Collegiate Wood Bat Team Takes the Field During Summer
COLUMBUS, GA - "Baseball is back in Golden Park" was the message from Howard H. "Bo" Callaway, chairman emeritus of Callaway Gardens, at a morning news conference held at the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday morning, February 11.
The new team will be a part of the Great South League, a college summer wood bat league. The players will be amateurs, who are currently enrolled in college and want to improve their skills during the summer vacation. The players also will have a chance to be evaluated by scouts who cover the league's play.
Callaway continued "It is anticipated that there will be players from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Alabama, Columbus State, Troy and other colleges and universities throughout the state and the nation. College summer wood bat leagues are said to be the fastest growing leagues in baseball. This is probably due to the fact that Major League Baseball is finding it is a lot less expensive to recruit its new talent through these summer leagues than through the current minor league farm system. Also, in many areas, attendance is better because fans identify with local college players more than minor league players who have no local connections."
The Columbus team will be managed by the Columbus Baseball Foundation, Inc., a not for profit organization. Callaway is the chairman and CEO. Jim White, who managed the Columbus RedStixx and Columbus Cottonmouths under Charlie Morrow and founded the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame, is the president. Bobby Howard, while he is still a full time coach and teacher at Columbus High School, is volunteering as the VP of field operations.
"Our goal is to bring great baseball back to Columbus in a way that involves all of Columbus, Phenix City, Fort Benning and the surrounding areas", said Callaway. "We are not here for the short run or to sell the team. We are all a part of this area, have lived our lives here and are looking forward to a partnership that becomes a part of all of us in the community who love baseball - from little league to the best of college athletes."