Who: The Kingsport Mets are the advanced rookie league affiliate of the New York Mets. The K-Mets compete in the Appalachian League.
Where: The K-Mets play their home games at Hunter Wright Stadium, located at 800 Granby Road, Kingsport.
When: Opening Day for the 2018 Appalachian League season is Tuesday, June 19 and the regular season is scheduled to conclude on Wednesday, Aug. 29.
KINGSPORT — Fans attending Kingsport Mets games this season at Hunter Wright Stadium will see some new things around the ballpark.
The most notable is a new LED scoreboard.
“The city has been good each year to do an improvement. This year, it’s the new scoreboard,” said Brian Paupeck, general manager of the K-Mets. “It’s an LED scoreboard and has room at the bottom to list the batter and the pitcher and their stats. It’s all part of making the fan experience more enjoyable.”
Both the Mets and the city of Kingsport are focused on making the fan experience fun and exciting, Paupeck said. The partnership between the team and the city also has kept the stadium one of the nicest in the Appalachian League.
“The city does a great job of helping promote the park and keeping it clean and whatever is needed,” he said.
Paupeck said preseason ticket sales this year have been up, particularly with group sales and corporate sales. Groups and companies can purchase tickets and use the pavilion at the stadium to enjoy K-Mets games.
“We want to use the pavilion as much as possible this year,” Paupeck said.
In addition to the pavilion and the scoreboard upgrade, Paupeck said several promotions are planned throughout the season.
“We realize you can’t just open the gates and expect that people will come in,” he said. “That’s why we’ll be having several promotions and giveaways.”
Among the promotions are three nights of fireworks, one in July and two in August; Fun Fest Night on July 16; and four T-shirt giveaway nights.
In addition, the Mets are planning two bobblehead giveaways, including one for one of the most famous former Kingsport players, Atlanta Braves legend Dale Murphy. Murphy started his professional baseball playing days in Kingsport in 1974.
On July 21, the Mets and Bristol Pirates will honor Murphy with a Dale Murphy Night at Bristol. Paupeck said the night coincides with a day that Murphy will be in the Tri-Cities area on unrelated business.
The other bobblehead night will honor retiring Appalachian League President Lee Landers. Landers, who has been involved with professional baseball since 1959, has served as league president since 1996.
With the nine months of preparations near completion, the 2018 version of the Mets, led by new manager Sean Ratliff, is scheduled to arrive in Kingsport on Friday. The K-Mets are scheduled to open the season at Hunter Wright Stadium on Tuesday, June 19 against Princeton at 6:30 p.m.