Yanks form partnership for Class A club

Yanks form partnership for Class A club

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The Yankees are taking a more active role in the operations of their Minor League affiliates, starting with Class A Staten Island of the New York-Penn League.

The Yankees announced Thursday that they would join forces with Mandalay Baseball Properties to operate the Staten Island franchise, offering several new perks to season-ticket holders in the process.

"I really think this is going to be a great opportunity," said Yankees president Randy Levine. "There were serious mistakes made here by the previous management. They weren't bad people, it was just too big a job for them. We're going to step in and deal with this with the intensity that we do with everything else."

The press conference, held at the St. George Theatre in Staten Island, included appearances by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, general partner Steve Swindal, Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, Mandalay Baseball Teams president Jon Spoelstra and Guy Molinari, the former borough president of Staten Island, who emceed the event.

According to Swindal, the Yankees and Mandalay will each have equity in the franchise, with Mandalay running the day-to-day operations. The Yankees are also working on a similar arrangement with Scranton-Wilkes Barre, the team's new Triple-A affiliate.

"Economically, we've always put on the show," Swindal said. "It's like providing the talent to a Broadway theater; you bring all the actors but don't get any of the gate. Something doesn't seem right about that."

To entice fans to purchase season tickets to the Staten Island Yankees, the club is offering several benefits to its ticket holders:

Priority for Yankees playoff tickets: SI Yankees ticket holders will have priority to purchase New York Yankees playoff tickets before they become available to the public.

New York Yankees premium game priority: SI Yankees ticket holders will have an opportunity to buy tickets to games against the Red Sox, Mets and other premium games before the general public.

Old Timers' Game: While the Old Timers' Game in the Bronx has always been a big hit, the fans in Staten Island will be treated to their own version of the event. A second Old Timers' Game will be played in Staten Island, with season-ticket holders receiving exclusive tickets to the game. There will also be autograph sessions for ticket holders.

Exclusive gifts: The Staten Island Yankees will choose the best giveaway the Bombers have to offer in 2007 and give it to their season-ticket holders, who will receive one gift for every ticket they purchase. Ticket holders will also receive one New York Yankees cap for each of their tickets.

A day at Yankee Stadium: Staten Island ticket holders will be invited to attend a Yankees game in the Bronx. The fans will be allowed into the ballpark an hour before it opens to the public, where they can watch batting practice, take a tour of Monument Park and attend an exclusive meeting with Cashman.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.