From the office of Senator Charles Schumer:
Yesterday, Following Schumer’s Push, New York Mets Revealed Their Intention To Keep Their Affiliated Minor League Franchise In Binghamton, Capping Off A Year-Long Push By Schumer To Preserve Baseball In The Southern Tier
Schumer Fought Tooth & Nail To Keep The Rumble Ponies In Binghamton And Secure Their Double-A Classification, Including Meeting With And Bringing MLB & Mets Top Brass To NYSEG Stadium
Schumer: It’s A Great Day To Play Ball In Binghamton!
After yesterday’s announcement that the New York Mets have decided to keep the Rumble Ponies in Binghamton, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today also revealed that the Binghamton team would remain a Class AA affiliate, as they have been since 1987. The senator has fought for over a year to preserve the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, meeting with and visiting NYSEG Stadium with MLB and the Mets’ top brass including MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
“After fighting tooth and nail to keep the Rumble Ponies in Binghamton, and working directly with the Mets and Major League Baseball (MLB) to ensure that MLB affiliated minor league baseball continues to be played in the Southern Tier, the revelation that the Rumble Ponies are here to stay in Binghamton as a Class double-A team is a monumental step in the right direction and nothing short of a homerun for the Mets, Rumble Ponies, and baseball fans throughout the region,” said Senator Schumer. “I have and will continue to work closely with the Mets, including their new owner Mr. Cohen, all local leaders and stakeholders to step up to the plate and ensure a successful season of America’s favorite pastime in Binghamton.”
Schumer added, “The Rumble Ponies have done a tremendous job weaving themselves into the very fabric of Binghamton. That rich history will be unbroken and the love for the game can continue to be discovered and nurtured right here in the Carousel Capital.”
“MLB thanks Senator Schumer for his steadfast leadership on behalf of the Rumble Ponies,” said the MLB. “Due in no small part to his strong support for the team and the community, fans of the Rumble Ponies will continue to be able to watch the next generation of New York Mets take the field every summer. As Major League Baseball works to grow the National Pastime, MLB is appreciative of the support of our elected leaders and all of the communities that play host to future Major League players.”
“On behalf of Steve Cohen and the entire Mets Organization, I want to commend Senator Schumer for his tireless advocacy on behalf of the Rumble Ponies and the city of Binghamton,” said Sandy Alderson, General Manager of the New York Mets. “Having a first class development system is crucial to achieving sustained success on the field, and the Rumble Ponies are critical to that effort. We are proud to have worked closely with Senator Schumer to make that possible, and thank him for his efforts.”
“I want to thank Senator Chuck Schumer for fighting tooth and nail for months, even bringing MLB and the Mets right here to RumbleTown himself, to keep the Rumble Ponies the home of the Mets. Today is a great day,” said John Hughes, Owner of Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
Last November, after hearing that MLB proposed plans to form a new league that would mean the reassignment of four teams across New York state, including the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Schumer sprang into action to keep baseball in Binghamton, writing to MLB to express his concerns about the proposal and urging the league sit down with local stakeholders to work out a plan that would maintain minor league baseball’s strong presence in Upstate New York. Last December, the senator personally met with Commissioner Manfred in New York City to once again urge him to keep the Rumble Ponies in Binghamton.
Additionally, in February of this year, Schumer invited Dan Halem, Deputy Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Jeff Wilpon, COO of the New York Mets, John Hughes, Owner of Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Joe McEachern, President of MiLB Eastern League, Binghamton Mayor Rich David, Congressman Anthony Brindisi, and Broome County Executive Jason Garnar and Broome County Legislature Chairman Dan Reynolds, to tour NYSEG Stadium with him and hear directly from stakeholders themselves.
Senator Schumer has since had numerous calls with Commissioner Manfred and Mets’ ownership, including both Jeff Wilpon and Steve Cohen, to ensure that MLB and the Met’s commitment to Binghamton was unwavering and that the community would be assured that the Met’s affiliate would remain in the Carousel Capital.
Schumer’s original letter, sent in November 2019, to MLB appears below:
Dear Commissioner Manfred,
According to reports in the New York Times and other sources, I understand that Major League Baseball (MLB) is planning to significantly reduce the number of minor league baseball teams that share an affiliation with a major league club. Specifically, reporting suggests that there are plans to reduce the number of affiliated minor league teams from 160 to 118, four of which are New York teams. My understanding is that these teams would instead compete in a newly formed independent league, called the Dream League. Although further details are necessary, reports have suggested that determinations of which teams will lose their affiliation and be reassigned to compete in the Dream League was based in part on the level of interest and investment in the teams and their facilities. Additionally, the reports also indicated that four other New York teams’ business plans may potentially be drastically altered without consulting with team owners, players or the local communities. New York’s minor league teams have always provided players and fans with a high quality experience and safe and reliable facilities, which is why I am so deeply concerned about the impact this proposal may have on local New York communities and strongly urge you to immediately halt this plan, engage with local stakeholders to get their input and perspective. Specifically, while these negotiations are ongoing, I strongly encourage you to sit down with community leaders, team owners and representatives from the Minor Leagues to ensure that all of the parties are able to provide their feedback and propose constructive solutions prior to any decisions being made that will impact their teams and surrounding communities.
In particular, I am deeply concerned about the impact that such a decision would have on local communities across New York. Reports suggest that teams in Auburn, Batavia, Binghamton, and Staten Island may be impacted by this reassignment to the Dream League and if true, I am writing to request that you reconsider such plans. These teams have woven themselves into the fabric of these towns across New York and dramatically upending that relationship could be devastating for those fans and the local communities alike.
Furthermore, the New York-Penn League has a long and proud history with teams throughout the region. Having just celebrated its 80th year, the League has been a staple of summer for fans throughout New York for decades. The NY-Penn League’s short-season schedule has been perfect for New York baseball fans; starting in mid-June following the end of the colder spring weather and running through the remainder of the summer months. The NY-Penn League is also proud to be the first stop for many of the games’ top prospects after the MLB Amateur Draft and there is a deep-rooted affinity amongst fans for many of these players that they have watched grow up and go on to excel in the Major Leagues. Therefore, the potential dissolution of the league is deeply troubling and something I request you reconsider.
In addition to the four teams I mentioned, the reports also indicated that the business plans for the Tri-City Valleycats, Hudson Valley Renegades and Brooklyn Cyclones will potentially be drastically altered. Given the importance of these eight New York teams to their local communities and the fact that conversations between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball on these restructuring and consolidation issues are ongoing, it’s imperative urge to immediately halt these plans, engage with local stakeholders to get their feedback. The decisions regarding the future of these teams is too important to their local communities to be made in a board
Baseball is our national pastime and part of the makeup of our country. This is based in no small part on the fact that baseball can be found across the country, not just in big cities with major league clubs. Therefore, we must do all we can to make sure that communities across the country, but especially in New York, continue to have access to and connection with their local minor league teams. It is critical to ensuring that the fabric of our nation remains unbroken and a love for the game can be discovered and nurtured in communities both big and small.
Thank you for all of the work you do to support and grown the game and for your willingness to take these requests into account as you move forward in this restructuring process. If I can be of assistance in any way in helping to facilitate these conversations please reach out to me or my staff.