By Bernie Kellman SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Today was historic for baseball in Central New York. For the first time ever, the Syracuse Mets hosted Opening Day, as the Syracuse Chiefs officially became a thing of the past.
For the the first time since 1934, the city of Syracuse has a baseball team without the word “Chief” in its name. The Syracuse Chiefs are now owned and operated by the New York Mets, and have been renamed to match their major league counterpart. Michael Tricarico, Syracuse Mets Assistant Director of Broadcasting, believes that the fans have largely embraced the change.
“I would say the most excitement has come just from the Mets having their top Minor League team here, because, like I said, there are so many Mets fans,” said Tricarico. “More than I expected to see.”
Earlier on Thursday, fans flocked to NBT Bank Stadium in order to usher in a new era of Syracuse baseball. The Mets’ purchase and subsequent rebranding of the Chiefs made many fans particularly excited to attend the Opening Day ceremonies. According to Central New York resident Dale Blossinger, the change was long overdue.
“The Mets are my favorite team in baseball. I’ve been waiting for this for years,” said Blossinger. “I think it’s just going to be a New York vibe, you got the AA team in Binghamton, the AAA team in Syracuse, and the Majors in New York City.”
The Syracuse Mets were previously owned by the Washington Nationals. According to Geri, who did not give her last name, and Cherie Scaia, two Syracuse Mets fans, they appreciate that the team is now under the ownership of a New York team.
“We needed the local flavor, and I’m a die hard Yankee fan, but I can say ‘Let’s go Mets!’ when I am here,” said Geri.
Under the new deal, the Mets will be in Syracuse at least through 2025, but if one thing is for sure, it is that regardless of who owns the team, Syracuse fans love their baseball.