BINGHAMTON, NY – The Binghamton Rumble Ponies have a new owner who has committed to keeping the team here for decades to come.
David Sobotka of New York City and his company Southpaw Resources puchased the Ponies from John Hughes.
Hughes had owned the team for 6 years and was responsible for its rebranding from the B-Mets to the Rumble Ponies.
Sobotka grew up a New York baseball fan in Hartford, Connecticut and spent his career in finance.
He says it’s been a dream of his to own a minor league franchise.
Sobotka signed a 23 year lease extension with the City of Binghamton which owns Mirabito Stadium.
He says the Rumble Ponies aren’t going anywhere.
“It really struck a chord with me that this is an important part of the community. It’s professional baseball, it means a lot. It’s my job as the new president to make sure that the work that John undertook continues,” says Sobotka.
As part of the deal, Binghamton committed to making 3.1 million dollars worth of upgrades to the stadium that Major League Baseball has demanded.
Most of them center around the player and coaches locker rooms and amenities.
Since Hughes became owner, the city, state and Hughes himself helped to finance 9 million dollars worth of improvements to Mirabito Stadium.
Mayor Rich David says Hughes could have done better financially had he sold to someone who wanted to move the team, but that the former owner was committed to Binghamton.
“Anyone looking to do business here in the Southern Tier, particularly Binghamton, please invest in this community because they will do whatever it takes to help you win. Because when you win, this community wins. And that type of statement is not true all across America these days. Binghamton is an incredible place that I’ll always call a second home,” says Hughes.
David presented Hughes a key to the city as a token of appreciation.
Sobotka says talks about selling the team began in Spring and were subject to Major League Baseball’s new rules for minor league ownership.
He says he plans to retain the existing administrative team.
And Sobotka is a southpaw, which is baseball slang for a lefty.
The Rumble Ponies open next season at home on April 12th.
Season tickets are already on sale.
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