The last stop on my 12-day, 12-game road trip was Binghamton, NY, for an Independence Day showdown between the Binghamton Mets (NY Mets) and the Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox). The game was set for 6:35 p.m., with an extensive fireworks show to be held afterward.
I arrived in town around 3 p.m. and bought my ticket. On the way back to my (illegally) parked car, I saw a coach bus from Maine stopped by the curb. I suspected it was the Sea Dogs bus, and sure enough, the door soon opened and out came the team, entering the stadium through the gate in the left field corner.
My next mission was to book a hotel; once I did, I unpacked my car and headed back to NYSEG Stadium, which has an ample parking lot that costs $3:
I made a quick stop in the empty parking lot behind the outfield fence, where a couple fans were hoping to snag a ball during batting practice:
I took a look at the scene, however, and decided that it wasn’t worth waiting here. There’s a gap of at least 10 feet between the outfield fence and a second fence, so it’d take a big shot to clear both.
Besides, the gates were opening 1.5 hours early today, so I’d be able to get in while BP was still going on.
I got my usual ticket photo …
… noting how nice this ticket is. So many MiLB tickets are plain, but I like the colors on this one.
Before I entered, I took a quick shot of the front of NYSEG Stadium …
… and the ticket office itself:
There was a lot to see once I got inside the stadium. The team had a giant hallway full of merchandise:
A number of plaques featuring former Binghamton Mets:
And a big, Mets-themed kids’ play area:
I walked quickly through the kids’ area, however, to get to a picnic section down the right field line. A guy already there said he’d just caught a BP ball, and I knew I would be able to get on the board if I stayed for a bit, too. Sure enough, less than five minutes after standing here …
… I snagged this old, Eastern League ball:
The Mets were taking BP, so a bunch of the guys were out shagging in the outfield:
I figured I might get more than one ball, but only one other came remotely near me, and I misplayed its carom off the fence and missed it.
When BP wrapped up, I took a walk around the stadium to note a few features. There’s a rail yard/line right behind the left field fence, so trains roll through on occasion:
NYSEG Stadium opened for the 1992 season, and as you can see below, it’s got a selection of suites above the seats behind home plate:
I then took a walk down to the left field corner where a few Sea Dogs were hanging around the bullpen. I watched Portland’s Chih-Hsien Chiang do some running with a trainer/interpreter type:
Then watched Stolmy Pimentel throw a bullpen session:
After his session, he got some tips from pitching coach Bob Kipper and catcher Matt Spring:
When their chat wrapped up, I headed back to the main concourse where I browsed the B-Mets’ team shop, which contained a ton of cracked bats …
… and bought an on-field warm-up jacket off the discount rack for $28.
I noticed an open grill area behind home plate, used to cook burgers, sausages and other snacks. Neat, in theory, but it made SO much smoke that flowed through the concourse around the grill:
Later, I went back to the field level to take some action shots of guys warming up. You’ll notice below that Binghamton was wearing patriotic jerseys in honor of Independence Day.
Here’s Portland starter Chris Balcom-Miller (who got royally lit up):
Mets outfielder Matt Den Dekker:
Outfielder Raul Reyes:
Starter Jeurys Familia and catcher Salomon Manriquez:
When the game was about to begin, roughly a zillion summer camp kids descended on the stadium. I was surprised to see this, as it was a holiday and an evening, but it was happening nonetheless. My seat was roughly in the middle of this pack below, and it goes without saying that I didn’t both venturing anywhere near the crowd:
Instead, I took up a spot along the third base line:
The B-Mets jumped all over Portland early, scoring seven runs in the second inning. From my vantage spot, I had a good view of the B-Mets coming around third base to score over and over again. I also was able to get a neat shot of a Bingo player jumping out of the way of a pitch:
Later in the game, I went behind home plate to take this panorama …
… then pushed my way through the gigantic crowd of kids who were milling everywhere. I made it back to the relative quiet of the right field area, where some Portland guys were hanging out in the picnic area instead of the bullpen. And they were looking dejected, I might add:
I had hoped to get a decent meal of a sausage, potatoes and corn on the cob, but they were unfortunately sold out by the midway point of the game. Instead, I opted for perogies:
I added a bit of pepper just so they weren’t looking up at me so forlornly, but they didn’t do much for me. Next time, I’ll be sure to eat earlier in the game when there’s more selection.
I took another panorama from field level in the eighth inning, when hordes of Mayflies were descending on the stadium:
And then, left before the fireworks began. A ton of people from the area had arrived in time for the end of the game, meaning getting out after the fireworks would be a lengthy process. Instead, I left right at the end of the game and got to hear (and occasionally, see) the fireworks from my hotel room.