No fan base -- anywhere in the world -- marks the start of July quite like that of the New York Mets. July 1 has become widely known as "Bobby Bonilla Day," when the former Mets slugger receives a check for $1,193,248.20 (from 2011-35) as part of deferred payments on
No fan base -- anywhere in the world -- marks the start of July quite like that of the New York Mets. July 1 has become widely known as "Bobby Bonilla Day," when the former Mets slugger receives a check for $1,193,248.20 (from 2011-35) as part of deferred payments on a buyout from Bonilla's contract in 2000. The former All-Star last suited up for New York in 1999. He will be 72 when he receives his final payment from the organization.
Mets owner Steve Cohen has embraced "Bobby Bonilla Day," so the team's Double-A affiliate in Binghamton decided to jump in on the fun as well on Saturday.
The Rumble Ponies had "Show Me The Money Night -- A Tribute To Bobby Bonilla!" night at Mirabito Stadium. The promotions were all about paying a tribute to Bonilla's contract and giving away money to the fans in attendance.
"This night is a wonderful way to engage our fans in a fun and creative way," Rumble Ponies general manager John “JB” Bayne said. “We are excited for Rumble Ponies fans to enjoy this special promotion surrounding Bobby Bonilla Day and have a chance to win some money!”
The team came up with a rich array of ways to celebrate the day. First, since Bonilla's contract is payments of $1.19 million for 36 years, the team awarded one lucky fan the chance to win $11.93 for the next 36 years -- a total payout of $430.56.
Another way for those in attendance to win some extra cash came in the form of a "cash cube." During every inning of the game, one fan was selected at random to step inside an inflated cube with cash floating around inside. The first inning started with $100 inside the cube and whatever wasn't snagged rolled over into the following inning.
Finally, the club held a contest called "Win the GM's Money," in which one fan was selected to participate in a "guess the song" trivia game. After guessing the first song right, the participant won $25 dollars. They could risk it all for double or nothing two more times with the chance to win a grand total of $100. Each song contained a money theme.
Throughout the game, all of the graphics on the videoboard were altered to reflect a money theme as well.
Bonilla spent parts of five seasons with the Mets -- playing for the franchise from 1992 until being traded to Baltimore during the 1995 season, and then rejoining New York for one year in 1999 before the buyout. When Bonilla was released in 2000, the team still owed him $5.9 million on the four-year, $23.3 million deal he signed with the Marlins in 1996.
Bonilla played his final Major League game on Oct. 7, 2001.
Rob Terranova is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobTnova24.