Jacksonville Sports Day

Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Extended Invitation to Become Marlins’ Triple-A Affiliate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Miami Marlins have extended an opportunity to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp to become the club’s Triple-A affiliate, effective beginning in the 2021 season.

The move continues a rise for the city of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, which would field a Triple-A baseball team for the first time since 1968, when the club was an affiliate of the New York Mets. Jacksonville’s current affiliation with the Marlins dates back to 2009.

The elevation to the highest tier of Minor League Baseball was paved by the recent increase and record-setting support from the community and fans, club partners, ASM Global and City of Jacksonville.

Earlier this year, the Jumbo Shrimp announced a monumental partnership with 121 Financial Credit Union. The club’s ballpark, 121 Financial Ballpark, is a nationally respected minor league facility that was designed originally to host Triple-A baseball.

“We are incredibly excited about the prospects of bringing the top level of Minor League Baseball to the excellent Jumbo Shrimp fans in Jacksonville and throughout Northeast Florida,” said Jumbo Shrimp owner & CEO Ken Babby. “This is a direct reflection of Jacksonville’s positive and expansive growth, and allows the Jumbo Shrimp to continue our long-term commitment to provide the most affordable family entertainment option on the First Coast. We are also so grateful to continue our long-standing partnership with the Marlins, whose players, coaches and staff have embraced our community for the last 12 years.”

Over the last decade, Jacksonville’s population has grown by 10.9% to 911,507 by adding 89,757 new residents, the 15th-largest population growth in the nation according to data released in the spring by the U.S. Census Bureau. The city now ranks as the 12th-most populous in the United States. Jacksonville’s burgeoning development also attracted a record number of 22.2 million tourists in 2018.

The announcement comes at a time which sees unprecedented growth not only in the greater Jacksonville area, but specifically downtown and within the sports complex. This new area of Triple-A baseball would see Jacksonville compete at the same level as teams from cities such as Buffalo, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Las Vegas and Nashville.

The 2021 campaign would mark Jacksonville’s second stint in Triple-A. In 1962, the first team known as the Jacksonville Suns were members of the International League and affiliates of the Cleveland Indians. In the years that followed, the Triple-A Suns were also affiliates of the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets. The final season of the Triple-

A Suns saw Jacksonville win the 1968 International League Championship. Following the 1968 season, the Suns relocated to Norfolk, Va. before baseball returned to Jacksonville in 1970 in the form of the Double-A Southern League Suns, which played as the Expos, Suns, and since 2017, the Jumbo Shrimp.

”We are excited to invite Jacksonville to be the Miami Marlins’ affiliate and rise up to the Triple-A level” said Marlins Vice President of Player Development and Scouting Gary Denbo. “Our organization has appreciated the successful partnership with Jacksonville dating back to 2009. We look forward to our elite players and Player Development staff having the opportunity to take their final steps toward their MLB career in Jacksonville while engaging with the great Jumbo Shrimp fans.”

A 2021 Triple-A schedule will be released shortly. Season tickets, mini plans and group outings are available by calling the Jumbo Shrimp at (904) 358-2846.

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