What do you do on a Thursday night in Binghamton while waiting for the state track meet on Friday and Saturday? Go see a minor-league baseball game, of course. A few notes on the game between Binghamton and Richmond, just for fun:
- Rumble Ponies? Really? What's up with that? As baseball fans have noticed, minor-league teams prefer to have unique nicknames these days as opposed to just coping their major-league affiliate. Therefore, the traditional name of "Mets" needed to go. But what should replace it? A contest was held, and "Rumble Ponies" was the winner. It's a tribute to the fact that the city has six old-time carousels. Other finalists included such names as Gobblers, Bullheads, Rocking Horses, Stud Muffins and Timber Jockeys. You can pick up plenty of items with the team logo on it at the gift shop.
- NYSEG Stadium looks pretty conventional for a Double-A park (the team is part of the Eastern League). There is one interesting part of the park beyond the left-field fence. Train tracks run in that area, and - sure enough - in the middle of Thursday's game a train rumbled by. The only other park I've seen that has that feature is the old one in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Bill Murray owned a share of that team.) The fans there yell "Train!" when one goes by, and it happens a lot. Binghamton's fans should try it.
- When the visiting pitcher got an out, a group of about 10 fans behind the third-base dugout burst into applause. Turns out that Matt Gage, your Flying Squirrels' starter, pitched for Broadalbin-Perth High School, which is located north of Amsterdam in the southern Adirondacks. Gage went seven good innings to earn the win, pleasing the family and friends who apparently made the drive to Binghamton for the game. Also at the game were some teams taking part in the state high school baseball championships this weekend in that same stadium.
- Corey Oswalt of the Rumble Ponies had a strong first inning on the mound, but left after one or two warmup pitches at the start of the second inning with some sort of injury. It looks like the Mets' farm system isn't immune to the epidemic that has struck the major league team's starting pitchers. Poor Kelly Secrest had to come in on no notice, and usually that's really bad news for all concerned except opposing batters. Here's how the top of the second went for Richmond: Double, single, sacrifice fly, double, homer, homer, strikeout (pitcher), homer, walk, single, wild pitch, single, line out. Thankfully for Secrest, the third inning of the game was much better.
- It's said you usually see something new every time you go to a baseball game. Here's Thursday's oddity. Richmond led Binghamton, 6-3, after three innings, with the teams combining for 11 hits. For the next six innings, neither side had a hit. They were both 0 for 18. It sure makes for a spotless scorebook, but a few more hits would have been nice from a spectator's standpoint.
OK, enough baseball. I'll be off to the state track meet today. Follow along at #preptalklive.