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Rumble Ponies Welcome New Owner as City Announces 23-Year Lease Extension for Double-A Mets

November 22, 2021 - Double-A Northeast League (AA Northeast) - Binghamton Rumble Ponies News Release

BINGHAMTON, NY - Mayor Richard C. David and the Rumble Ponies announced a 23-year lease extension at Mirabito Stadium early Thursday morning. As part of the agreement, $3.1M has been allocated to bring the facility into compliance with MLB's new Facility Standards. The New York Mets Double-A team, which has been playing in downtown Binghamton since 1992, will now be able to call Mirabito Stadium home through 2045. "Signing a long-term lease is the final piece in securing baseball in Binghamton for a generation and beyond. Today's announcement means the rising stars of Major League Baseball will continue to thrill fans and families at Mirabito Stadium for decades." Said Mayor David, "I thank John Hughes for his leadership tenure with the franchise and I'm excited about the next chapter of professional baseball in Binghamton."

Additionally, effective today, New York-based Southpaw Resources LLC, led by David Sobotka, will assume ownership of the Rumble Ponies from John Hughes, Jr. of Evans Street Baseball. Sobotka is looking forward to expanding on the hard work and foundation laid by Hughes over the past 6 years. "We are beyond thrilled to join the Rumble Ponies and Mets family and be part of the bright future of professional baseball in Binghamton for many years to come. We will work tirelessly to keep earning the support of the entire Binghamton and Southern Tier communities while continuing to bring an exceptional baseball experience to fans and players alike."

Sobotka has already jumped into his new role, working closely with Mayor David to extend the lease for Mirabito Stadium. In the coming weeks and months, Southpaw will be focused on working with the City of Binghamton on plans to improve Mirabito Stadium to meet the new standards set forth by Major League Baseball. Mayor David noted, "Not that long ago, the future of baseball in our community was in doubt. Keeping our team was a win, but it meant meeting Major League Baseball's new facility standards. With City Hall as an active partner in Binghamton's baseball future, we're making the necessary investments at Mirabito Stadium to secure a long-term lease extension. Working with David Sobotka, we've built the groundwork for a smooth transition, and more importantly, made sure Binghamton's stadium can host future Major League Baseball stars for the next generation."

Sobotka also announced that John "JB" Bayne will stay on and continue as the General Manager of the Rumble Ponies, along with the entire staff who will remain in their current roles with the team.

"Thanks to Senator Akshar, Mayor David, John Hughes and everyone else that's been involved in the relationship we've enjoyed with the Binghamton community," said Mets President Sandy Alderson. "Double-A is an important step in the process for players to develop into Major Leaguers and we appreciate that our team in Binghamton is in close proximity to Queens."

Evans Street Baseball, led by John Hughes Jr., saved baseball in Binghamton when Hughes purchased the team from Mike Urda and partners in December of 2015. Over his tenure, Hughes worked tirelessly to give back to the community, improve the fan experience, and modernize an outdated stadium. In partnership with Mayor David, Senator Akshar and Mr. Hughes, over $9 million dollars has been invested into the ballpark to replace seats, install new video scoreboards, build hospitality areas to draw fans to the stadium, and improve player amenities. Senator Fred Akshar said, "John Hughes is the #1 reason we still have professional baseball in Binghamton. On behalf of our community's families and baseball fans from across the Southern Tier, I'd like to express our deepest gratitude to John and his entire team for investing the time, resources and care needed to create the unprecedented excitement, momentum and success of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies we know today. Over the past several years, their commitment to our community has enabled me to work with our partners like Binghamton Mayor Rich David to secure funding for sweeping, transformative upgrades to Mirabito Stadium's facilities and fan experience. Today's announcement signals a renewed commitment to baseball in Binghamton, and I look forward to working with David Sobotka and the Southpaw Resources Team to continue building on the success of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies."

Hughes created a new chapter of baseball in Binghamton when he rebranded and gave the community an identity of their own after 25 seasons as the B-Mets, bringing the Rumble Ponies identity to life.

Hughes had this to say about his time as the Owner of the Double-A Mets, "The past 6 years have been an absolute dream come true. I am humbled and honored by the work that has been done, the experiences I have had and the friendships I will carry with me the rest of my life. From day one I have said, this team belongs to this community, so while it's a tough day for me personally, I have peace knowing the future of the Rumble Ponies is so bright."

With a rich history of baseball in the Southern Tier, the Rumble Ponies look forward to continuing to be an integral part of the fabric of the community under the guidance of the Southpaw team, the Mets, and the City of Binghamton. Get ready as the vision for the 2022 Binghamton Rumble Ponies unfolds and exciting updates are laid out for the fans!

The Binghamton Rumble Ponies open up their 2022 season at home on

Tuesday, April 12th vs. the Bowie Baysox. Season Tickets are on sale now, with Flex Books available for purchase the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 26th.

Remember to follow the Rumble Ponies on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for the most up to-date team information @RumblePoniesBB.

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