2024 Program - Issue 9

A Run to Remember

By: Tim Heiman

When the temperature dips in Septem- ber and Friday night rolls round in the Southern Tier, the Binghamton Mets, and professional baseball for that matter, aren’t exactly high on the local’s list of things to see. As the summer weather is put in the rear- view mirror, so too are the boys of summer. Their time has passed. The days of humid August nights watching the future New York Mets were sweet, but those days are gone. Shorts and T-shirts have been replaced with jeans and hoodies. First pitch has given way to the opening kickoff of the local high school football game. The seventh-inning stretch has ceded to the cheerleading squad’s halftime perfor- mance. The B-Mets log another season, they fail to claim the Eastern League title and everyone moves onto the next attraction in September. It’s an annual cycle that every- one became accustomed to. That all changed in September 2014. The Stage is Set It is Friday, September 12th. Under overcast skies and with the ther- mometer just barely touching 49 degrees, Joe Pascarella opens the windows to the NYSEG Stadium box office a few minutes before 9:00 AM. As manager of ticketing for the team, he is prepared to oversee the biggest moment in the stadium’s history since 1994. Before he can even settle into his chair, a fan has already made his way to the box office window. Why is he here so early? He wants to purchase tickets to tonight’s game; Game 3 of the Eastern League Championship Series. The B-Mets own a 2-0 series advantage and they are just one victory shy of clinching the league title, something no team in the Southern Tier has done in two decades. Just as soon as Mr. Pascarella completes the transaction, another fan approaches the window. And then another. And another. The steady stream of ticket seekers continues through- out the day.

on June 10, the B-Mets outscored their opponents 18-6, while collecting 22 hits and blasting five home runs. The victories started a six-game winning streak and a 17-3 stretch. Just a week later, the B-Mets clubhouse would install a revolving door. On June 19, Binghamton welcomed five former Florida State League All-Stars from the St. Lucie Mets. Each would play a large role in the second half and some would etch their names into Binghamton baseball lore in the postseason. With contributions from the reinvented Jayce Boyd, young-and-eager Dilson Her- rera and tried-and-tested Brian Burgamy, the B-Mets clinched the second spot in the Eastern Division by mid-August. Despite punching their ticket to the post- season, trying times awaited the B-Mets at the conclusion of the regular season. The B-Mets normally steady bullpen blew back-to-back ninth-inning leads in their final two home games. On August 29, the B-Mets lost Dilson Herrera to the Major Leagues. Without their offensive sparkplug, the punchless B-Mets were swept by the Rich- mond Flying Squirrels, closing the regular season on a six-game losing streak. The outlook appeared bleak for the sud- denly-struggling B-Mets as they prepared for the Eastern Division Championship Series matchup against the Portland Sea Dogs, the top team in the Eastern League.

Forget high school football. Forget cheer- leading performances. Forget about the weather. Southern Tier residents had one thing on their mind that fateful Friday: The Bing- hamton Mets winning an Eastern League title. “Six More Wins” The goal for the 2014 Binghamton Mets was set by their manager Pedro Lopez on the first day they reported to the ballpark in early April. As he greeted the media and prepared for his third season steering the ship in the Southern Tier, Lopez declared he wanted six more wins out of his ballclub. Six more postseason wins. His team the previous season rewrote the B-Mets’ record books. Using a stellar starting rotation, a shutdown bullpen and a high-octane offensive attack, the 2013 Binghamton Mets scorched the Eastern League with a record-setting 86-55 record. Despite their stellar regular season, the B-Mets postseason proved to be a disas- ter. In Game 1 of the Eastern Division Champi- onship Series, the Trenton Thunder scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the tenth inning to stun the B-Mets. Two games later, the Thunder completed the sweep, blanking Binghamton at NYSEG Stadium. It was a shocking and rapid fall from grace for a B-Mets squad that most deemed unbeatable in the postseason. Lopez was not prepared to see his team Before the B-Mets could fulfill Lopez’s postseason request, they had to make it back to the postseason, something no B-Mets team had ever done in back-to- back seasons. Despite heavy production from veterans Matt Clark and Brian Burgamy in April and an other-worldly performance from Kevin Plawecki in May, the B-Mets sat just two games over .500 by the second week of June. fall like that again. Getting Back In It took a trip to Akron, Ohio, home of the newly-minted RubberDucks, to jumpstart their season. In a doubleheader sweep

Revived by Rivera

Tyler Pill got the ball for the B-Mets in Game 1 and cruised in his first trip through the Sea Dogs batting order, facing the minimum through three. Sean Coyle busted the stretch by belting a solo home run in the fourth. Pill dodged further damage in the fifth, but was burned by a two-out three-run homer by David Chester in the sixth. Trailing 5-1, Binghamton looked for an of- fensive pulse from the heart of their order. They got it. TJ Rivera, who had already collected an RBI in the third inning, doubled with one out in the sixth. Jayce Boyd brought him home two batters later with a single to left. The B-Mets turned to Hansel Robles to keep them within striking distance. The

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