The Chairman of the Broome County Legislature and the Deputy Town of Union Supervisor are sending their own letter to the Commissioner of Major League Baseball in a pitch to save the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.

WNBF News/Roger Neel Photo

The letter from Daniel Reynolds and Union Trustee Thomas Augostini comes following published confirmation that MLB is looking at possibly eliminating some minor-league teams. 

Binghamton was among dozens of clubs listed for possible elimination or conversion into a dream-league in an effort by Major League Baseball to restructure its model to better manage pay, schedules and player development.

The November 19th letter from the local lawmakers appeals to Commissioner Robert Manfred Junior as “a fellow Upstate New York native” to reject the idea of eliminating Binghamton from the Minor Leagues.

Reynolds and Augostini call the proposal ill-advised and say upstate New York communities like Binghamton have been facing challenges and struggles daily. The letter says “We can’t take another punch to the gut. We are tired of hearing the words elimination and relocation.”

Augostini and Reynolds are the latest in a long list of political figure weighing in against the proposal, including U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Congressman Anthony Brindisi, New York State Senator Fred Akshar, Broome County Executive Jason Garnar and Binghamton Mayor Richard David, among others.

WNBF News/Roger Neel Photo

The full content of the letter from Reynolds and Augustini follows:

November 19, 2019

 

I trust this letter finds you well after a very successful 150th year of Major League Baseball which concluded with an incredibly exciting and historic World Series win by the Washington Nationals. As we head toward a season of Thanksgiving in which we count our blessings and then into the Christmas Holidays where we focus on giving and end one year and start another as we reflect on the past and prepare for the future, those of us in the Binghamton and Broome County, NY area are feeling nervous and unsettled as media outlets are reporting that Professional Minor League Baseball in our community is nearing the end.

 

The Triple Cities (Binghamton, Johnson City & Endicott) has held a long and vibrant tradition of baseball close to our hearts which has included Minor League affiliations in both the NY-Penn League and Eastern League. The Binghamton Triplets had seasons in the NY-Penn League from 1923 to 1937 and then into the Eastern League from 1938-1963 and then back into the NY-Penn League in 1964- 1966 and back into the Eastern League from 1967-1968 before taking a 24 year break and re-entering the Eastern League in 1992. In fact, the Eastern League of Professional Baseball was founded in Binghamton, NY at the Arlington Hotel on March 23rd, 1923. With the exception of a just a couple of seasons the Binghamton Triplets, Binghamton Mets and Binghamton Rumble have enjoyed warm relationships with both the NY Yankees and NY Mets. Binghamton is a baseball town!

 

The Greater Binghamton, NY area has produced great talent even though the conventional thinking is that the Northeast is incapable of this accomplishment. From the great Johnny Logan of the Boston/Milwaukee Braves (Endicott, NY) to Steve Kraly (1953 NY Yankees World Series Champions) who settled in Johnson City, NY after his playing days to Joel Bennet to John Pawlowski to Jim Johnson and let's not forget umpires Ron Luciano (author of five books) and Joe Mickel.

 

With a rich and deep history of baseball, the Binghamton area deserves to be a market in Professional Minor League Baseball (MiLB). Several print articles have pointed to the Houston Astros data metrics as a determining factor that the number of MiLB teams can be eliminated because of technology that can simulate game situations and determine major league talent without the expense of a bloated minor league baseball system. Houston is wrong! Minor League Baseball communities are the backbone and feeder system for players, managers, trainers, umpires, front office personnel and most importantly, FANS! This ill-advised plan to eliminate professional baseball in Binghamton, NY after this community has supported professional baseball for nearly 100 years is disheartening and disingenuous. Can the system be amended or tweaked to meet your goals, absolutely. Does it need a complete overhaul, absolutely not.

 

As a fellow Upstate New York native, I am sure you are keenly aware of the challenges and struggles that face our communities on a daily basis. We can't take another punch to the gut. We are tired of hearing the words elimination and relocation. Mr. Commissioner, you cheered and rooted in 2016 for the team from Endwell, NY to take the title of Little League World Series Champions in Williamsport, PA and they did. One of the coaches from that team, Matt Raleigh, played for the Binghamton Mets and transferred his knowledge to those kids who shocked the World! Coach Raleigh did not play in the Major Leagues but his continuous contribution to the community and the game of baseball are at a Major League level. Communities of MiLB need your leadership and support more than ever in working toward a solution that allows small towns like Binghamton, NY to be included and part of the most inclusive sport of all-time, the game of baseball.

 

We welcome you to the 2020 Eastern League All-Star Game in July to witness our rich tradition and passion for baseball coupled with our warm hospitality as the best and brightest of the Eastern League meet for an extraordinary event.

With great hope we are,

Daniel J. Reynolds                                     Thomas R. Augostini Chairman, Broome County Legislature Deputy Supervisor, Town of Union