NYSEG Stadium is located on the eastern edge of downtown Binghamton, NY. The 6,000-seat facility is entering its third decade hosting the Binghamton Mets, the AA Eastern League affiliate of the New York Mets. Bordering the main rail line through a depressed area of town, the location and stadium layout leave something to be desired, but NYSEG Stadium offers a good value for your dollar and features some of the best food in the minors.
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Any discussion about food at NYSEG Stadium has to begin with Lupo's, located in their own picnic area in right field ("Lupo's Dugout"). They feature the Italian "spiede" sandwich, in both pork and chicken. A spiede is tasty marinated meat absolutely stuffed into a roll, and Lupo's spiede is a leading contender in the official contest for the best minor-league ballpark food. For just $5.75, the overstuffed sandwich is easily the best value I've run across at a ballpark. Sides of corn on the cob or "salt potatoes" (brined whole potatoes drowning in butter) are also available if the spiede itself isn't enough.
Regular ballpark fare (hot dogs, pizza, burgers) at truly cheap prices is available at concessions stands regularly dotting the park's interior walkway. A grill concession by the front entrance offers up more pricey Angus burgers and steak sandwiches, but if you've never been to NYSEG Stadium before, do yourself a favor and visit Lupo's.
Large, cheap domestic beers are also offered at concessions stands in the interior park walkways, and bottled imports are also available, but the best of the suds are local microbrews (the baseball-themed "Ninemen Ale" and "Old Slugger") offered cheaply at Lupo's Dugout. It really is your one-stop place for everything food and drink.
The rolling hills outside of town and rolling stock of the railyard beyond the outfield wall form a strangely pleasing backdrop to the baseball game in the stadium. In the summer, you may want to stick to the upper rows of sections 105-106, which will offer your only shade on sunny days (except for the sky boxes next to the broadcast booth). Fans of the home team will want seats along the first-base line, where kids have a better-than-average shot of a souvenir ball flicked to the stands at the end of the top of an inning, or autographs before and after the game.
There are two entrances behind home plate, and crowds don't seem to be much of an issue. You can use the right field gate to get in straight from the parking lot (and go right to Lupo's), or, if there's a crowd that night, a walk over to the left field picnic gate will likely get you in faster.
There are no bad vantage points, so the choice between reserved seats or box seats is all about how close you want to get to the players and the action on the field.
Buddy Bee and Ballwinkle the Moose host the on-field fun, which includes all the minor-league standards. They also spend a good portion of the game wandering the stands and engaging children. One or two fans get to go out on the field with the mascots and greet the players as they take the field, which is no doubt a big thrill for the younger baseball fans. As with most minor-league teams, promotions are rampant, and for my most recent visit there was "Baseball Bingo," where you win prizes by filling your bingo card with in-game events (and help keep restless kids interested in the game).
From the big club on down, Mets franchises often seem to be located in less than ideal locations. NYSEG Stadium is next to the rail line running through town and next door to a giant, block-spanning Post Office building. And those are the highlights. Outside of some scattered businesses, the surrounding streets are riddled with empty properties that look perennially for sale. Walking from the downtown hotels can be sketchy and potentially involve solicitations from panhandlers.
Another bar with no sign or name sits across from the stadium, but your best bet for food and drink in the immediate area is Amici's Bar & Pizzeria across from the main entrance, which offers drink discounts before and after the game. For food, Lupo's S&S Char Pit lies to the north across the train tracks, and further west downtown, the Mad Moose House of BBQ, the Lost Dog Cafe, and Burger Mondays also provide food and drink.
Families looking for other activities in the area can try the Binghamton Zoo and Discovery Center (across the river to the south) or the Roberson Museum and Science Center (across the river to the west). Adults with an artistic bent can check out some of the art galleries that are sprouting up in the cheap office space downtown.
There is a handful of hotels downtown, including a Holiday Inn, a Doubletree, and - for the more budget conscious - there is a Days Inn across the river. Located in the former city hall, the independent Grand Royale Hotel, nestled among the Binghamton government buildings, offers a slightly different experience.
My visit was handicapped by being on an unseasonably cold and windy May evening (53 degrees at game time), with bad weather threatening, on a holiday weekend, so my experience may not be typical. According to league records, the B-Mets seem to average about 3,000 per game, but there charitably couldn't have been more than 750 at my game, and the crowd experience no doubt suffered because of it.
The fans are mostly made up of families, though there seemed to be a greater number of hardcore baseball fans in attendance than per normal. But that might just have been the circumstances noted above keeping a lot of the more casual fans away.
Though the crowd was small and the game primarily bad for the home team, the fans really got into it when the excitement on-field ratcheted up and the B-Mets came back for a thrilling extra-innings, walk-off win.
The stadium is located conveniently to the main roads through the area, including I-81/86, and NY 7, 11, and 363. Local county B.C. Transit buses also make stops at the stadium (Routes 12, 28, and 40), and a Greyhound Station is just down the street for more regional service. Parking is available in lots behind the stadium for $3.
The stadium has two concourses to direct traffic. A main thoroughfare inside the seating bowl splits the reserved seats from the grandstand, and the walkway horseshoes from left to right field behind home plate. A second interior concourse follows the same path, but is filled with concession booths, bathrooms (that are curiously well-branded), and offices, with stairs up to the seating area. This is an older stadium design, and it keeps people from seeing the action while getting grub, and walking around can be a little claustrophobic in the outer ring of the stadium.
The B-Mets hit this topic numerous places in their promotions, and the overall return on investment is where they really do shine. Box seats are $11 for adults and $9 for kids, while reserved seats are $9 and $7. Group rates can lower that per-game price, and all-you-can-eat tickets for the Picnic Zone are available for $22 per person for groups of at least 25 (and that includes chicken spiedes from Lupo's).
A limited number of sky boxes behind home plate are available for those looking for a little more swag. Food prices are generally kept below $5, and a hot dog can be had for as little as $1.50, which is simply Little League concession prices. Beer prices are $6 for a large domestic (less for smaller cups) and $6.25 for imported bottles, and local craft beers are available at Lupo's for just $4. A spiedie, an order of salt potatoes, and a beer is as little as $13.
It is very cost-efficient to take a family to the park, and that, plus the ability to see some potential future major-league stars (or current stars in rehab), makes a visit to NYSEG very reasonable to the wallet.
The $3 program was on newsprint paper in an odd tabloid size, and it was a little disappointing to have to pay for it, especially when everything else was so budget-conscious. Programs are usually free giveaways at most minor league parks, and the cheap paper and average content really didn't justify the cost.
The main team store is located in the interior walkway, and smaller merchandise concessions (including an extensive discount table) are located in several other places on the stadium ring. The merchandise choices are particularly extensive for an AA-level club. Also in the interior area behind home plate is an exhaustive "Binghamton's Baseball Shrine," which literally covers a wall with plaques from local baseball notables. There's even the "Joseph P. Gennarelli Outstanding Fan Award" (in a nice tip of the hat to the 10th man), and (further down the right field hallway) plaques to commemorate former clubhouse man "Pops" Cleary and equipment manager "Jack" Pranitis.
A kids' area is located out by Lupo's in right, and, as is the case in most of the minors, kids can participate in various on-field activities if their parents sign them up with fan services, located behind home plate.
While it might not be in the best of areas or be the best facility, NYSEG Stadium has enough excellent grub and baseball entertainment at reasonable prices to make it worth a visit for baseball fans or families looking for an affordable evening out.
For two decades, the Binghamton Mets have served as the AA affiliate to the parent club in New York. The long-standing relationship and strong geographic ties have created a great fan base and good attendance for the Eastern League team.
NYSEG Stadium is the home of the Binghamton Mets, and offers good food and a great return on your investment.
The Binghamton Mets have become a staple of summer evenings in New York's Southern Tier. Just an hour from the Baseball Hall of Fame, this is a great night out. Kids-Eat-Free on Sundays, Two-For-Tuesday specials, Thirsty Thursday Specials, Roll-backs on Mondays, Family Packs on Wednesday, Fireworks on most Friday and Saturday Nights... You can't beat a cheap night out with the family! Dollar Dogs and 2-for-a Draft Beers make for a good nights in the box seats twenty plus nights a summer for me!
I've been adding reviews based on a blog that I keep. Visited this park on September 3, 2011. Here are my notes:
Newer stadium (1990's) looks very old, cinder blocks. The stadium isn't that old but it looks very old. Seems that stadium improvements are not a big priority for the team owners.
Stands do not extend much beyond 1B or 3B. No OF stands or grass seats. There may have been small picnic areas beyond the stand in LF (I didn't bother to walk out to check).
Between innings entertainment lousy. Cheap copy of Reading's Crazy Hot Dog Vendor and vegetable race. Some innings didn't have anything at all. They threw a couple of Frisbees and a few hotdogs to the crowd but that's about it.
OK scoreboard. Little interesting audio. They showed occasional instant replays.
Tiny crowd (especially for a Sat night). Food decent but not much variety. Binghamton finished dead last in attendance for the year...no surprise there. With the crappy stadium, lack of "between inning" entertainment and uninteresting audio and video, these guys will never draw the crowds that a city of this size should.
This is the worst AA ballpark I've visited. Most A and independent teams have better stadiums.
Final thought: No real reason to visit this park again....but since I visit Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame Induction every summer. If the B-Mets are home, I may give them another shot.
Nice ballpark with a view a the foothills in the outfield. Vendors are friendly and the fans are generally nice themselves. I've been going every year since 2003 while I'm in the area for business.
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