Mets relocate Triple-A team from New Orleans to Buffalo

Updated: September 22, 2008, 1:33 PM ET
Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The New York Mets are hooking back up with an old friend.

The Mets signed a two-year player development contract with the Buffalo Bisons on Monday, 45 years after the Bisons became New York's original Triple-A affiliate. New York broke ties with the New Orleans Zephyrs after just two years, paving the way for their deal with Buffalo.

The agreement was announced at the Bisons' downtown ballpark, with New York state Gov. David Paterson joining Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and general manager Omar Minaya.

"We're proud to be back in our home state, and we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship," Wilpon said. "We look to be here for a very, very long time."

The Mets shared their top minor league team in Syracuse with the Washington Senators in their inaugural season in 1962 before the Bisons became the Triple-A affiliate for three years starting in 1963.

The Bisons affiliated with the Cleveland Indians starting in 1995, but that relationship ended when the Indians recently signed a four-year deal with the Columbus Clippers.

"Of all the organizations, I don't know of one that is more baseball-oriented than the Mets," Bisons president and owner Bob Rich Jr. said. "We're thrilled to be a part of [their] team, and we're looking forward to Buffalo being a part of that legacy."

The Mets will now have three of their minor league affiliates located in New York, with the Bisons joining Binghamton (AA) and Brooklyn (A).

Wilpon also presented a $25,000 check to the Buffalo Public High School Baseball program, which helps to revive the game in the inner city.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press