The annual Meet the Ponies dinner was held in downtown Binghamton on Wednesday as fans had a chance to shoot the breeze with the New York Mets of tomorrow.

"We've been doing it since 1998. It's been a largely successful event, it's our opportunity to introduce the team to the community, also to welcome them to Binghamton with a nice meal," said Binghamton Rumble Ponies interim General Manager Richard Tylicki.

Fans were invited to the Holiday Inn to receive autographs and familiarize themselves with the Ponies' preliminary roster as new players get accustomed to living in Binghamton. The event has happened annually since 1998 with Binghamton baseball memorabilia up for auction along with a dinner for fans.

Tim Szczesny, a board of directors member of the Binghamton booster club says he's been coming for years and knows the event is mutually beneficial for fans and the players.

"People don't realize the talent and the prospects that come through on Major League Baseball, especially through Binghamton," Szczesny said. "To see these guys here every single year and the past teams that have played through Binghamton, it's just great. And then when you go to New York, I've actually had experiences where I've talked to the players there and they say, hey, I remember you, it's great to see you. I've been to Chicago, Brandon Nimmo has talked to me. It's always great to find that connection with the players."

Another benefit of the event is having fans interact with stars off the diamond. Szczesny said he feels the event humanizes players to the average fan.

"It makes them a part of our community," Szczesny said. "It shows that these are players, they're young, talented prospects of Major League Baseball, and we all wish we were in their shoes, but it actually puts a face to the back of the number on the jersey and shows that, hey, you guys are here, we're here. We're all here together to enjoy this wonderful sport of baseball."

Szczesny continued to say how special it was that the last time Ponies fans saw the team play was in the postseason, something this team hopes they can repeat this year.

"Postseason baseball is always amazing in Rumbletown and hopefully we're going to have that happen again here," Szczesny said. 

The Ponies' season opener is scheduled for 6:35 pm on Friday against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Tune into Fox 40 News at 6 & 10 on Thursday for our full Ponies preview.