My Saturday began on the field of NYSEG Stadium. Friday had resulted in a rainout and the tarp was covered in two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen. My $24.00 New Balance sneakers are mesh, and as I looked down the first baseline and saw
galoshes and work boots, it was evident that I was not
prepared to pull tarp. But, the Binghamton Mets staff is
like a band of brothers and I wasn’t about to let my
friends soak their socks without lending a hand.
Before taking over for Pat Newell as the sports editor at
The Evening Sun, I spent four years working a ticket office window and operating a camera at NYSEG Stadium. Over the years I have grown close to the collection of personalities that encompass the B-Mets staff. We shared laughs, played in
a softball league, had hot dog eating contests, sumosuit
wrestling matches and dozens of spedie races.
Have you ever tried to sprint for 50 yards in a schmedium Lupo’s mascot suit designed to look like a spedie sandwich? It can be harrowing.
But back to the tarp. In Binghamton, it rains often. So morning tarp pulls become second nature as the
season wears on but on game day two, after a rainout, not everyone is in midseason form.
As the interns dragged their feet in puddles of rain, there was some confusion as to where the bright silver field protector should be folded. Needless to say, on the first tarp pull after a rainout, we had to do it twice.
Like the famous scene from Miracle when U.S.A. hockey
coach Herb Brooks made the team condition after a
game, General Manager Jim Weed bellowed “Again!” The twenty or so staff members hurried to the edge of the outfield, latched onto the tarp and pulled with the fresh legs of spring, getting it back on and off the field in
a matter of minutes. When Jim Weed speaks, people listen.
The Binghamton Mets are coming off of the best season
in their history. 13 year manager Pedro Lopez led Binghamton to a franchise record 86 victories and an
Eastern League title in his second season at the helm.
The Mets fell to the Trenton Thunder in the Eastern
League Division Championship series and many of their players were moved up. However, the incoming roster is not without talent.
Three members of the 2014 B-Mets were All- Stars at another level last year. Kevin Plawecki and Jayce Boyd were both South Atlantic League Mid-Season All-Stars. Dustin Lawley
earned Mid-Season and Postseason honors in the Florida’s State League, while also being named the league’s most valuable player.
NYSEG Stadium, at 211 Henry Street in Binghamton,
broke ground in August of 1991 and cost $4.6 million.
With a seating capacity of 6,013 and countless promotions
and activities, it is a great place to spend a weekend.
“(NYSEG Stadium) is a family friendly atmosphere.
You get to watch the game and see a fireworks show,
also the concessions prices are fair so you get a great
‘bang for your buck,’” said Box Office Manager Joseph
Pascarella. “You also get to see a good amount of players
that will make up the future New York Mets,” Pascarella said.
The average Chenango County family has plenty of reasons to make the trip to Binghamton this season. “The kids like the ‘Fun Zone,’ they can take pictures and hang out with the mascots. Some kids really like to score the game with their
Dad, plus there is ice cream and Dip’n Dots,” said Pascarella.
Joseph has worked for the B-Mets since 2011 when he started as a box office intern. He took over the Box Office
Manager position in 2012 and has done a great job ever
since. “It’s cool making new friends every year and I
enjoy satisfying the fans and being part of the community,”
The B-Mets are working on drawing a bigger crowd from counties across New York State, including Chenango County. “We plan on doing a door to door sales campaign, offering some discounted group rates and making some ground in the
local media outlets,” said Pascarella. The B-Mets are
currently celebrating the 100th season of baseball in
Broome County with tribute card strip giveaways. The
car strips include three cards of former players or teams
like the Bingos and the Triplets.
If you enjoy a good fireworks show, there will be 21
impressive fireworks shows this season, including one on
May 17th for the Wounded Warriors amputee softball game. If you're worried about making the trip to NYSEG Stadium in the spring, and the game being rained out, Joe Pascarella has a guarantee for you. “We’ll do our best to exchange the ticket
for another game if they plan on coming back. We’re going to offer our best customer service so they can
come back to any game, it’s a guarantee,” said Pascarella, “if they can’t make it back this season there is a possibility of a trade for a ticket the following
The B-Mets split the doubleheader on Saturday during
a cold barrage of country music walk ups and run
scoring doubles. Right handed pitcher Rainy Lara made
his Double-A debut. New catcher Kevin Plawecki, was
the other half of a mid second inning ‘strike em’ out,
throw em out’. Returning outfielder Cory Vaughn had
the easiest stolen base of his career, when he went from
first to second before the pitch was even thrown.
Returning infielder Wilfredo Tovar then doubled and a
hustling Vaughn came in to score.
Akron Rubberduck Fransico Lindor hit a two run homerun in the third inning and the score was tied at two, mid third. First baseman and sixth round draft pick, Jayce Boyd hit a two out double, scoring two runs. Returning reliever
Adam Kolarek has a career ERA under three and he
showed why Lopez trusts him, when he struck out Bryson Myles to end the sixth inning. Brian Burgamy stabbed a hot liner out of the air with his glove in the final
inning to record the second out and the B-Mets would
go on to win the first of two seven inning games, 6-2.
On a chilly day, filled with moustache cams and delicious buffalo Tornado’s, I spent the evening in the visiting clubhouse, carefully hanging up the Akron Rubberduck’s freshly washed uniforms. Just under 2,000 fans attended
Saturdays’s doubleheader as baseball begins in Binghamton.