The Atlanta Braves own all but one of their minor league affiliates, hence why just about every Braves minor league team is the CityName Braves. The lone exception is the Lynchburg Hillcats. The Braves signed a four-year Player Development contract with Lynchburg prior to last year, which makes them the Braves Advanced-A affiliate through the 2014 season. The Braves could be laying the groundwork for what comes after that.
The Wilmington, North Carolina, Star News reports this interesting bit of news:
Former Atlanta Braves Manager Bobby Cox traveled to Wilmington a couple weeks ago to meet with local elected leaders and talk about baseball in the Port City.
Councilman Kevin O'Grady said Tuesday that Cox and other Braves officials dined with a couple council members and New Hanover County commissioners. He said there were not enough elected leaders to require public notice of the meeting.
He did not divulge details but said the dinner was a "general discussion" about baseball in Wilmington.
The article goes on to note that a stadium in downtown Wilmington has been discussed for several years, but the usual refrain of lack of funding has been a reason it hasn't gone anywhere.
Far be it for me to speculate about the state of politics in Wilmington, so beyond this specific spot for a team I believe this gives us a clear insight into what the Braves are thinking regarding their last independent minor league affiliate. They want to bring their Class-A Advanced team into the CityName Braves family of organization-owned teams -- whether it be Wilmington or somewhere else. That type of conversation would need to get started now, especially if the Braves want a new minor league ballpark for this affiliate -- as I'm sure they do.
We'll keep an eye on this, and see if anything else develops.