STATEN ISLAND, NY- It was a great night for baseball in St. George. With a second consecutive banner raised before the opening pitch, the Baby Bombers came out and delivered on the field by posting a come from behind 6-3 victory over their archrival Verrazano rivals the Brooklyn Cyclones.
A night after dropping the season opener 5-1 at Keyspan Park, it was first-year skipper Mike Gillespie’s ballclub who returned the favor to setup a rubber game later tonight at Coney Island.
But what made this season’s first victory so special was the combination of the rivalry and overwhelming support Staten Island got from a packed house. Something that wasn’t common in recent seasons despite on-field success.
“It’s thrilling. It’s great. Look around,” beamed GM Jane Rogers.
Under the brand new Mandalay Sports management, the Baby Bombers are hoping to change people’s minds by offering more bang for your buck. Hence. The ever popular five-game Pinstripe Plans. For $75, you get great seats along with all the hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches you want plus soda. The response on night one was overwhelming with many happy faces.
“I’m partly responsible,” Rogers said after being personally thanked by a fan. “Especially the New York Yankees and Mandalay Sports. Their hard work and I believe we’ve come through. We’ve pulled it off without a hitch and everybody loves it.”
Fans who purchased these plans not only are being taken care of at the ballpark but also have become a integral part of the Yankee family with a special gift plus a future meeting at Yankee Stadium with GM Brian Cashman. Toss in an Old-Timer’s Day which is coming to Richmond County Bank Ballpark this summer and you have a winner.
“I think it’s great. To be able to eat, drink and have a good time at the game. It’s a great idea,” one fan boasted. “Absolutely. Have more promotions and you’ll get more people to the games.
With more support in the stands making for a terrific atmosphere, some Baby Bombers took notice.
“This is actually my second season with the Yankees and last season, it was a lot different,” pointed out shortstop Luis Nunez. “A lot of fans. A lot of loyal people. They really like us and they want us to win. So it seems like it’s going to be a fun season.”
It wasn’t lost either on second-year closer Nick Peterson either after closing out the Cyclones in the ninth for his first save.
“This was exciting. Especially the first game,” he said. “New York fans are the best fans. They enjoy the game. They know the game and it’s a pleasure playing in front of them.”
“The fans really came out and supported us. … It was a blast. It’s been a while. It was a lot of fun getting out there and playing in front of people in an atmosphere,” noted catcher Brandon Ketron.
He also understood the importance of getting that first ‘W.’
“It’s key. It’s nice to go ahead and get it out of the way so that everybody can kind of go out and just play now.”
The rivalry against Brooklyn also helped.
“I’ve never really played in a rivalry that I think is going to be this competitive. In high school here and there. But with 8,500 fans and the teams not liking each other, it should make for a fun season,” Nunez added.
Most importantly though, it was a successful night all around the ballpark. Something which wasn’t lost on Rogers.
“Everybody is happy. And that’s what we want. Happy fans. They’ll be back.”