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Rumble Ponies success noticed by Eastern League

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One year ago, Binghamton baseball fans were mourning the end of the Binghamton Mets era and many were vocally dreading what was to come.  The team would be known as the Bullheads, Gobblers, Rocking Horses, Rumble Opines, Stud Muffins, or Timber Jockeys.  What were they thinking, right?  In November the new name was announced and the Binghamton Rumble Ponies era was underway.

Fast forward to baseball season and fans were amazed at the changes made to NYSEG Stadium, colloquially dubbed "Rumbletown."  At any given game there were probably more fans wearing Rumble Ponies gear this year than there were fans wearing B-Mets gear last season.  Attendance was up, even if marginally, of course the franchise records for home rainouts and total rainouts didn't help.  The best part?  The changes are still coming.

Rumble Ponies Owner John Hughes has promised many more changes in the months and years to come, and renewed his commitment to keeping the team in Binghamton.  Part of that promise came over the summer with the #BingItHome campaign to bring the Eastern League All-Star Game to Binghamton.  It worked, and NYSEG Stadium will host the 2020 showcase.  That promise was renewed again as, for the first time since Binghamton rejoined the Eastern League in 1992, the Eastern League meetings were held here.

Representatives from all 12 Eastern League teams met at the Holiday Inn Arena on Wednesday, and will resume their yearly summit on Thursday.  The front office members discuss the previous year, what promotions went well, what ones did not.  As Hughes says "Minor League Baseball is a place where stealing ideas is encouraged, and Binghamton will be more of a contributor than in the past."

So far so good.  Overall, the Eastern League likes what it sees from the Rumble Ponies first year.

"We're thrilled what's gone on here.  We're thrilled with what John has done, what the staff has put together, we're thrilled with the way the community has responded.  It needed some attention," says Joe McEacharn, Eastern League President.  "We weren't paying attention to the community.  Things like this event, like the All-Star Game, the commitment John has made to the stadium, the public-private partnership, the fans have come out, there's been engagement, it's everything we could have hoped for.  We're just delighted with it.  It was long overdue here.  It's wonderful.  When people got upset about it we knew it was going to be a smashing success because the vocal minority will speak up.  The worst is if nobody cares, no emotion, but when people get upset about it, it means they care.  That's what we're looking for.  It's rolled out really well and I think it's helped cement who the team is, and that's part of the community."

The Rumble Ponies open their 2018 season on April 5th at home against the Portland Sea Dogs.