Today’s ball is the 16th in our #SummerOfBaseball series and one that I’m really digging. Not only is it from another one of the Mets minor league affiliates, it’s a used official South Atlantic League ball and it’s coming in from the Savannah Sand Gnats.
I’ll freely admit that I have a soft spot for the Gnats. Their mascot, Gnate the Gnat is a friend of mine and I’ve openly campaigned for Gnate in Mascot Mania the last two years. This is the last year that the Sand Gnats will be in Savannah as the big club announced they will relocate to Columbia, South Carolina for the 2016 season.
The Sand Gnats started out as the Savannah Cardinals when they were affiliated with St. Louis from 1984-1995 before changing their name to the Sand Gnats in 1996 when they became the South Atlantic League affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. They retained the moniker through affiliations with the Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals, and the New York Mets. Current Mets Third Base Coach Tim Teufel was the team’s manager in 2007, the first year of affiliation with the Mets.
Since becoming affiliated with the Mets in 2007, notable players who were once Gnats include Juan Lagares, Josh Thole, Wilmer Flores, Eric Campbell, Josh Satin, Jeurys Familia, Chris Schwinden, Matt den Dekker, Wilfredo Tovar, Josh Edgin, Gonzalez Germen, Collin McHugh, Darrell Ceciliani, Erik Goeddel, Jacob deGrom, Jack Leathersich, Rafael Montero, Logan Verrett, Dilson Herrera, Kevin Plawecki, Steven Matz, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Dario Alvarez, and Akeel Morris.
The team plays their games at Historic Grayson Stadium, which was built in 1926.
I’m going to miss seeing the Mets in Savannah in 2016 and I really hope that the are able to get another team into the stadium and keep the Sand Gnats tradition going.
If you’re in Savannah, go catch a game – give my buddy Gnate a follow at @gnatethegnat and give the Sand Gnats a follow at @gnatsbaseball. Check out their website http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t543