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Bright Future for Baseball in Binghamton

(Photo courtesy of Binghamton Mets)

(Photo courtesy of Binghamton Mets)


Baseball has been a constant in Binghamton, NY for a quarter century.  Beginning in the 1992 season, the Double-A franchise for the New York Mets relocated, and planted their roots about 200 miles northwest of their parent club from Queens in Binghamton.  The team has established itself as a fixture in the city of Binghamton since then.  Averaging about 2,700 fans a game and welcoming just north of 188,000 fans through their turnstiles in 2015, the B-Mets have proved they are a valuable asset to their community.

The history of professional baseball in Binghamton is a rich one and dates back to 1877.  Throughout the years teams named the Crickets (1877-1888), the Bingoes (1892-1919) and the Triplets (1923-1968) have called Binghamton home.  In 1949 a 20 year old pitcher named Edward Ford would toe the rubber for the Binghamton Triplets.  He would go 16-5 with a 1.61 ERA in 26 appearances.  25 years later Edward Ford was enshrined into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.  He has been etched into baseball immortality as Whitey Ford.  He is arguably the best ballplayer to have passed through Binghamton so far.

A few years ago, questions began to arise about the future of professional baseball in Binghamton.  Former owner and president of the club, Michael Urda had “no problem” with the franchise being moved upon sale of the team.  Destinations like Ottawa and Wilmington, DE were thought to be the most likeliest of landing spots for the B-Mets.  With relocation, a new identity would of most likely emerged and baseball as we know it today would have ceased to exist in Binghamton.

In stepped the John Hughes headed Evans Street Baseball Inc., who officially acquired the B-Mets on December 23, 2015.  With the deal complete the focus now shifted towards keeping pro ball in Binghamton.  A new team friendly lease was signed with NYSEG Stadium, home of the B-Mets since their inception in 1992, to guarantee their occupancy till at least the year 2022.  There is also a slew of team friendly extensions that could keep the team in Binghamton beyond the foreseeable future.  Hughes and company have also promised to upgrade NYSEG Stadium and continue to improve the the fan experience at the ballpark.

Before minor league baseball became a prospering business operation, teams would sign a player development deal with a major league club and then simply assume the identity of their parent club.  The Binghamton Mets fall into that category.  There was no incentive to create their own identity because their popularity and familiarity resided in their parent club, in this case, the New York Mets.  You knew the Binghamton Mets was the future home of the New York Mets and that any night that you went to NYSEG Stadium to take in a ballgame, you had a chance to see the next face of the Mets franchise take the field for the B-Mets.  16 of the 25 New York Mets on their 25-man World Series roster in 2015 at one time or another passed through Binghamton on their road to the show.

Today minor league baseball has become a booming business.  Much more affordable than a day at a major league ballgame, minor league baseball has become a go-to option for affordable family fun throughout the country.  Fueled by wacky promotions, theme nights, daily deals and some great food, minor league baseball has become a enjoyable event for the entire family.  One selling point is that these minor league teams are forging their own identities.  In recent years we have been introduced to teams like the IronPigs, RailRiders, Fightin’ Phils, Blue Wahoos and most recently the Yard Goats.  These teams are created with merchandise and marketability in mind.  Favorable color schemes and lovable mascots have been created to complete the rebranding of these franchises.

With the future of baseball no longer in jeopardy in Binghamton, the B-Mets announced earlier this year that this would be their last season as the Binghamton Mets and that a complete rebrand was in the works.  In early April fans were able to enter their admission for the future identity of the pro baseball club in Binghamton.  On May 17, 2016 the B-Mets announced the six finalists for their name the team contest.

Sifting through over 1500 submissions by fans, the final names that have been chosen are: the Bullheads, the Gobblers, the Rocking Horses, the Rumble Ponies, the Stud Muffins, and the Timber Jockeys.  The Rocking Horses, Rumble Ponies, Stud Muffins and Timber Jockeys all pay homage to the area’s rich carousel history.  The Gobblers is a nod the the areas outdoorsman lifestyle and the wild turkey population.  The Bullheads is a reference to a fish that is found in the nearby Susquehanna River.

The new team name will be announced in October, after the 2016 season comes to a close.  Fans can go to to vote for their favorite name.  Fans have until June 1, 2016 to cast their votes on what the Double-A professional baseball team from Binghamton will be called for their 26th season and beyond.

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