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Mississippi Braves leaving for Georgia after 2024 season

Mississippi Braves
Photo courtesy of the Mississippi Braves

Central Mississippi’s minor league baseball team will be playing its final season in the metro-Jackson area this year.

The Mississippi Braves, the Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, on Tuesday confirmed recent rumors that have been floating around about the team leaving Trustmark Park in search of a new home — one likely found in Columbus, Georgia.

In Columbus, city leaders have approved up to $50 million to upgrade its ball field with the hopes of attracting a minor league club, and it appears that the M-Braves, the only affiliate of the MLB franchise not currently in the Peach State, will be joining its fellow farm teams in Georgia.

“We want to thank Pearl, the surrounding Jackson community, and the state of Mississippi for the incredible support for the franchise over the past 19 years,” a portion of a statement from the team reads.

“We have loved creating memories with you at Trustmark Park and we look forward to bringing you an amazing 2024 season … We are hopeful that this is not the end of professional baseball in Pearl and our organization will support any efforts to bring a team to Trustmark Park in the future.”

With attendance down in Pearl and the team’s contract with Trustmark Park set to expire in 2024, the move by the Braves comes as no shock to most, though the city of Pearl and the state of Mississippi did make a strong attempt to retain the team.

Governing officials and Diamond Baseball Holdings, the company that owns the M-Braves, had been in the negotiation process to finalize a 10-year lease at Trustmark Park. The state even offered a $1 million incentive to keep the team in central Mississippi, but Diamond Baseball Holdings was deadset on joining the Atlanta Braves’ other affiliates in Georgia.

“We worked diligently with Spectrum Capital, State, and County leaders, as well as Diamond Baseball Holdings, to come to an agreement,” Pearl Mayor Jake Windham said. “It is truly unfortunate that despite our best efforts, the Braves have chosen to take this route.”

The last time the state lost a minor league team was in 2006 when the Jackson Senators disbanded after the downfall of the Central Baseball League. Mississippi then gained an additional minor league team when the Biloxi Shuckers were founded in 2015.

The Mississippi Braves have played in Pearl since 2005 after relocating from Greenville, South Carolina. The team, nor any of its officials, have responded to a request for comment.

Folks looking to enjoy one final season of the Braves will have 69 opportunities to see the team in Trustmark Park with the first home game scheduled for April 9 against the Biloxi Shuckers.

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