According to one South Atlantic League official, the Mets and Capital City Bombers in Columbia, SC are set to end their 22-year relationship and sign a player developmental contract with the Boston Red Sox after the San Francisco Giants signed with Augusta. So if this official is correct, Thursday's loss to Hickory was the final game the Bombers will have played as a Mets' affiliate. So where do the Mets head now to play their low-A games in 2005?
It does not appear the Mets are giddy at the prospect of sending their prospects to the Midwest League, although if they do not act fast, they just might have to do that.
The Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League just ended their affiliation with the San Francisco Giants and appear to be the most likely destination for the Mets' low-A team for 2005. The Suns, according to their web site, had their highest attendance mark since 1992 when they drew 128,508 fans to their ball park in 2004, averaging 2,008 fans per game. According to one South Atlantic official: "If I had to handicap the affiliations, I think the Mets will sign a contract with Hagerstown".
Another South Atlantic League official confirmed that as well, stating that he expects an announcement could come as early as Monday, or at the latest sometime by mid-week next week, and that it appears the Mets will be heading to Hagerstown, Maryland.
Hagerstown is approximately 72 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. and approximately 480 miles closer to Shea Stadium than the Capital City Bombers. If in fact the Mets do sign a deal with Hagerstown, they will find themselves in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League with the current 2004 SAL Champion Hickory Crawdads. The other teams in the Northern Division are: Charleston AlleyCats, Delmarva Shorebirds, Kannapolis Intimidators, Lake County Captains, Lakewood Blue Claws, and Lexington Legends.
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