02.24.20

FOLLOWING HIS RELENTLESS ADVOCACY, SCHUMER BRINGS MLB TOP BRASS DIRECTLY TO NYSEG STADIUM TO MEET DIRECTLY WITH STAKEHOLDERS & COMMUNITY LEADERS TO SEE FACILITY AND ASSESS ALL OPTIONS BEFORE ANY PLAN IS FINALIZED; WITH TEAM’S FUTURE UNCERTAIN, SENATOR STEPS UP TO THE PLATE TO SHOW MLB BINGHAMTON’S ALL-STAR TRACK RECORD

With Loss Of The Rumble Ponies’ MLB Affiliation On Deck , MLB Heeds Schumer’s Call And Visits NYSEG Stadium With Senator

Schumer, Continuing To Fight For the Rumble Ponies, Announces Binghamton Event With MLB Deputy Commissioner And Local Stakeholders

Schumer: MLB Needs To Step Up To Plate & Play Ball With Southern Tier Stakeholders

Following his previous advocacy, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today brought Major League Baseball (MLB) and Minor League Baseball (MiLB) top brass to NYSEG Stadium in Binghamton, New York, on Monday to discuss the future of Minor League Baseball in Broome County, to hear directly from local stakeholders, and to view the top-notch facilities themselves. Schumer was joined by Dan Halem, Deputy Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Jeff Wilpon, COO of the New York Mets,  John Hughes, Owner of Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Joe McEachern, President of MiLB Eastern League, Binghamton Mayor Rich David, Congressman Anthony Brindisi, and Broome County Executive Jason Garnar and Broome County Legislature Chairman Dan Reynolds.

“I’m happy to bring the MLB and New York Mets with me to Binghamton today so they can see firsthand the top rate facility and program the Rumble Ponies have to offer,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer. “It’s clear that the benefits of the team in Binghamton go well beyond their accomplishments on the field. Whether, its students wearing Rumble Ponies gear on campus, or their mascot Rowdy visiting a local school, the Rumble Ponies are not just a baseball team but a part of the glue that holds our community together. That’s why I think preserving this incredible team and the quality of baseball that is played here absolutely paramount.”

In November, news reports revealed that MLB proposed plans to take 42 teams that are currently affiliated with Major League teams and reassign them to compete in a newly-formed league, called the Dream League. Reports indicated that MLB’s proposal would mean the reassignment of four teams across New York State: the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Batavia Muckdogs, Auburn Doubledays and Staten Island Yankees—and an alteration of the business plans of the Tri-City Valleycats, Hudson Valley Renegades and Brooklyn Cyclones.

After learning of the proposal, Schumer wrote to MLB to express his serious concerns, request the league sit down with local stakeholders to discuss the plan and search for constructive solutions that would maintain minor league baseball’s strong presence in Upstate New York. In December, Schumer met directly with MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred in New York City urging preservation of the teams. In the time since, MLB met with representatives of MiLB and team owners to work through and negotiate potential plans in further detail. Schumer is now urging those conversations to continue and for all of the parties to negotiate in good faith to figure out a way to preserve baseball throughout Upstate New York.

A copy of Schumer’s original letter to MLB appears below.

Dear Commissioner Manfred,

According to reports in the New York Times and other sources, I understand that Major League Baseball (MLB) is planning to significantly reduce the number of minor league baseball teams that share an affiliation with a major league club. Specifically, reporting suggests that there are plans to reduce the number of affiliated minor league teams from 160 to 118, four of which are New York teams. My understanding is that these teams would instead compete in a newly formed independent league, called the Dream League. Although further details are necessary, reports have suggested that determinations of which teams will lose their affiliation and be reassigned to compete in the Dream League was based in part on the level of interest and investment in the teams and their facilities. Additionally, the reports also indicated that four other New York teams’ business plans may potentially be drastically altered without consulting with team owners, players or the local communities. New York’s minor league teams have always provided players and fans with a high quality experience and safe and reliable facilities, which is why I am so deeply concerned about the impact this proposal may have on local New York communities and strongly urge you to immediately halt this plan, engage with local stakeholders to get their input and perspective. Specifically, while these negotiations are ongoing, I strongly encourage you to sit down with community leaders, team owners and representatives from the Minor Leagues to ensure that all of the parties are able to provide their feedback and propose constructive solutions prior to any decisions being made that will impact their teams and surrounding communities.

In particular, I am deeply concerned about the impact that such a decision would have on local communities across New York. Reports suggest that teams in Auburn, Batavia, Binghamton, and Staten Island may be impacted by this reassignment to the Dream League and if true, I am writing to request that you reconsider such plans. These teams have woven themselves into the fabric of these towns across New York and dramatically upending that relationship could be devastating for those fans and the local communities alike.

Furthermore, the New York-Penn League has a long and proud history with teams throughout the region. Having just celebrated its 80th year, the League has been a staple of summer for fans throughout New York for decades. The NY-Penn League’s short-season schedule has been perfect for New York baseball fans; starting in mid-June following the end of the colder spring weather and running through the remainder of the summer months. The NY-Penn League is also proud to be the first stop for many of the games’ top prospects after the MLB Amateur Draft and there is a deep-rooted affinity amongst fans for many of these players that they have watched grow up and go on to excel in the Major Leagues. Therefore, the potential dissolution of the league is deeply troubling and something I request you reconsider.

In addition to the four teams I mentioned, the reports also indicated that the business plans for the Tri-City Valleycats, Hudson Valley Renegades and Brooklyn Cyclones will potentially be drastically altered. Given the importance of these eight New York teams to their local communities and the fact that conversations between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball on these restructuring and consolidation issues are ongoing, it’s imperative urge to immediately halt these plans, engage with local stakeholders to get their feedback. The decisions regarding the future of these teams is too important to their local communities to be made in a board 

Baseball is our national pastime and part of the makeup of our country. This is based in no small part on the fact that baseball can be found across the country, not just in big cities with major league clubs. Therefore, we must do all we can to make sure that communities across the country, but especially in New York, continue to have access to and connection with their local minor league teams. It is critical to ensuring that the fabric of our nation remains unbroken and a love for the game can be discovered and nurtured in communities both big and small. 

Thank you for all of the work you do to support and grown the game and for your willingness to take these requests into account as you move forward in this restructuring process. If I can be of assistance in any way in helping to facilitate these conversations please reach out to me or my staff.

Sincerely,

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