Six months after the Binghamton Mets’ unorthodox rebranding campaign garnered national attention, the organization has finally announced its new moniker: the Rumble Ponies.
When fans go to NYSEG Stadium next spring to watch the New York Mets’ Double-A affiliate, they will be rooting for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, whose name was chosen in honor of the six carousels in the area.
Rumble Ponies’ owner John Hughes, who acquired the team last December, announced the new name in front of a crowd of 500 at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School on Thursday morning.
According to Hughes, the most important aspect of the search was understanding the inspiration that lead to each suggestion.
“One of the things that I really wanted to look at was the story behind the name,” he said. “From day one, I focused on the story and then walked backward into the name. That’s why you see some of the names are unusual, but the stories are just fantastic.”
Last May, the organization welcomed name suggestions, 1,500 of which were received. Later that month, the B-Mets’ front office chose six finalists and opened voting to the public.
The other names in the running were Gobblers, Bullheads, Timber Jockeys, Rocking Horses and the eyebrow-raising Stud Muffins. These suggestions were widely criticized and their existence was covered by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Rumble Ponies, which was proposed by Binghamton resident Nicole Schneider, is a tribute to Binghamton’s reputation as the carousel capital of the world. For her contribution, Schneider won season tickets for life and will receive the first Rumble Ponies’ jersey when it is produced.
“As a child, I always looked forward to going to the carousels in the spring and summer,” she said. “These carousels were put here by men of history for the community to enjoy, just like baseball.”
The eventual winner received the most votes in the contest that ran through June.
“Rumble Ponies took the natural lead and took over in the local voting and it really just gained legs all on its own,” Hughes said. “It’s unique to Binghamton and it’s something that we can call our own from now until forever.”
The students at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School won a district-wide reading contest in order to witness the name reveal. At the ceremony, two students carried a sign bearing each possible name onto the stage and eliminated them one by one. Finally, just two names stood: Rumble Ponies and Stud Muffins.
The students revealed a sign with a large “X” through the name Stud Muffins, leaving Rumble Ponies as the winner.
Red, blue and silver confetti fell from the ceiling as chants of “Rumble Ponies! Rumble Ponies!” erupted from the crowd. Following the ceremony, Hughes addressed the longtime fans that would not immediately be in favor of the unconventional name.
“I think we’re going to have the haters convert to lovers; that’s our goal,” he said. “For the people that aren’t really happy, I’m energized by their passion. I enjoy the challenge of getting everybody on board.”
Following the departure of the Ottawa Senators’ minor league affiliate from Binghamton after the 2016-17 season, the Rumble Ponies will be the sole professional athletic team in the area.
The Mets organization first came to Binghamton in 1992 and most recently won both the Eastern League and Eastern Division titles in 2014.
The organization aims to build on the legacy that it has already built in the region by ushering in a new age through this name.
“We’re not turning our back on history,” said Rumble Ponies’ general manager Jim Webb. “We will continue to change and grow just like this community.”