Baseball America reported Tuesday that Minor League Baseball will accept a recommendation by Major League Baseball to cut 40 minor-league teams heading into the 2021 season.
It seems highly likely that the Rumble Ponies are among those franchises that won’t be around next season.
That means it’s possible the last Double-A game in Binghamton has been played.
This proposal has been in the public since November and had been met with heavy push-back by Minor League Baseball.
But sources told Baseball America on Tuesday that MiLB will agree to reduce the number...of minor league teams from 160 to 120 during a teleconference Wednesday.
Minor League Baseball issued a statement Tuesday afternoon that appears to contradict what Baseball America reported.
It read: “Recent articles on the negotiations between MiLB and Major League Baseball (MLB) are largely inaccurate. There have been no agreements on contraction or any other issues. MiLB looks forward to continuing the good faith negotiations with MLB on Wednesday as we work toward an agreement that best ensures the future of professional baseball throughout the United States and Canada.”
Rumble Ponies owner John Hughes issued the following statement: “I continue to remain positive that negotiations and talks are taking place. In the absence of facts; articles are being created. Nothing has been presented to me outlining the elimination of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. I remain committed to AA baseball in Binghamton.”
Three Short-season Single-A leagues would be eliminated in the contraction, including the New York-Penn League. The Appalachian and Pioneer leagues also would cease to exist.
On the surface, that wouldn’t seem to affect Binghamton, which plays in the Double-A Eastern League.
The New York Mets have said if the contraction takes place, they would move Brooklyn from the NY-Penn to the Eastern League, a move that would leave Binghamton without an affiliate.
Binghamton has been the Double-A affiliate of the Mets since 1992, the year professional baseball returned to Broome County after a 23-season layoff.
The Rumble Ponies should have started the 2020 season April 9 at home against Erie but play throughout the minor and major leagues has been suspended indefinitely because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Binghamton was supposed to have hosted the Eastern League All-Star game in mid-July at NYSEG Stadium.
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