B-Mets to be rebranded for 2017, other changes coming
In less than 100 days since taking over as owner of the Binghamton Mets, John Hughes has already begun shaking things up. Thursday night Hughes announced several changes coming to the team in the near future including a full rebrand and name change for the 2017 season.
Hughes and the B-Mets held a special season preview event for major sponsors, local politicians and dignitaries, and other invited guests at Terra Cotta on Thursday to make several major announcements including the planned rebrand.
The B-Mets will begin the process of renaming the team starting on Opening Day, April 7th when fans can begin submitting their name choices on the team's website. From there, the top choices will be narrowed down by April 25th for a fan vote. The official name will be unveiled in October of 2016 with uniforms, logos, and mascots to follow.
The B-Mets have been the Double-A affiliate of the New York Mets since 1992 and are celebrating their silver season in 2016. But after that celebration the Binghamton Mets will cease to exist and a new name will be chosen. The team will still be the Double-A affiliate of the New York Mets and will remain in Binghamton for the foreseeable future. But despite the history, changing the name of the team was an easy decision.
"Believe it or not that was an easy decision. I know there can be some heartburn from some fans from it. But what I'm looking to do is to strengthen the ties between the team and the community," said John Hughes, new owner of the B-Mets. "I want the community to really be able to identify with this team as well as this team be a proud representative of the Binghamton heritage, the Binghamton name, and have something that community can relate to. So that's what was behind the decision, to make this a community team."
In addition to the new name for 2017 Hughes announced changes to NYSEG Stadium including increased concession options, new promotions, a remodeled clubhouse store, expanded kids play area, a B-Mets party deck, and renovated right field gate.
The NYSEG Stadium souvenir store on the lower concourse behind home plate has been completely remodeled, practically down the studs, and will feel much more open and accessible than it's been in years previous. The B-Mets have also partnered with the MiLB.com store to make online purchases easier.
In terms of concessions, Hughes announced that Professional Sports Catering will handle all catering throughout the stadium giving fans more food options than ever before. The existing concession stands will be revamped with digital menu boards. An emphasis will also be placed on fresh and high quality food.
The primary draw of minor league baseball is the promotions and the B-Mets have some big events planned for their silver season. New York Met fan favorite and 1994 Eastern League Champion Edgardo Alfonzo will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Night, and if that wasn't enough, the game balls will be delivered by Army Paratroopers... via the air. Opening Night will also feature a 60 degree guarantee, if the temperature is below 60 degrees at the start of the game all fans in attendance will get a free ticket to a game later in April. Other promotions throughout the year include Bark at the Park, giving fans the ability to bring their dogs to the stadium and one night where 500 pounds of candy will be dropped onto the field from a helicopter.
Changes to the physical structure of NYSEG Stadium include a renovation of the right field gate and kids zone. The gate itself will soon feature electronic ticket kiosks allowing fans to park in the main parking lot and not have to walk all the way down to the box office to purchase tickets. The Kids Zone will be expanded to include a playground and a safety net along the fence protecting kids from foul balls. The biggest obstacle is that the planned location for the playground is where the B-Mets bullpen is currently. Another exciting addition to the right field line is the planned B-Mets Party Deck. The Party Deck will be located over the existing right field picnic area/concession stand. The idea is that fans will be able to walk along the upper concourse past the current end of the concourse onto the deck to enjoy a unique angle of the game with friends and coworkers. Likewise, it appears that the concession stand and the current right field picnic area will be accessible underneath and in the shade. If this is the case, the Party Deck seems to also serve as protection from foul balls for fans standing in line at the concession stand.
Hughes said that, specifically in regards to the Party Deck and parts of the expanded Kids Zone, these may not be implemented for the 2016 season, but in the near future. Adamant that these are not "John Hughes" ideas, the team's new owner applauds his front office staff and the fans for the ideas saying that he's simply the facilitator. But one thing's for sure, Hughes plans will help put skeptical minds at ease that the B-Mets are here to stay.
Hughes told those in attendance at Terra Cotta on Thursday that the B-Mets are committed to Binghamton for years to come. He added that he's had conversations with New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon who firmly expressed his wishes for the Mets Double-A affiliate to remain in Binghamton.
The B-Mets open the 2016 season, and kick off their rebrand process on April 7th at home against the New Hampshire Fishercats.