Beating the Bushes

Minor-League Ball Flourishes in the Shadow of the Mets and Yanks

The Staten Island Yankees have no such complications, entering their second season at the College of Staten Island, with an $80 million, taxpayer-subsidized waterfront stadium set to open in 2001. The team holds its first Bat Day on July 16, and eagerly awaits the first "Verrazano Bridge" series once the Kings relocate to Coney. It could produce some strange rooting allegiances, admits Staten Island co-owner Josh Getzler: "We have Mets fans who come to us because we're the local team."

The Yankees regularly sell out their home park, and the two affiliated clubs are only likely to get more attention once the new stadiums open. But if indie-league believers are right, leagues like the NY-Penn are dinosaurs. "I honestly think independent baseball is the future of the minor leagues," says Jackals manager Kash Beauchamp, son of onetime Met Jim, and a Northern League alum. "Major League salaries are getting to the point now where I think in 10 years, each club will have three minor-league teams and the independent leagues will do the rest."

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