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Mets announce a restructuring of their minor league affiliates

Minor league contraction hits Columbia and Kingsport.

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

During this afternoon’s introductory press conference, Mets Team President Sandy Alderson announced that the Syracuse Mets, Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Brooklyn Cyclones, and St. Lucie Mets will be the franchise’s four minor league affiliated teams for the 2021 season. The Columbia Fireflies and the Kingsport Mets, most recently the franchises’s Class A and Rookie affiliates, respectively, will no longer be affiliated with the franchise.

Syracuse will remain the team’s Triple-A affiliate while St. Lucie will become the team’s Low-A affiliate, according to Tim Healey. Healy also reported that it has not been decided whether Binghamton or Brooklyn will become the franchise’s Double-A affiliate, with the other one becoming the High-A affiliate.

The news comes as a saving grace for the Rumble Ponies, who earlier this year were one of the 42 minor league teams Major League Baseball had unofficially listed as up for contraction. Though certainly possible that Binghamton will be relegated from a Double-A town to a Single-A town, the news of their staying in the Mets system brought great excitement from team owner John Hughes.

The news was not so happy for Kingsport and Columbia, however. Kingsport has operated as a minor league team for 99 years, has played affiliated ball since 1942, and has been affiliated with the Mets since 1980. Columbia has played minor league baseball as a franchise since 1984 and was affiliated with the Mets as the Savannah Sand Gnats from 2007-2015 and as the Columbia Fireflies since 2016.