This makes us so happy — the rookie Appalachian League is now one of the hottest circuits in Minor League Baseball. Today’s Appy League news: the New York Mets will keep a team in Kingsport for five additional years, through 2020.
The Kingsport Mets are owned by the New York Mets, and the deal will keep the team in Hunter Wright Stadium under a management contract with the Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau and the City of Kingsport. As part of the deal the home clubhouse at Hunter Wright Stadium will see upgrades in 2016.
“We are ecstatic that the New York Mets have extended their long term presence in Kingsport an additional five years,” said Jud Teague, Executive Director at the Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau. “They contribute to our local economy and are great community partners. We look forward to working with the Mets organization to continue to improve the stadium and game experience.”
“We are extremely excited to continue our long history with the City of Kingsport. New York Mets baseball has been a part of the Kingsport community for over 35 years and we are looking forward to continuing our partnerships with local businesses and loyal K-Mets fans,” said Kingsport Mets General Manager Brian Paupeck.
“The City of Kingsport is fortunate to have such a strong working relationship with Brian Paupeck and the Mets,” said Chris McCartt, Assistant to the City Manager of Kingsport. “The overall fan experience is better every year, and we look forward to the capital improvements which will aid in player development.”
The Mets have called Hunter Wright Stadium home since 1995. Along with hosting 34 K-Mets home games in the summer, the stadium and KCVB put on a number of high school and college tournaments each spring. Prior to Hunter Wright Stadium, the K-Mets played at Dobyns-Bennett High School from 1980-1994.
As noted, the Appalachian League has turned into a hot circuit in terms of young front-office talent and MLB commitment, with several new and improved ballparks on the agenda for coming seasons. There were some in MiLB and MLB who targeted the Appy League for elimination in prior years, but that talk is gone, and groups managing Appalachian League teams are looking at ballpark investments after seeing the amazing success of the Pulaski Yankees in 2015 after a makeover of Calfee Park.