As another eventful year in St. George comes to end, we have a lot to reflect on. From celebrity appearances to breakout performances on the field, the Staten Island Yankees’ 15th season on the Island was eventful to say the least. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be counting down the ten best moments of 2014 to get you caught up to speed for a promising 2015. We also paired up with long-time Staten Island Yankees beat writers Jim Waggoner and Robert Pimpsner, who give their takes on a few of the biggest events from the last 365 days. Enjoy!
No. 10: Where’s Wags?!?
When it comes to the Staten Island Yankees, veteran Staten Island Advance sportswriter Jim Waggoner has seen it all. From the championships to the wackiness off the field, you’d be hard-pressed to find a person who has seen more of the Baby Bombers over the last 15 years than Waggoner. But 2014 brought a new level of experience for Wags as he gained first-hand knowledge in various areas of the operations that go into producing a success baseball game.
Just like the Staten Island Yankees staff, Waggoner spent more time during games working behind the scenes than watching baseball, something he hasn’t been accustomed to doing during his tenure at the Staten Island Advance. Just like any reputable reporter, Wags dove in head-first to paint an accurate picture to his readers about what it’s really like to work for a minor league team. His ballpark escapades involved being a member of the grounds crew (read: pulling tarp), bullpen duty, ushering fans to their seats, scouting prospects, serving fans in the concession stands, and a rare look at what it’s like to be Scooter the Holy Cow. Missed the series? Catch up here:
Media’s Choice: “I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun during my long Staten Island Advance career than writing a first-person series of behind-the-scenes articles from the St. George ballpark. I was an usher, a scout, even a mascot … but the night I was allowed to don the pinstripes and sit among the young ballplayers in the bullpen is impossible to top. A half-year later, I’m still running into people who bring up the series and telling me how much they enjoyed it.” – Jim Waggoner, Staten Island Advance
Blogger’s Choice: “Wags had youthful energy this year, best I have seen him in a long time. So when he started doing the series on jobs around the ballpark I knew I had to be there for the day he did the grounds crew. It was perfect, it had rained earlier in the day so they had to pull the tarp. I got to the ballpark early, saw them getting ready and called him to tell him to get to the park before they do it.” – Robert Pimpsner, Pinstriped Prospects
Name: Jordan Foley
Birthday: July 12, 1993
Hometown: The Colony, Texas
College: Central Michigan University
Favorite Food: Mac & Cheese
Favorite Movie: Lone Survivor
Favorite TV Show: House of Cards
Favorite Athlete: Dirk Nowitzki
Have you played any other sports? What sports and for how long? Basketball until freshman year of high school and soccer until I was 12
What is your biggest career highlight so far? Signing with the New York Yankees
What was the favorite baseball team growing up? Texas Rangers
What do you like most about New York City? Times Square
The least? The amount of people
What family member are you closest with? Why? My father. He’s my role model.
If you could play catch with anyone (alive or deceased), who would it be? Bob Gibson
What was the first concert you ever saw? Eli Young Band
What was your first job? Little League umpire
Do you have any superstitions? Yes. Jumping over the foul line.
Want to follow Jordan’s journey in Staten Island and beyond? Follow him on Twitter: @JFol12
Finally, a day controlled almost entirely by the fans! On Wednesday, July 16, WFAN will broadcast live from Richmond County Bank Ballpark to present Fan Takeover Night. As part of the night, we’re letting you, the fans, decide much of the entertainment for the night including headshot backgrounds, walk-up music, in-game videos, dance performances, prizes and more! We’re also giving fans the chance to take part in the game through announcing players coming up to bat and running out with players to their positions before the game. Cast your votes below to have your say in the game! And stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter accounts for tons of chances to get involved over the next few days!
Name: Sam Agnew-Wieland
Birthday: May 31, 1992
Hometown: Marietta, Georgia
College: Appalachian State
Favorite Movie: Lethal Weapon 6
What is your most memorable moment in baseball as a player? The 2013 MLB Draft (Drafted in the 24th Round)
As a spectator? 1995 World Series
What was your favorite baseball team growing up? Atlanta Braves
Who is your favorite MLB player of all time? Andres Galarraga, because he’s the man.
What are your goals as a minor league baseball player? To win a New York-Penn League title!
What special talents do you have? I am a bird-whisperer.
What do you like most about New York City? The New York Yankees
The least? The New York Mets
What was the greatest struggle for you as a child? Dribbling a basketball left-handed.
What was the best advice you ever received? When the tough get going, go and get tough.
What was the first concert you ever saw? Counting Crowes
What was your first job? YMCA Camp Counselor
What was the last book you read? “Bullpen Diaries: Mariano Rivera, Bronx Dreams, Pinstripe Legends, and the Future of the New York Yankees” by Charley Rosen
What would you be doing if you weren’t playing baseball? Working toward my Philosophy degree
Want to follow Sam’s journey in Staten Island and beyond? Follow him on Twitter: @SamHyphen
On June 18 at 7 p.m. the Staten Island Yankees will play host to a true Throwback Thursday. The Baby Bombers welcome ’80s star Tiffany to the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George for a special appearance and live performance! To get you warmed up for the big night, we asked Tiffany herself a few questions so you could get to know her a little better.
- What’s the last sporting event you attended? “Nashville Predators hockey game”
- What are you most excited for when coming to the Staten Island Yankees game? “Being at games is a lot more fun than watching sports on TV for me.”
- Who is your favorite baseball player of all time? “Mickey Mantle”
- What is your favorite sport? “Hockey”
- What is your favorite sports team? “Nashville Predators”
- If you could trade places with one athlete in any sport, who would it be and why? “MMA fighter Ronda Rousey, because she’s a bad ass.”
- What’s the first baseball game you ever attended? “Yankees game when I was on tour with my band in the ’80s!!!”
- What’s your favorite sports moment from the ’80s? “Raiders games in Los Angeles… a lot of fun”
- If you could pick one sporting event in the world to attend, what would it be? “World Cup Final”
- Have you ever thrown out a first pitch at a baseball game? “Yes I have, and I’m terrible.”
By Robert Pimpsner (Pinstriped Prospects)
Since the 2001 season, the Staten Island Yankees and the Brooklyn Cyclones have faced off against each other in what can only be considered one of the top rivalries in all of Minor League Baseball, the Battle of the Boroughs. It is a rivalry that is ingrained in the fabric of the communities themselves and was only natural to extend to the field. Long considered “the forgotten borough”, Staten Island has always sat in the shade to its more famous neighbor across the bridge.
Since 2001, the Brooklyn Cyclones have won the McNamara Division four times and the New York-Penn League wild card four times, while the Staten Island Yankees have won the division title six times and had one wild card berth. In all sense of the game, the two New York City rivals have dominated the New York-Penn League since the year 2000.
Throughout the years there have been many memorable moments between the two teams. Emotions run high in these games, and the fans are always on the edge of their seats. You never know what will happen, whether it is a bench clearing brawl like the one that got eight Staten Island players suspended and fined in 2003 or the switching incident in 2008 when Pat Venditte made his professional debut.
Players like Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, Chien-Ming Wang, and Brett Gardner have taken the field against the Cyclones, but one of the most memorable moments came in 2008 when the switch-pitching Pat Venditte made his professional debut. Pat is one of only a few switch-pitchers in professional baseball history. With two outs in his pro debut, the switch-hitting Ralph Henriquez walked up to the plate. The ensuing confusion saw both Venditte and Henriquez switch sides several times before the umpires declared that Henriquez must step in right-handed. Four pitches later Henriquez would strike out and a new rule would have to be created. There are not many players in history who can say a new rule was created because of them.
With this being one of the most intense rivalries in the minors, emotions run high. So high that these teams have faced off in two bench-clearing brawls. The first one taking place in Staten Island on July 17, 2003. In the sixth inning, Yankees pitcher Matt DeSalvo fired a fastball inside that connected with Brooklyn’s Andy Wilson’s helmet. Wilson dropped to the ground immediately, bounced up, took off the helmet, and slammed it to the ground before charging at the mound. The resulting scuffle cleared both benches. After 28 minutes the police and security came over to break it up. Yankees pitcher Brad Blackwell was sent to the hospital to get stitches, and a few days later eight players were fined and suspended.
On August 21, 2006, the Staten Island Yankees were playing the Brooklyn Cyclones at MCU Park. Early on the Yankees found themselves down, 4-1, but in the third inning the Baby Bombers went ahead and had a 9-6 lead over the Cyclones. Staten Island manager Gaylen Pitts was ejected from the game after arguing with the umpire leaving his coaching staff in charge. In the eighth inning, and after the Yankees plated 10 more runs, emotions went wild. Both benches cleared in a massive fight on the field. Running out of the clubhouse and back onto the field was Pitts wearing a tank top, shorts and flip flops heading straight for the fight. After the Yankees went on to win 21-6, Pitts was suspended for three games.
Needless to say these games are among the most popular, always drawing good crowds in both ballparks. The fans are engaged, always ready to cheer for their favorite team and ready for excitement. These games are among the most emotional and competitive for both teams all year. What will happen this year? It is time to find out. Enjoy the game!
We’re now entering the final leg of voting for the Staten Island Yankees 15th Anniversary Team! Only the outfielders remain to be decided. Voting officially closes at noon on Friday, June 6, with an announcement of the full, fan-chosen roster coming later that day. Cast your votes now to help us decide which three (3) outfielders will be featured in our All-Time Greats card set to be given away at three separate games this season!
Continuing with the selection process of our 15th Anniversary Team, voting is now open for the greatest catcher and infielders in Staten Island Yankees history! For each position, one player will be selected by you, the fans. These players will be included in the 12-man roster that will make up our All-Time Greats card set to be given out at three separate games this season. If there’s a player you’d like to vote for, but don’t see their name listed, simply type their name into the ‘Other’ field to submit your vote. Voting for this round is open until noon on Tuesday, June 3. Cast your votes now and be on the look out for the official announcement of our entire 15th Anniversary All-Time Great Team next Friday!
All season long, the Staten Island Yankees will be celebrating 15 memorable years as a member of the Staten Island community. As we reflect on the first 14 seasons, many former Baby Bombers come to mind as individuals who helped shape the history of this franchise. Whether these individuals made it to The Show or not, many of them gave their all to bring six New York-Penn League championships back to the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George. Now we’re asking you, the fans, to help us decide which former players will make up our All-Time Great 15th Anniversary Team! For the next two weeks leading up to Opening Day, we’re opening the polls for you to choose which players will be displayed on our All-Time Greats card set. These sets will be given away at select games this season (specific details coming soon). The first ballot of players consists of the pitchers. The pitchers receiving the top four vote totals will be featured in the All-Time Greats card set. Voting for pitchers ends at noon on Friday, May 30, so vote for your favorites now!
There’s no food that represents a great night at the ballpark better than a well-dressed hot dog. That’s why we asked Baby Bomber fans to nominate which ingredients they would like to see on our official hot dog for the 2014 season. And you guys gave us some great responses! From off-the-wall recipes such as gummy bears and chocolate sauce submitted by Robert Myssura, to more traditional flavors such as sharp provolone, grilled onions and spicy mustard submitted by Stephanie Janetzko, there were certainly some interesting contenders in this contest. However, only one hot dog can lay claim to our official hot dog for this summer. We picked the tastiest ones, and now you can vote on which hot dog will reign supreme at the Richmond County Ballpark at St. George this summer! Cast your votes below and stay tuned to find out which creation you can try at a ball game this season.