ST. GEORGE, Staten Island (WABC) -- The New York Yankees are making major Minor League moves -- and the Staten Island Yankees didn't make the cut.
The team has been dissolved as the Yankees restructure its minor league system, but officials on Staten Island promise that baseball will continue at Richmond County Bank Ballpark.
The changes announced by the New York Yankees Monday have caused all teams to reevaluate and streamline their minor league systems, and as a result, the Yankees will reduce their overall number of minor league teams from 10 to six.
Fans said it was a sad day for baseball in New York and Borough President James Oddo was at a loss.
"This is more than baseball, I can't have an empty stadium," Oddo said. " I can't have the perception and sort of the mental blow of an empty stadium."
Staten Island has been home to a minor league Yankees team for 20 years. But when the Major League Yankees moved to consolidate their minor league teams, Staten Island didn't make the cut.
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Other restructuring changes include at the Double-A Level, the Yankees are moving their affiliation from Trenton to Somerset, New Jersey. Additionally, at the High Single-A Level, the Yankees will now be aligned with Hudson Valley. Also, the Yankees' Tampa affiliate will shift from a High Single-A designation to Low Single-A.
The Yankees apparently lost confidence in the Staten Island organization and are turning to the Hudson Valley Renegades, who play in Wappingers Falls, New York.
"As a result of our decision, we found it essential that the people of Staten Island continue to have baseball, and we appreciate and thank them for their support. The borough of Staten Island will always be a part of the Yankees family. We are committed to working diligently with Major League Baseball, the City of New York Economic Development Corporation, and Staten Island Borough President Oddo to ensure that a team from Baseball's new partner - the reconfigured Atlantic League - will be playing there this season."
The Staten Island Yankees released a statement Monday morning after learning of the decision on social media.
"The Staten Island Yankees made every effort to accommodate MLB and New York Yankees requirements, including securing a commitment from New York City for ballpark upgrades. However, MLB and the Yankees chose not to engage in any discussions with us."
The borough president described the move as a punch in the gut.
"The writing was on the wall unfortunately," Oddo said. "We still have a wonderful stadium, it needs a little tender loving care, needs a new synthetic turf to allow us to do baseball and beyond. But it is with a vista that's unparalleled."
"Restructuring our minor league affiliations - especially with the additions of Somerset and Hudson Valley - gives us greater continuity to streamline and improve the development of our minor league system," said Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Cashman. "The relationships we have formed with all of our teams will allow for a more consistent application of training with similarly aligned facilities in terms of structure, quality and ease of travel. We are confident that these changes will greatly benefit our players and Yankees fans for many years to come."
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