2024 Program - Issue 9

A Run to Remember

By: Tim Heiman

Carbonell stretches out his glove, but the fly ball lands out of his reach and bounces to the wall. NYSEG Stadium erupts. Cecchini races around third base. Rich- mond has no chance as Carbonell is just getting to the ball on the warning track. The final 90 feet of Cecchini’s journey are the sweetest any B-Mets fan has wit- nessed. The youngest B-Met on the postseason roster steps on home plate and into the embrace of Kyle Johnson. The Binghamton Mets are Eastern League champions. The rest of the B-Mets spill out of the dugout. Half the team races to home plate to celebrate with Cecchini. The other half sprints out to second base where Boyd is waiting for them. Pedro Lopez trots to home plate from the third base coach’s box clapping his hands having just won his first championship as a Minor League manager. He jumps into the pile. The exuberant Wilfredo Tovar, sprinting down the third base line, flings his helmet as high as he can and leaps into the cele- bration at home plate. The B-Mets bullpen hops the fence down the right-field line and makes a bee-line for second base. The group celebrating around home plate now joins the other group near second base. The team is together as one. And they are champions. The reality that they have overcome the odds to become the first team to call the Southern Tier home to win an Eastern League title in two decades begins to sink in. Fireworks explode beyond the right-field wall. On this Friday night in the Southern Tier, the only thing that matters is the Bingham- ton Mets. The celebration eventually makes its way to the first base line, where the B-Mets receive the Eastern League trophy from league president Joe McEacharn. Sporting a GoPro camera to capture the moment, Lopez raises the trophy trium-

phantly over his head before quickly hand- ing it off to his players. Back in April he wanted six more wins. His team did exactly that in the most thrilling fashion imaginable. Xorge Carrillo is named the Postseason MVP and proudly holds his trophy for all to see. The last item to be given out is the Eastern League championship banner. Carrillo, Peavey and Tovar parade the cherished pennant from one end of the stands to the other. A roar rises up from the crowd. Their boys of summer of summer have produced a championship. Not a soul has left the ballpark. After a 20- year wait, no one is about to miss this. The team poses for pictures with the trophy and banner; pictures that will be forever displayed on the walls of NYSEG Stadium. Then it’s onto the champagne that has appeared in front of the B-Mets dugout. The players douse each other. Then Ste- ven Matz is lifted onto to his teammates’ shoulders and given a champagne shower of his own. The party shifts into their plastic-protected clubhouse where there is more to spray and spill and dump and pour and drink. As with any good time, it flies by too quickly. Within 24 hours of Boyd’s walk- off double every member of the Eastern League Champion B-Mets is on his way back home. For some, that one night in September will be the highlight of their professional career. Something they will look back on again and again as their favorite moment. For others it will be a small memory on their way to the Majors. But for everyone, it is a time that they will never forget. On September 13, NYSEG Stadium is qui- et. Just a handful front office staffers are there to tie up a few loose ends. A far cry of the euphoria that had been experience just the night before. The front page of the Press & Sun Bul- letin that day reads, “CHAMPIONS” with a picture of Xorge Carrillo and Chase Huchingson embracing with a backdrop of fireworks. It was no dream.

Before that fateful September night, the last time the Binghamton Mets celebrated an Eastern League title was September 14, 1994 with a 7-2 win over the Harris- burg Senators at Binghamton Municipal Stadium. In between, 2,856 B-Mets games were played. 537 different players wore the B-Mets jersey. 7,303 days passed. It was worth the wait.

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