2012 Staten Island Yankees to have a nostalgic feel

Nostalgic Partners LLC is the new owner of the Staten Island Yankees, and they have many new and exciting things planned for the 2012 season.

The group has four principle owners, including Nick Tiller and Glenn Reicin, who introduced themselves at a press conference at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark on May 16th.

Nostalgic Partners was put together exclusively to buy the Staten Island Yankees from Mandalay, who owned the team since 2007. Tiller said, “We purchased this team from an entity that owned many teams. We did it because we love the game. We’re both from Connecticut, so it’s easy to get to.”

Tiller continued, “When you go in for an investment, you have an exit strategy. We are in for the long run, and have a love of the game.”  This is the only team they plan on owning.

To show the new owners’ commitment to Staten Island, they promoted Jane Rogers to President. Rogers has been with the team since its inception in 1999 and has built strong ties with the community.

Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro was also at the press conference. He said that any “apprehension” he had when Mandalay put the team up for sale last fall was gone when he heard Rogers would still be with the team.

There was concern in Staten Island that Nostalgic Partners would move the team. It is quite the opposite, as they think it’s unique a minor-league affiliate in a major metropolitan area.

Of the Richmond County Ballpark, Tiller said, “We love this ballpark. It’s a very special place.” Tiller also said, “Jane Rogers introduced me to New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi at the Winter Meetings, and he said, ‘Your stadium has the best view of any ballpark in all of America, bar none.’ Look out at that view, it’s true.”

Reicin wants to strengthen their connection to the Bronx Bombers, saying , “We want to better align the minor-league team with the New York Yankees. We want to emphasize that the New York Yankees have maintained an ownership interest in the team.”

Reicin said they are going to market the team in a different way. “We want to reach out to Lower Manhattan, Battery Park City and all the families there. One critical reason the stadium was put here was to draw people from Lower Manhattan. We will have marketing arrangements with the New York Yankees to reach out to them. We are going to target investment banks and law firms to buy suites.”

The first thing they did to prepare for the new season is to invest nearly $1,000,000 on capital improvements to the stadium, including the suites, handicapped seating, bathrooms, and concession stands.

A major thing they did also was to bring in Legends Hospitality Management to run the concessions and merchandising, which they do at Yankee Stadium.

Local vendors from Staten Island will have the opportunity to serve food with Legends at the ballpark. In general, the team wants to work with local businesses and have them be more involved.

Rogers said that it has been a challenge to make people aware of the team. She said that they feel people living on Staten Island’s South Shore won’t come to the North Shore, which is where the ballpark is. To contrast, if the park existed when her kids were younger, Rogers said, “I can’t imagine I’d be anywhere else. People don’t know we’re here.”

Tiller said they want to make the team visible to all five boroughs and New Jersey. He echoed Rogers when he said, “People don’t know the team exists.”

Rogers said they want to improve the experience for children by upgrading the Kids Zone and bringing back face painting. They will also have a Kids Night Out club, which involves fans and organizations giving tickets to people who can’t afford them.

The Yankees reach out to local schools through their Staten Island Yankees School Program, which was created in 2004. It involves 150 schools from Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and New Jersey. Local schools will sell 20,000 tickets and the Yankees will be donating $70,000 back to the schools.

Near the end of the press conference, Reicin challenged the owners of the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Wilpon family that owns the Mets, to a wager based on how the teams finish. Whoever has the better record gets the other to donate $500,000 to a charity of the winner’s choice.

The way it’s gone recently, that challenge could be decided right at the end of the season. Staten Island beat the Cyclones in the playoffs last year, and went on to win the New York-Penn League championship.

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