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Hughes: B-Mets are the community's team

In the 24 hours since new B-Mets owner John Hughes announced plans to rebrand the Binghamton Mets for the start of the 2017 season, the reactions have been mixed. On the Fox 40 Facebook page some area residents were open and intrigued by the idea while others were upset, subscribing more to the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" school of thought.

While the idea of renaming the Binghamton Mets to a nickname unique to the area is intriguing and follows the trend of Minor League Baseball, it's sure to upset some fans. The B-Mets have been around since 1992 and, while the newly renamed team will remain the Double-A affiliate of the New York Mets, it brings to a close a 25-year chapter of the franchise's history. It may surprise some, that when the B-Mets came into existence in 1992, the tradition for the Eastern League was for minor league teams to share the names of their major league affiliates, i.e., Canton-Akron Indians, Albany-Colonie Yankees, London Tigers, Reading Phillies, and New Britain Red Sox. In 1992 only the Harrisburg Senators (Montreal Expos) and Hagerstown Suns (Baltimore Oriloes) did not share their affiliates names.

Fast forward to 2016. Of the 12 teams in the Eastern League the B-Mets are the only team that shares a nickname with their big league affiliate. That is, unless you count the semi-rebrand of the Reading Phillies to the Reading Fightin' Phils back in 2013. So, perhaps, as much as it may seem wrong to do so, it's about time the "Mets" moniker be retired for something more Binghamtonian.

For those critical of Hughes for changing things this drastically inside his first 100 days, he assures that talk of a rebrand has been going on for years before he took over, he's simply a facilitator. He also assures that while he may own the team, the B-Mets belong to the community.

"They own it as well as I do. The Binghamton Mets are not John Hughes' team. The Binghamton Mets, this baseball team, belongs to the community, plain and simple," Hughes said. "That's what I want to do is return it to the community, have it be identified with the community, and tie it to the community."

The process for renaming the B-Mets begins on April 7th when fans can submit their desired nicknames for consideration on the B-Mets website. On April 25th, Hughes and the front office staff will announced the six finalists from the pool of contenders and put those options up for a fan vote. The new name will be revealed in October.

The B-Mets open their 25th season at home on April 7th against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Former B-Met and New York Met great Edgardo Alfonzo will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.