Letter from Assemblywoman Lupardo to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred

Rob Manfred, Commissioner
Major League Baseball
245 Park Ave.
New York, NY 10167

Dear Commissioner Manfred:

I am writing regarding Major League Baseball’s proposal to restructure Minor League Baseball. According to recent reports, the plan that is being considered by MLB would eliminate 42 minor-league teams, several of which are in New York. This list includes the Mets’ AA affiliate, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, a franchise that has been located in my district since 1992.

Baseball has been a tradition in Binghamton for more than 100 years; we have been lucky enough to witness championships, as well as current and future Hall of Famers here. From the Binghamton Triplets, to the Binghamton Mets, and now the Rumble Ponies, fans throughout the region have taken pride in local, minor-league baseball for generations. Tens of thousands of fans visit our downtown stadium each summer and, in the process, provide a boost for nearby restaurants, pubs, shops, and hotels.

As reported, the proposal from MLB aims, in part, to ensure that Major League prospects have high-quality facilities in which to train and play. Under the ownership of John Hughes, the Rumble Ponies have invested millions of dollars into NYSEG stadium to completely transform both the player and fan experiences. The new bullpens, batting cage, improved Kids Zone, and Party Deck down the right field line, along with the family-friendly terrace seating on the third base line, have breathed new life into the stadium.

Baseball is America’s pastime; with professional teams playing here over the course of 100 different seasons, it’s safe to say that it is Binghamton’s pastime as well. Minor League Baseball not only trains future Big League stars, it also introduces new generations of fans to the sport. Not only would the elimination of our Binghamton franchise rob tens of thousands of long-time fans of their love of the game, but it also jeopardizes growing the popularity of the sport by taking away an accessible and affordable option for local fans to watch live and introduce baseball to their children.

MLB’s short-sighted proposal fails to take into consideration how important Minor League Baseball is to smaller communities like ours. I strongly urge you to reconsider this proposal and instead explore options that help grow the game in New York and across the country.

Donna A. Lupardo
Member of Assembly