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Hughes buys Binghamton Mets

Binghamton MetsJohn Hughes, who had previously attempted to bring pro baseball to Warner Robins, Georgia, has purchased the Binghamton Mets (Class AA; Eastern League) and says he’ll keep the team in NYSEG Stadium.

We had expected the sale to be announced at the Nashville Baseball Winter Meetings, as Hughes was present and participating in league meetings. But the announcement was delayed for a hometown impact.

The current front office will remain in place, as the team preps for the 2016 season.

“We are excited to have been able to secure Jim Weed and the staff to ensure continuity and the opportunity to grow from a solid foundation,” Hughes said in a press release.

The B-Mets, owned by Michael Urda, Bill and David Maines and George Scherer under the Binghamton Mets Baseball Club, had been on the market for several years. Main Street Baseball, owners of several teams (Quad Cities River Bandits, Wilmington Blue Rocks, Billings Mustangs, High Desert Mavericks), had an agreement to buy the B-Mets, only to see team owners break the purchase agreement. A federal judge upheld the Main Street Baseball sales agreement and the two sides came to an agreement just before court-ordered mediation, but it was dropped after it was made clear the Eastern League would never approve the move of the team to Wilmington. That opened the path for Hughes to buy the team under the Evans Street Baseball corporate name.

“Having a Double-A, New York Major League Baseball affiliate in the Southern Tier is a tremendous opportunity, so great attention will be focused to ensure the team has top-grade facilities and the infrastructure necessary to develop Major League talent,” Hughes said. “We want to be a contributor to the rebirth of the Southern Tier and create a memorable, unique, fun, and affordable fan experience each and every time. As a leader who takes an active hands-on approach, I am committed to upgrading the fan experience, improving community outreach programs, and establishing NYSEG Stadium as a community jewel.” In the works: announcements about ballpark improvements.

Hughes had previously sought to bring Low A South Atlantic League baseball to the Macon, Georgia market and commissioned a study from National Sports Services to argue for a team’s viability in Warner Robins. But the issue of public funding was a nonstarter in Warner-Robins, and the effort was dropped.

“It has been an honor to be the guardian of the B-Mets baseball franchise for the past two decades, and we are pleased to turn over the keys to a man with great values: John Hughes,” said Michael Urda.

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