken all the whim out of the experience.
A crowd of 7,171 watched the Cyclones out-homer the hometown Yankees last night, the 12th sellout in 20 dates this season; the kind of numbers that once seemed like a pipe dream for a franchise that went five seasons without selling out a single game.
“We were giving ourselves high fives when we had five of ‘em last year,” Ricciutti said.
That’s a far cry from the summer of 2003, when Ricciutti and Rogers would look out at a half-empty ballpark, and one or the other would wonder out loud:
“Where is everybody?”
There are still a few of us contrarians, of course, who cut our minor-league baseball teeth in dilapidated old ballparks in Geneva, Batavia and Oneonta, N.Y., Roanoke, Va., and Hagerstown, Md. — places so quiet on a weekday night that the shortstop could hear a conversation in the last row of the grandstand — who think the experience ought to be reserved for the hardy and the foolhardy, and any fool ought to be able to walk up to the box office 10 minutes before first pitch, and have his choice of seats.
But thanks to Ricciutti, Rodgers, and their cadre of relentlessly agreeable helpers, those days are long gone.
At this rate, the Ballpark’s going to turn into one of those places Yogi Berra thinks nobody goes anymore, because it’s too crowded.
Well, it took ten years, but, it’s good to see the community starting to back the team. It was vexing to see a team average 4,000 fans a game in a ballpark that holds 7,000 – especially when the Brooklyn Cyclones were jamming their park every game.
With the cost of going to a Yankees game in the Bronx being what it is…people should consider going to a Staten Island Yankees game instead. Sure, it’s not 55,000 people, Joba, Mo, and A-Rod…but, it’s professional baseball, close up, affordable, and fun.