Earlier this week, Mike O and I went on a minor league baseball road trip to see the Reading Phillies take on the Binghamton Mets in Binghamton. Why would we go all the way to Binghamton, New York to see a random minor league doubleheader you ask? Quite simply, to move a couch. Mike has a house up in northeastern Pennsylvania more specifically Forest Lake Township/Montrose, Pennsylvania and needed help moving a rather big couch into it. So on Wednesday, we made the 3 hour trip to Montrose and moved his couch into his new place over the course of about an hour or so. In case, you were wondering, Mike’s house has the biggest basement in the world (future dream man cave/bar?). After exhausting ourselves by moving the heavy & awkward couch into the house, in a place where cell phone service was essentially non-existent, Mike and I finally made the trip to Binghamton to see the Reading Phillies because, well, there’s nothing else to really do. (This also served as a nice break from the reality of the struggling 2012 big league club.)
The night before our trip, Reading and Binghamton’s game was rained out, which meant Mike and I had the opportunity see a doubleheader. The trip from Montrose to Binghamton took about half an hour and parking was three dollars, something I would kill to see at Citizens Bank Park. We missed the top half of the first inning (I know, bad fans), but for nine bucks a piece, we would see at least 14 innings of baseball a few rows behind the Reading dugout.
As a Phillies fan, it was great to see some future Phillies such as Jon Pettibone, Jiwan James and others. Pettibone had his fastball touching between 90-92 with a few 93’s sprinkled in. He went six innings, giving up five hits and a run, leaving the game on the hook for the loss. Reading scratched across three runs in the seventh, and Justin Friend picked up his 12th save. (His .43 ERA is something I’m sure the Phillies’ brass is keeping their eye on.)
A Darin Ruf Sac Fly was all the scoring in game two as the future Phils swept the Mets’ affiliate in the double-header.
The ballpark, NYSEG Stadium, is located in downtown Binghamton and seats about 6,200. Though the doubleheader drew less then 2,000 fans.
Honestly, I wasn’t a big fan of the ballpark. For a stadium that opened in 1991, you could see signs of the wear and tear. There wasn’t a ton of food options, as it was basically the usual ballpark essentials.
The big box of popcorn was a big hit between Mike and I though. The mascot was a Bee, which I did not get. Perhaps Scott B, the mascot expert, can explain better.
During the break between games, you could walk right up to the bullpen and watch the pitchers warm up from only a few feet away which was rather awesome.
On the concourse, there were plaques of all the Binghamton Met Hall of Famers along with an updated list of the league leaders for the Eastern League and Major League Baseball. In the end, NYSEG stadium isn’t a great ballpark but it still provides an intimate experience for fans, but hey, it’s a Mets organization and they’re broke, so they get a pass right? All in all, it was a successful trip. We got done what needed to be done, and watched the Phillies organization win a pair from the rival Mets. No complaints outside of the semi under-cooked hot dog.
Article & Photos by: Warren Croxton & Mike Orzechowski