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Mets Moving Triple-A Minor-League Affiliate to Las Vegas

Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- The New York Mets have named the Las Vegas 51s their new Triple-A affiliate.

The Major League Baseball team announced yesterday in an e-mailed release that it had signed a two-year player-development contract with the 51s of the Pacific Coast League. The Buffalo Bisons have spent the last four years at New York’s affiliate in Triple-A, the highest level of baseball’s minor leagues.

“We are excited about our new partnership with the Las Vegas 51s and the city of Las Vegas, one which values equally player development, winning and community involvement,” Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson said in the statement.

The 51s play in 9,334-seat Cashman Field, located in North Las Vegas. The team’s attendance has topped 4,000 fans per game in each of its 30 seasons as a minor-league affiliate of three MLB teams -- the San Diego Padres (1983-2000), Los Angeles Dodgers (2001-08) and Toronto Blue Jays (2009-12).

The Blue Jays today reached a two-year deal to make the Bisons their Triple-A affiliate for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, the team said in an e-mailed release. Buffalo declined this season to renew its agreement with the Mets in order to pursue a deal with the Blue Jays, who play roughly 60 miles away, according to MLB.com.

Long Distance

New York’s new deal puts its Triple-A players roughly 2,200 miles away from Citi Field in Queens. Las Vegas’s dry climate and altitude -- the city is roughly 2,000 feet above sea level - - also creates an environment in which statistics are harder to evaluate because baseballs typically get hit farther.

“What you do is you use your scouts and your player-development people to find the skill,” Mets manager Terry Collins said, according to MLB.com. “Sometimes you have to back off the results.”

The Las Vegas franchise’s nickname comes from Area 51, a military installation about 100 miles outside the city that some people believe houses the U.S. government’s research into unidentified flying objects. The team’s blob-shaped mascot with eyestalks is named “Cosmo.”

Previous Mets Triple-A affiliates also include the New Orleans Zephyrs, Norfolk Tides, Tidewater Tides and Jacksonville Suns.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eben Novy-Williams in New York at enovywilliam@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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