The Staten Island Yankees announced Thursday that they are ceasing operations and filed a lawsuit against the Yankees and MLB "to hold those entities accountable for false promises."
The false promises, the minor-league team said in a statement, include "repeated assurances we would always be a minor league partner" of the major-league Yankees. Staten Island was the Yankees’ short-season Class A affiliate for 22 years until last month, when the Yankees dumped Staten Island in favor of Hudson Valley, a franchise in Dutchess County.
That change is part of MLB’s takeover and contraction of the Minor League Baseball system. It is reducing the number of teams from about 160 to 120 ahead of the 2021 season. Some of the clubs losing their affiliation can join independent or amateur leagues.
"This would force Staten Island to field a subpar team with players that have no connection to the Yankees farm system," Staten Island’s statement read. "Additionally, this would require additional expenses including payroll for players, coaches and staff. Unfortunately, that additional expense and the loss of the connection to the Yankees in our shared city makes it impossible for the Staten Island Yankees to pursue this business model.
"The best thing we can do for the community is to step aside and let others try to save baseball in Staten Island."
Staten Island said "a portion of any settlement or jury verdict" would go to Staten Island charities.
When the Yankees revealed in November that they were leaving Staten Island, the minor league team said it didn’t find out until the public did, when the Yankees made the announcement. The Trenton Thunder, who were the Yankees’ Double-A team for 18 years, said the same. Trenton recently joined the MLB Draft League, which will be comprised of amateurs eligible for the draft.