The venerable Syracuse Chiefs name could go by the wayside in 2019, as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a name change for the Class AAA Syracuse Mets when the team becomes a New York Mets affiliate.
The Mets purchased the Chiefs from a community ownership group this offseason. The team will remain a Washington Nationals affiliate through the 2018 season until the player-development contract expires at the end of the season.
Cuomo made the announcement during his annual State of the State address, with Mets owner Jeff Wilpon, GM Sandy Anderson, new manager Mickey Callaway and two players in attendance. In fact, when making the announcement, Cuomo asked Wilson to stand up. But team officials did not confirm the name change, per Syracuse.com:
Chiefs General Manager Jason Smorol, asked about Cuomo’s speech, would confirm only that the team will change its name in 2019 when the Mets move their Triple-A affiliate from Las Vegas to Syracuse. He would not disclose the new name.
“We’ll have more to say about it later,” Smorol said. “I don’t think right now is the time to delve into that. When we’re ready to make the official announcement, we’ll make the official announcement.”
International League president Randy Mobley said he was unaware of name change plans.
It is inevitable that you were going to see some Mets-themed changes at NBT Bank Stadium this season, if not just some blue and orange deployed strategically. The Chiefs name goes back to 1934, with the original Syracuse Chiefs competing in the International League. It was continuously used through 1957 across two franchises, then revived in 1961 when the International League’s Montreal Royals moved to MacArthur Stadium. (A rebranding in 1997 saw the team play as the SkyChiefs, but the Chiefs name was still used as a secondary mark.)