Giants Switch Class-A Affiliates

After ending their affiliation with the Hagerstown Suns, the Giants signed a two year affiliation deal with the Augusta GreenJackets of Georgia.

The Giants signed a 2 year affiliation deal with the Augusta GreenJackets on Tuesday, ending their affiliation with the Hagerstown Suns. The move keeps the Giants Class-A affiliation within the South Atlantic League, but brings a historic new member to the Giants family.

The GreenJackets were previously associated with the Boston Red Sox for the past 6 years. "The San Francisco Giants are a very desirable affiliation for the GreenJackets," said Michael Savit, the chief executive officer for Augusta. "They will bring interesting, exciting and highly competitive teams to Lake Olmstead Stadium."

"A National League team was important to us," said Augusta GM Nick Brown, "because they play the Braves a lot. We consider this National League territory." He also went on to mention that the Giants were more committed to fielding a competitive team than the Red Sox. The Giants had their own reasons to join with Augusta. "[The Giants] were more inclined to stay in this league due to the competitiveness of the league, the weather and the fans."

The Greenjackets were a very sought after team, with the Giants beating out the Mets, Brewers, Cardinals, Devil Rays and Rangers for the affiliation. The Giants were looking at the possibility of several minor league affiliation changes this offseason, with affiliation contracts at AAA Fresno, AA Norwich, A-Advanced San Jose and A Hagerstown all ending this year, but the Giants re-upped with all the others aside from Hagerstown. The Giants have two years remaining with their other minor league affiliate, Short Season-A Salem-Keizer in Oregon.

This year, Augusta will host the South Atlantic League all-star game, and that shouldn't change with the new affiliation. The GreenJackets play in Lake Olmstead stadium, built as a baseball only facility in 1995, which is frequently used for concerts and parties, including the annual Beach Blast concert during the Masters tournament. Brown noted that, other than the roster change, the fans shouldn't notice much different about the GreenJackets next year. "[The Giants] are real high on San Francisco colors, black and orange. I don't see how we're going to incorporate those colors. We might change some things on our uniform to give us a fresh, new look. But we're always going to be the GreenJackets."

Augusta could be home to some talent Giants prospects, such as 2003 first round pick Craig Whitaker, and 2004 picks John Bowker and Clay Timpner, as well as a few talented bay area prospects, including former Cal star Brian Horwitz, former San Jose State star Kevin Fransden, former SCU first baseman Will Thompson, and former Sonoma State pitcher Darren Sack.

The GreenJackets, who play in Augusta Georgia, are named after the award of the famous Masters Golf Tournament played there, but the franchise's history goes back to 1904, when Augusta became one of the founding members of the South Atlantic League and starred a rookie by the name of Ty Cobb. Although Cobb was sold off to the Detroit Tigers near the end of 1905, the Greenjackets became an Augusta baseball tradition to this day.

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