Rumble Ponies are All Smiles at 2017 Kickoff Dinner!

The front office of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies kicked off its inaugural season of baseball in Binghamton with a Meet the Rumble Ponies dinner that was held at the Holiday Inn in downtown Binghamton on April 4th. Attendees got to hear about plans for the upcoming season from owner John Hughes while also chatting with the players and getting autographs. Tim Heiman, the veteran play-by-play man for Binghamton’s Double-A franchise, did an excellent job serving as master of ceremonies for the event, which ran from approximately 5:30 to 9:30.

One of the most animated players during the autograph signing session was L.J. Mazzilli, who first played for Binghamton during its 2014 championship postseason. He entertained attendees with some expert bottle flipping as he took periodic breaks from signing autographs.

a1 mazzilli flip IMG_5468

Mazzilli shows off his bottle flipping skills during a break from signing autographs.

Also on hand was Rowdy, the friendly bronco who serves as a mascot for the Rumble Ponies. One of the highlights of the dinner was the announcement of the winning selection for his moniker; the fans voted to name the mascot during offseason online balloting. There was a rumor spreading during the dinner that Rowdy is a cousin of Casper the Friendly Ghost, but this reporter could not verify that speculation. Rowdy showed no inclination to rumble during the night, instead showing a friendly mien for all fans.

IMG_5360

Rowdy, the friendly mascot, poses for photo with season ticket holder Maria Kutz.

The Rumble Ponies open the season on the road against New Hampshire and Portland, so when the team returns to Binghamton for opening night on April 13th, the players might very well feel as if they are playing in the tropics! Returning players for the Rumble Ponies this season include Alberto Baldonado, Casey Delgado, Mickey Jannis, Luis Mateo, Tim Peterson, Tyler Pill, Kyle Regnault, Kelly Sechrist, Colton Plaia, L.J. Mazzilli, Jeff McNeil, Matt Oberste, and Champ Stuart. Highly rated prospects that are new to Double-A include closer Corey Taylor, lefty starter P.J. Conlon, catcher Tomas Nido, shortstop Luis Guillorme and third baseman David Thompson. The one player who has major league experience is right handed pitcher Cory Burns, 29, who last year played independent ball at Lancaster.

roster Scan0481

The official roste for the 2017 Rumble Ponies, released by the front office of the Rumble Ponies. 

 

Intriguing story lines/questions for this year’s team include:

1. Will Champ Stuart cut down on his strikeouts and increase his batting average to establish himself as a prospect? Stuart is an outstanding defender in center and has great speed.

2. How long before highly regarded righty starter Chris Flexen joins the team? He is currently rehabbing from a minor injury

3. Will Corey Taylor continue his dominance as a closer at the Double-A level? If he performs as he did at St. Lucie last season, Taylor will dramatically move up the organizational prospect list. He is a hard-throwing right hander who just might remind Binghamton fans of Jeurys Familia.

4. Will Tomas Nido continue to excel at the plate at Double-A? He is an outstanding defensive catcher who won the batting championship in the Florida State League last year.

5. Will Cory Burns revitalize his career with the Rumble Ponies? In 2013 he pitched to a 3.18 E.R.A. for the Texas Rangers in 11 games. Last year he pitched for Lancaster Barnstormers in the independent Atlantic League. (Remember, Josh Smoker rekindled his career with a stint in Binghamton in 2015. Today he is pitching at Citi Field!)

IMG_5567

Matt Oberste, left, and Tyler Pill provide veteran leadership for the Rumble Ponies in 2017.

Promotional nights in Binghamton this season include an appearance by Darryl Strawberry (July 2nd), four Bark in the Park nights, and numerous giveaway nights. For information on these promotions, go to http://www.milb.com/promotions/index.jsp?sid=t505.

Posted in 2017 Mets prospects, baseball, Binghamton, Binghamton Rumble Ponies | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Message from Your Rumble Ponies! Meet the Ponies on April 4th!

aaa-cake-img_2344

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES... 
Baseball season is right around the corner and it’s time to start lining up our 
sponsors for the very first “Meet the Ponies” event on Tuesday, April 4th at the 
Holiday Inn in downtown Binghamton. This inaugural event will provide support to 
the team to kick off an exciting season.   The theme of this year’s event is 
“old time baseball” with many exciting events planned and the ultimate raffle 
item of a limo ride and tickets to Citi Field for a game.  Our $325 sponsorship 
package includes your company’s name on all promotions, a reserved corporate 
table with four tickets, ten reserved grandstand tickets to opening night and 
more importantly, the assurance that a Rumble Ponies player will join you for 
dinner at your table.   
 
INDIVIDUAL TICKETS 
Individual dinner tickets are on sale for $35, which includes one reserved 
grandstand ticket for opening night.  Dinner tickets are available to 2017 
Rumble Club members for only $30.  All fans will receive an inaugural season 
mini bat which is perfect for team autographs. 
 
GENERAL INFORMATION 
 
Festivities kick off promptly at 5:30 PM; however, sponsors will have the 
ability to enter early at 5:15 PM.  Dinner will be served at 7:00 PM followed by 
a special baseball program which will include an interview with new Rumble 
Ponies Manager Luis Rojas and introduction to coaches and players of the Rumble 
Ponies.  In addition, Rumble Ponies owner John Hughes will highlight stadium 
improvements, and provide an overview of our exciting upcoming promotions.  
These include a special appearance by Darryl Strawberry, our first partnership 
for “We Care Wednesdays” with the United Way of Broome County and  A Night in 
the Twilight Zone just to name a few.  Baseball fans of all ages will find this 
home-run event full of fun and excitement – with opportunities to meet future 
stars of Citi Field, collect autographs and win Binghamton Rumble Ponies 
memorabilia. 
 
Call the Rumble Ponies to get your tickets at 722-3866.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Binghamton 2014 EL Champs Battling for Spots in Spring Training

Though such players from Binghamton’s 2014 Eastern League Championship as Steven Matz, Hansel Robles, Matthew Bowman and Michael Fulmer are firmly entrenched in the big leagues entering the 2017 season, the majority of the members of that team are still yearning to make the major leagues their permanent home. A trip to the minor league fields of Port St. Lucie means seeing many from that championship team, including Jayce Boyd, LJ Mazzilli, Tyler Pill, and Tim Peterson. A handful of others are still in major league camp with the Mets, though a ticket to Las Vegas seems inevitable for the likes of Chase Bradford, Kevin Plawecki, Matt Reynolds, Paul Sewald, and Travis Taijeron.

On March 11th Jayce Boyd was getting a full day of practice in with this year’s minor league crop for the New York Mets. One of his batting practice teammates was none other than Tim Tebow. Boyd helped some fans navigate the backfields to get Tebow’s autograph, while also readily chatting with some fans who made the trip from Binghamton. Boyd still remembers the double he hit to right-center to bring home the championship for Binghamton in 2014, as it gave the team a 2-1 win over the Richmond Flying Squirrels in Game 3 of the Championship Series.  Boyd is looking forward to having a good season in 2017, the second year of his comeback from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, which is the same surgery that Matt Harvey had last year.

a1 jarrod boydIMG_4306

Jayce boyd chats with  New Smyrna Beach resident Jarrod Lunde, who had come to watch Time Tebow work out. Boyd helped Lunde secure Tebow’s autograph.

“I’m looking forward to this season,” explained Boyd. “Last year I was still learning about my body, as it was the first year I felt 100% in many years. Now I know what to expect from my body and I’m looking forward to getting into a routine.” Boyd spent last year in both Las Vegas and Binghamton and though Vegas is only one step from the big leagues, Boyd doesn’t really care where he winds up. “The key for me is just getting at-bats and repetition, and whether I get that in Binghamton or Vegas isn’t as important as just going out and performing,” explained Boyd.

Luis Natera, Binghamton’s longtime hitting coach was also roaming the backfields of St. Lucie. He readily chatted with the fans and told the Binghamtonians who were in camp that he was excited about the enhancements to the stadium, especially the new batting cage. “That’s going in behind the outfield fence, behind where the bullpen used to be, right?” asked Natera. “I think the players will love that new cage,” emphasized Natera.

IMG_4218

Michael  Conforto signs a few autographs on the backfields of St. Lucie. 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rumble Ponies Team with M-E World Champions to Unleash New Uniforms!

The front office of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, with the help of the Maine-Endwell Little League World Champions, showed off new uniforms on the stage of Maine-Endwell’s Middle School on December 14th. The team now has four new uniforms—the traditional home and away uniforms are complemented with an alternate and batting practice uniform. An added treat for all fans is that the player’s name will appear on the home jerseys. The home jerseys will have “Rumble Ponies” written in script across the chest. The road jerseys will have “Binghamton” in script across the chest, while the alternate jersey will have “New York” across the chest. The batting practice jersey will be dark blue, with “Rumble” across the chest. The home and alternate jerseys will be white, while the traditional road jersey will be grey.

a1-team-pose-img_3589

The M-E Champions Show Off the four uniforms for the Rumble Ponies.

The Rumble Ponies Booster Club was well represented at the ceremony, with approximately a dozen members on hand. Jeanne Smith, a member of the Boosters who also happens to work at Homer Brink Elementary School, enjoyed seeing the Maine-Endwell team on the stage of the middle school. “They’re such a good bunch of kids, it’s good to see them involved in the community and of course it’s great to see the new uniforms as well.”

a1-fans-clap-img_3559

It’s all cheers for the the new uniforms on December 14th. 

During the brief ceremony Jim Weed also announced that all season ticket holders will be able to purchase Rumble Pony jerseys at cost. Remember, you can follow the Rumble Ponies at @RumblePoniesBB on Twitter, RumblePoniesBB on facebook, and Bingrp.com on the web.

a1-weed-interview-img_3600

Rumble Ponies General Manager Jim Weed addresses the media after the ceremony. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rumble Ponies: More than a Moniker!

The featured speaker at the final meeting of the year for the Binghamton Baseball Boosters was Eddie Saunders, Director of Marketing and Promotions for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. Saunders spoke for about a half hour to the membership and then took questions for about 10 minutes. The boosters celebrated the dawn of a new era for baseball in Binghamton with a celebratory cake.

aaa-cake-img_2344

Everyone at the meeting enjoyed a piece of cake in celebration of Bingamton’s new moniker.

Saunders explained the lengthy and twisting road behind the selection of the new moniker for Binghamton’s Double-A franchise. The journey started with online balloting before the 2015 season even starter, as names were submitted via the internet until early May. From the 1500 or so names that were submitted, the field was netted down to five additional names besides the eventual winner:   Bullheads, Gobblers, Rocking Horses, Timber Jockeys, and Stud Muffins. It then took about seven months to be in position to announce the winning entry. The ingredients into choosing the winner included online voting from the fans, input from a third-party branding company, and the Binghamton Mets staff. In the end, Rumble Ponies was selected; it not only was the top vote getter, but also had an interesting story behind it as well.

aaa-shirt-img_2349

Denis Wickham proudly displays his new T-shirt.

A few days earlier, during the rebranding ceremony held at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, the submitter of the name, Binghamton’s own Nicole Schneider, explained that the “carousel horses sleep in the winter and come alive in the spring.” Nicole was quoting from the book “The Carousel,” a children’s book authored by Liz Rosenberg, a professor at Binghamton University. “That phrase, about horses coming alive in the spring really resonated with the staff,” mentioned Saunders. “It mirrored a baseball season.”

Up until the announcement day on November 3rd, only three staff members knew the new moniker. Explained Saunders: “It was important that we keep the name a secret and we kept it under the covers, so to speak.” Saunders is excited about the upcoming season and not only because of the new moniker for the team. “There will be a party deck in right field, a new entrance to the stadium in right field and a an enhanced Kids’ Zone. Also, a new outdoor batting cage is being constructed.”

These enhancements will enhance the overall fan experience. Also, contributing to the rebranding effort, the team store will be changing its name from The On-Deck Circle to The Armory, which will have steeds of all shapes and sizes pictured on a plethora of shirts, jackets, caps, and other trinkets. Over the next two years, the theme of the carousel will be shown in other naming conventions throughout the park.

aaa-coffee-img_2346

Scott Manchester shows off Binghamton’s favorite brand of coffee.

Perhaps the biggest surprise during the meeting, however, was the special bag of coffee that Scott Manchester, a multi-year member of the boosters, brought to the meeting. While recently traveling, Scott and his wife came across a unique brand of coffee—“Rumble Pony” coffee. On the back of the packet, the supporting text reads: “Carousels, bastions of summer nostalgia that also happens to be the cheapest answer to “Daddy, can I have a horse?” Rumble Pony is our tribute to the faithful flying steeds who have never once bucked off your child. With notes of strawberry, chocolate, and lime, a relaxing walk in the park is only a brew away.”   

Rumblings: During the meeting it was also announced that the boosters have some tickets for the Binghamton Senators game on December 10th available for only $ 10.00. Send an e-mail to bmetsboosters@gmail.com if you are interested in purchasing a ticket (limit of two; for the third ticket and beyond, the cost is $14.00 per ticket).

Also, very shortly we’ll be changing the URL of this site, check back often!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A New Era Dawns in Binghamton

This morning the Binghamton Mets officialy became the BINGHAMTON RUMBLE PONIES, the culmination of a season-long rebranding mission of owner John Hughes and his staff. On May 17th of this year a list of over 1500 names was whittled down to six names: Bullheads, Gobblers, Rocking Horses, Rumble Ponies, Timber Jockeys, and Stud Muffins. During the season fans were encouraged to vote online and in a half-hour ceremony this morning at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, RUMBLE PONIES was named the winner.

img_1631

The ceremony eliminated the candiates until only RUMBE PONIES remained. 

Binghamton’s Nicole Schneider submitted the winning entry, explaining she has been coming to games at Binghamton since the team began play in 1992. She started coming to games with her grandfather and now takes her children to the games. “I wanted the team’s name to capture the spirit of baseball and Binghamton,” explained Schnedier in describing her winning entry. “My kids and I ride the carousels of Binghamton and we read in a book that the ‘carousel horses sleep all winter and awake in the spring’ and that’s just what baseball does,” Schneider elaborted to the filled auditorium as part of the celebration.

img_1695

Schneider proudly displays Binghamton’s new logo with Hughes on her right. 

John Hughes mentioned that the book that spurred Schneider’s entry was THE CAROUSEL, written by Bingahmton University professor Liz Roxenberg (illustrated by Jim LaMarche) in 1995. As part of the ceremonies, Hughes presented an author-autographed copy of the book to the school as a mememto of the day’s events.

aaa-celebrate-img_1650

RUMBLE PONIES was christened with a corybantic show of confetti.

Binghamton’s Rumble Ponies represent a collection of horses that no “carousel pole can contain.” Greater Area Binghamton baseball fans no doubt hope that no opposing team will be able to corral its hometown heroes.

img_1732

The logos of the Rumble Ponies!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Tyler Jennings, Binghamton’s Sports Turf Manager, Dispenses Knowledge Seeds to the Boosters

During its September membership meeting the Binghamton Baseball Boosters learned what it takes to keep the playing surface at NYSEG Stadium in tip-top shape throughout the year from Tyler Jennings, the Sports Turf Manager for the Binghamton Mets. Tyler conducted a question-and-answer session for approximately 45 minutes, as he shared some of his strategy for keeping the players happy, the grass green, the infield soft, and the overall stress manageable.

09202016-meeting

Tyler makes a point to the Binghamton Baseball  Boosters on September 20th.

When things do not go well for a pitcher, the pitcher’s mound can be a lonely place, an island that leaves the hurler exposed to his teammates and the fans in the stands. For Tyler, the mound is his workplace and he takes pride in making sure a pitcher’s poor performance cannot be traced to the condition of the mound. “One of the more stressful nights I had last season was when Jim Henderson was here on a relief assignment. Here’s this major league guy getting some rehab work and all of sudden it starts to rain while he’s pitching. He’s moving around on the mound as the rain falls, trying to get traction and then I have to go out and load some clay on it and do some manicuring.” Tyler’s hands now are moving almost as fast as his lips as he completes his story. “So I’m trying to get Henderson happy on the mound, with Pedro and Abby monitoring my every move. Nobody wants to see a player get hurt because the mound is slippery or has a rut in it. That whole day I’d been checking the weather, knowing Henderson would be starting and it wasn’t even supposed to rain that night. That was stressful, fixing the mound on the spot, with the players supervising my every move and the fans in the stands getting impatient with the stop in play.”

hendersonabbotimg_0970

As Jim Henderson sipped some water, Tyler was hoping the rain would hold off on July 1st. But the rains came, and Tyler had some nervous moments. 

The key for Tyler and his crew to keep the players and officials of the New York Mets satisfied with the playing condition of the field day after day is to follow the mantra of “Safety First.” Tyler explained, “The field has to be a place where the players have confidence in the field supporting their every move. Everything we do on the field is done with the player’s safety first and foremost. I’m constantly walking the field, making sure everything is the way it should be,” emphasized Tyler.  “In my conversations with representatives of the New York Mets, including Sandy Alderson, we always come back to those two words of ‘Safety First.’ Keeping those two words first and foremost serves as a guiding principle for us.”

Tyler makes sure he has a good rapport with the players and some take a personal interest in what he does—and when they do, it can even lead to an increase in performance.  “One day I was sitting in the dugout with Dominic Smith and he asked me why we didn’t put an inside line in the batter’s box, the one that’s closest to the edge of the plate. I told him that’s just the way we’ve done it through the years.  Now, most fans in the stands, they wouldn’t even notice the rectangle wasn’t closed. But Dominic said he preferred the line to be there.” During his conversation with Smith, Tyler learned that the umpires often use that inside line as a frame of reference for evaluating whether an inside pitch is a strike or not.  “Dominic felt he was losing some calls on the inside of the plate, that a frame of reference was missing that the umpires use to judge the inside corner. So that made sense and from then on we chalked up a complete box for the hitters. It tuned out even the catchers liked it when we closed the box.” It must be noted here that Smith went on to have a great season in Binghamton, hitting .302 with 14 homers and 92 runs batted in.

Tyler’s goal every year is to have his field be named the Eastern League Field of the Year. The last time Binghamton won the award was 2012 and Tyler anticipates attaining that honor in the near future. “I’d love to bring that award home for our area. I’ve lived here my whole life here and feel fortunate to have stayed in the area. To have majored in Sports Turf Management and to be putting that degree to good use is a big thrill.”

During this offseason Tyler will be extra busy as stadium enhancements will begin soon and while that construction is going on, Tyler’s responsibility will expand to help make sure the needs of the contractors are met. “I won’t be working the 14-hour days that I do a home stand, but the offseason will be busy nonetheless,” noted Tyler.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment