BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT) – The Binghamton Rumble Ponies are not taking their proposed extinction lying down.
Team owner John Hughes held a news conference inside the team locker room today with Binghamton Mayor Rich David and Senator Fred Akshar.
Hughes says he plans to lobby hard against a planned restructuring of minor league baseball that would lead to the elimination of 42 farm teams nationwide, including the Ponies.
Hughes says Binghamton does not fit any of the criteria set forth in the proposal for choosing which teams to contract.
He says recent upgrades to NYSEG Stadium make it fully in compliance with minor league standards, they offer top flight transportation and hotel accommodations and the city is geographically situated to offer short travel distances.
“This is an assault on America’s pastime, and the ability of millions of Americans who don’t live near big cities to keep enjoying it. The current plan demolishes community pride, eliminates jobs from players and teams, destroying long-standing franchises including small business franchise value. All of this is being done for an estimated impact of $660,000 per Major League Baseball team,” says Hughes.
Hughes, David and Akshar all touted the 9 and a half million dollars worth of upgrades that have been made to the city-owned stadium in the nearly 4 years that he has owned the team.
Improvements in the seating, lighting, field and facilities were paid for with state and city money as well as funds from Hughes himself.
David says the renovations were done at the request and direction of New York Mets CEO Jeff Wilpon who should now do what he can to keep the team in Binghamton.
Under the proposal, the Mets double-A team would move to Brooklyn to replace its single-A team there.
All 3 men encouraged fans and members of the community to express their opposition directly to Major League Baseball.