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Binghamton Mets renamed Binghamton Rumble Ponies

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The Mets’ Double-A affiliate has changed its name.

milb.com

The Binghamton Mets have been renamed the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.

In April 2015, thanks to a 68-page federal lawsuit filing alleging breach of contract, the public learned that the owners of the Binghamton Mets were looking to sell the team and had been for some time. According to information in the lawsuit, team owners Mike Urda, David Maines, Bill Maines and George Schere came “very close to consummating a transaction” multiple times but had failed to finalize each potential deal. The lawsuit between the Binghamton Mets and the potential buyer—Main Street Baseball, Inc.—was settled out of court in May 2015, but the future of the franchise remained murky. Main Street Baseball, Inc. remained interested in buying the club, and later that year, the dominoes that would mean the Binghamton Mets would leave the city began falling.

Main Street Baseball, Inc. never purchased the team, and it was instead sold to Evans Street Baseball, Inc. in December 2015. Evans Street Baseball, Inc. was interested in not only keeping the Binghamton Mets franchise in Binghamton but investing in it and the city. According to John Hughes, president of Evans Street Baseball, Inc. and soon-to-be president of the B-Mets:

“The Binghamton Mets will continue to play at NYSEG Stadium and provide an exciting atmosphere for loyal fans. Having a Double-A, New York Major League Baseball affiliate in the Southern Tier is a tremendous opportunity, so great attention will be focused to ensure the team has top-grade facilities and the infrastructure necessary to develop Major League talent. We want to be a contributor to the rebirth of the Southern Tier and create a memorable, unique, fun, and affordable fan experience each and every time. As a leader who takes an active hands-on approach, I am committed to upgrading the fan experience, improving community outreach programs, and establishing NYSEG Stadium as a community jewel.”

Hughes was keen on addressing the attendance problem at NYSEG Stadium. Regardless of how good the team on the field is, or where the team is in the standings, the Binghamton Mets have perennially been near the bottom in attendance, reflecting the economic woes of the city of Binghamton due to the outsourcing of manual labor and tech jobs. Even in 2014, when the B-Mets captured their first Eastern League Championship in twenty years, the team only drew 171,279 paying fans for the year- down from 185,093 in 2013 and well below every other Eastern League team by a considerable margin.

Among the upgrades that Hughes spoke of were changes to NYSEG Stadium, such as increased concessions and facility renovations, and increased promotions. In April 2016, as the Binghamton Mets season began, team owner John Hughes announced that the club would be undergoing a rebranding, and that the team would no longer be known as the Binghamton Mets past the 2016 season. During the press event in which the announcement was made, Eastern League President Joe McEacharn said, “Having the opportunity for the community to take ownership of the team both in some of the stadium things he's talking about and branding it and naming the team, the community starts to take ownership, and it's their team. There's a sense of civic pride which we think will extend. I think John's passion and embrace of Binghamton will be returned. For me it's a win-win.”

A few weeks later, the organization revealed that the names the general public had submitted had been narrowed to six choices: the Binghamton Bullheads, representing the tough and resilient character of the Binghamton community, characterized by the bullhead catfish; the Binghamton Gobblers, representing the rich outdoorsman culture of the area, characterized by a turkey; the Binghamton Rocking Horses, Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Binghamton Stud Muffins, and Binghamton Timber Jockies, all representing carousels and Binghamton’s status as “Carousel Capital of the World.”

In June, the public began voting. The organization tallied the votes and announced that the Binghamton Rumble Ponies won the vote. “I’m confident they’re going to be proud of it. It proudly tells a story of Binghamton. For the first time in 25 years, we’ll have a name that reflects Binghamton, and not the team in Queens,” said Hughes.

The Mets have been affiliated with Binghamton since 1992, when the Mets purchased the Williamsport Bills and moved the franchise upstate. Numerous players that played in Binghamton have gone on to play in the major leagues, most notably David Wright and Jose Reyes, both of whom own numerous single-season and career Mets record. Others notable Binghamton Met alumni include Generation K—Jason Isringhausen, Bill Pulsipher, and Paul Wilson—Bobby Jones, Butch Huskey, Edgardo Alfonzo, Rey Ordonez, Preston Wilson, Octavio Dotel, Aaron Heilman, Scott Kazmir, Carlos Gomez, Daniel Murphy, Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell, Nick Evans, and numerous members of the current Mets roster.