NEW YORK -- The Mets plan to shift their Class A South Atlantic League affiliate from Savannah, Ga., to Columbia, S.C., effective next season, the team announced Thursday. The organization previously had a Minor League affiliate in Columbia from 1983-2004.
"We are excited about returning to Columbia, where we had a presence for over two decades," said general manager Sandy Alderson, who traveled to Columbia to help make the announcement. "So many of the top Mets stars, like current team captain David Wright, got their start in Columbia. The plans for Spirit Communications Park look spectacular, and we can't wait to develop the next generation of Mets Major Leaguers here."
Spirit Communications Park is currently under construction, with plans to open next March alongside residential, office, retail and hotel buildings. The first of those commercial projects is underway along the ballpark's first-base line.
"We're very excited because not only is today about welcoming Minor League Baseball back to the City of Columbia, it's about celebrating the new spirit of energy and enthusiasm sweeping across our city like never before," Columbia mayor Steve Benjamin said in a statement. "Something special is happening in Columbia and this team is a big part of it."
Hardball Capital, the investment company working on the project, has offered to work with the city of Savannah to continue to provide baseball there, and assure that Grayson Stadium is put to suitable use. The Mets won 10 South Atlantic League titles in Savannah, most recently in 2013, developing over 100 future Major Leaguers there.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.