Central New York got its first look at a rejuvenated baseball team on Tuesday, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney welcomed the Syracuse Mets to town. With new owners, the Chiefs have been replaced, and it's much more than a name change. For the New York Mets and Syracuse it's the start of a new chapter.
"It just fell into our lap and it was just a terrific thing to do,” said Mets Owner Jeff Wilpon, whose family has owned the team since 2002.
Before moving to Syracuse the Mets triple-A team was stationed in Las Vegas. On Tuesday it was officially announced from 2019 until at least 2043 the Syracuse Mets will call Central New York home.
"The commitment that Joanie and the Governor made to us in terms of upgrading the facility and giving us the opportunity to be here is terrific,” said Wilpon.
Governor Cuomo and Wilpon both talked about the plans for a renovated NBT Bank Stadium Tuesday. The grand plan includes $25 million worth of renovations to NBT Bank Stadium, which will reface the concourse, seating, and new digital features. Half of the $25 million is coming from Onondaga County and half from the state.
"This is the new Syracuse,” said Gov. Cuomo. “And a new Central New York and the investment in this stadium is part of that."
The New York Mets invited some minor league players to the ballpark Tuesday including Justin Dunn. For the hard throwing right handed, he is excited to make the move to Syracuse.
"To be able to have my family 5 hours away and have them see me play in a beautiful stadium like this and be in Syracuse it is going to be a great time,” said Dunn.
Tim Tebow fans could be in for a treat this season a well, if his progress stays on track.
"I think Tim Tebow could be a Syracuse Met at some point,” said Mets manager, Mickey Callaway. “I know that he has definitely improved and was in double-A last year so that is part of the natural progression."