Binghamton Mets Baseball
On Sunday, July 11, 2004, I took in a Double-A, Eastern League baseball game just
south of Boonville on Route 81 in Binghamton. It was my first of many future trips
to NYSEG stadium.
The field, located in downtown Binghamton, is very fan-friendly. There are many
attractions located throughout the park, including a radar gun station for kids
to test their throwing speed, a series of picnic tables for families to enjoy the
delicious concessions they have (including terrific sausage and peppers and barbecued
ribs), and a wonderful mascot that interacted terrifically with fans of all ages named
Buddy-Bee. It was definitely a welcoming environment for anyone wishing to spend a
few hours watching America's pastime.
Another compliment to the ballpark was the Mets' Hall of Fame Wall. What a nice surprise
to see the plaques of former players, both major leaguers and career minor leaguers, who
excelled while they were members of the Binghamton ball club. Included on this Wall of
Fame are such superstars as Whitey Ford, Clete Boyer and John W. Jackson (who played
under the name of Bud Fowler), the first professionally paid black baseball player.
Longtime player Ken Oberkfell manages the Mets. Oberkfell was absent from the helm on Sunday
afternoon because he was chosen to be a coach in the Minor League Futures Game that is
held in conjunction with the Major League's All-Star game also being held that week (an
honor his team helped him achieve with a 51-37 record). In his absence, the Mets were
managed by former New York Mets fan-favorite Howard Johnson. It was a real treat to see
him managing the game since it was always a true joy to watch him as a player. He was a
throwback to the Major Leaguers of yesteryear. Rounding out the coaching staff was former
Los Angeles Dodgers lefthander Jerry Reuss who won more than 220 games during his 22-year
career in the major league.
The Mets have a solid team with a lot of promising young players. They showed hustle
and dedication to the game. They were professional in every aspect. They showed that this
level of baseball was much different than the New York-Penn League play that I was used
to when the old Utica Blue Sox played at Murnane Field. It was a treat to watch this team,
and I urge everyone to make the short trip south to take in one of their games. It is
inexpensive and fun-filled, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
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My name is Lou Parrotta. I am a Social Studies Teacher at Thomas R. Proctor High School in
Utica, New York, and I also am the Coordinator of Continuing Education at the Utica School
of Commerce in Utica, New York. I am a lifelong baseball fan, and have been a frequent
to the The Diamond Angle as a guest writer. I am currently a Sports Columnist with the Boonville Herald & Adirondack Tourist and the features writer for www.LegionBaseball.com. I once was employed by the New York-Penn League, and I am a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, the Ted Williams Museum, the Negro Leagues Museum, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York.
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