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Official Review by Jim Wood, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Of all the major sports throughout the world, baseball is unique in the way that we judge our ballpark experience not only by what we see inside the arena, but what we’re able to see outside of it. When a fan goes to a sporting event, be it football, basketball, hockey, soccer, etc, their focus is strictly on the field of play. With rare exceptions (Lambeau Field comes to mind), a football or soccer stadium can be placed in the middle of downtown or 20 miles away in an open lot; it doesn’t affect the overall experience in a large way.
Baseball is different. The must-see ballparks of the game (Camden Yards, AT&T Park, PNC Park, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Target Field) are considered so because they are pleasing to the eye, both inside the lines and outside the lines. It’s impossible for a fan at PNC Park not to take frequent glances at the ever-changing skyline, and anyone who’s attended a game at AT&T Park raves about the unlimited views of the gorgeous San Francisco Bay, along with the countless number of sailboats, kayaks, and yachts that fill McCovey Cove on a daily basis. The surroundings add to the overall experience at a baseball game, and they are what make these places so special to fans.
Although on a smaller scale, a handful of minor league parks share similar traits, which puts them in the rare category of ‘must see’ ballparks. Richmond County Bank Ballpark along the northern edge of Staten Island, New York belongs in this group, and should be on any baseball fan’s list when considering future visits.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The food and beverage options at Richmond County Bank Ballpark (or RCB Park) are surprisingly minimal and bland, which is especially surprising in an area where quality cuisine options are in abundance. The primary concession stands have hamburgers, hot dogs (not Nathan's), chicken tenders, grilled chicken sandwiches, and french fries. For snacks, they offer peanuts, Cracker Jacks, pretzels, and sunflower seeds. The options are standard fare but, again, uninspiring when grading against the curve of other ballparks throughout the country. There are some stands that offer the likes of popcorn, gyros, and ice cream, but on the night of this review many of them were closed. While there are many good reasons to attend a Staten Island Yankees game, sadly enough, food is not one of them.
Although New York City area ballparks have been romanticized over the decades, with its grand architecture and quirky dimensions, Richmond County Bank ballpark has arguably the most beautiful skyline view in the history of Big Apple baseball. Upon entering the ballpark, it will be impossible to miss the New York Harbor just beyond the outfield walls, combined with the downtown Manhattan skyline in the distance. Throughout the game, your eyes will wander towards Manhattan and its ever-changing views, depending on the time of day, or maybe you'll catch a glimpse of the massive cargo ships making their way across the harbor. If you're fortunate enough to see a home run, chances are that baseball will become a splash hit.
If you're looking to experience additional views, I would recommend seating along the third base line, where you'll get a chance to see the Staten Island Ferry depart every 30 minutes. In the distance, you will be able to spot the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, linking Staten Island and Brooklyn. For many baseball fans, it will be comparable to the experience of attending a game at places such as PNC Park in Pittsburgh or AT&T Park in San Francisco and one that you will not want to miss.
RCB Park was built in 2001, so the facilities and amenities are in line with stadiums in the modern era. Its open concourse allows fans the chance to leave their seat during any part of the game without missing the action on the field. Because of its close proximity to the New York Harbor, the concourse only stretches from foul pole to foul pole. Likewise, there is no outfield seating or berm seating available here. The outfield wall dimensions are almost entirely symmetrical.
The Staten Island Yankees currently play in the New York-Penn League; a short season minor league designed for incoming draftees and unsigned free agents. While some of these players will eventually reach the majors, it is far more common that these players will be short-term minor leaguers. Nonetheless, these are players who will provide the highest level of effort, and that is a quality all of us can appreciate.
While the sightlines and amenities inside RCB Park are among the best in Minor League Baseball, the surrounding neighborhood has not been built with the entertainment options that you'll find at other facilities throughout the country. The Staten Island Ferry is adjacent to the park and is a short walk away (see Access), and if you prefer to eat before the game, there is a deli & Spanish restaurant across the street from the home plate entrance. More than likely, you will need to consider alternate options before and after each SI Yankees game.
Because the parent club plays their games fifteen miles away, the team wisely markets itself as the 'Stars of the Future'. You'll have little trouble finding hints of the Yankees' brand in RCB Park. From the moment you walk through the gates, you'll be greeted by Scooter the Cow, the mascot named after Yankee legend and Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto (the cow pays homage to Rizzuto's trademark 'Holy Cow!' call during broadcasts). Alongside Scooter, you'll see the Pinstripe Patrol, a group of cheerleaders who dance on the field in between innings and participate in game day promotions. As you walk throughout the concourse, there will be signs and posters of former Yankee greats. Any Yankee fan traveling to RCB Park will feel right at home.
The stands were sparsely filled when I attended, but compared to most NY-Penn League games and most low-level minor league games, this was a standard crowd.
Similar to most facilities throughout the country, there is plenty of parking adjacent to the ballpark. This will run anywhere from $7-$10, depending on the time of day. What's special about a visit to RCB Park is that many people opt to take advantage of its location on the New York Harbor and ride to the game via the Staten Island Ferry. From the Manhattan terminal at Battery Park, it's a leisurely 30-minute ride to the ballpark, offering up picturesque views of such landmarks as the Manhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty Monument, Brooklyn Bridge, and Governors Island. What's more - this experience is free of charge! Once you've reached the Staten Island terminal, it is roughly a five-minute walk to the ballpark, or you can allow yourself some extra time to walk along the Staten Island Pier and take photos of the surrounding areas. Nearby is the Staten Island Memorial, honoring the borough's victims from the 9/11 attacks. No matter how you choose to take advantage of this experience, make it a point to do so. This will enhance your experience when visiting RCB.
At first glance, the ticket prices will seem a little high for attending a short season Rookie League game. The reality is that, for a New York City ballpark, it fits in with the Minor League Baseball model of quality baseball at affordable prices. Ticket prices are $15-$18, depending on location, parking adjacent to the park will cost no more than $10 and if you choose to take the Staten Island Ferry from Manhattan you'll arrive for free. Compare that to the average price of a ticket at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field and you'll agree that a night out to see the Baby Bombers is an above average value.
Richmond County Bank Ballpark has the distinct advantage of location, so when it comes to extras, the metro area is second to none. Park the car at RCB in the morning and take the ferry into Manhattan; from there, take advantage of the sightseeing, restaurants, shopping, and extras that make New York City one of the greatest cities on Earth.
While many baseball fans throughout the world make annual visits to major league ballparks, it is far less common for them to do so with minor league ballparks. Richmond Bank County Ballpark should be an exception to this rule, and anyone visiting New York City during the summer months should find some time to hop on the ferry for an enjoyable night out at one of baseball's hidden gems.
Member Review by Prince
The Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George is the home of the 4 time NY-Penn League Champion Staten Island Yankees. It also hosted the NY-Penn League All-Star Game in 2010.
The ballpark is conveniently located on the most Northern tip of Staten Island and is adjacent to Staten Island Ferry Terminal which makes getting to and from very easy especially if you're visiting from New York City.
This is an ideal place to take a family or a group. They offer a tremendous entertainment value, which pales in comparison to seeing the Bronx Bombers, the New York Yankees.
Speaking of the NY Yankees, a number of players have started their professional careers right here in Staten Island. For example, current Yankees Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, Francisco Cervelli as well as recent call up Colin Curtis spent time honing their skills in Staten Island.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on Jul 07, 2014
Can't add much to the review. A typical minor league park in a fantastic setting. One thing to note - there are a few $9 seats and as the crowds are not that great (less than 2,000 on a perfect Sunday afternoon on a long weekend), you can generally sit where you want.
87 Stuyvesant Place
Staten Island, NY 10301
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