Baseball Returns to Golden Park

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - America's favorite pastime will have a home in Golden Park, after all.

The Columbus Baseball Foundation, Inc., formally introduced Wednesday morning, is headed up by Bo Callaway and Jim White.

As a member of the Great South League, the new team will consist of collegiate players from area schools like Georgia, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Alabama and CSU.

"We'll have good competitive baseball, we'll have high-class people playing it, they will come into our community, just like the Olympics, they'll be living in the community, and I think it will be wonderful," Callaway said.

Professional baseball left town when the Columbus Catfish moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky after the 2008 season.

Despite not being affiliated with a Major League Baseball franchise, both Callaway and White say a collegiate squad is a viable alternative for this city.

"We're a tri-community of what, some 300,000 people, and there's no reason why something that which we know is a quality of life item, like baseball, should not be at Golden Park," White said.

"As soon as I found out that the Catfish were leaving, I started looking and it didn't work to get another minor league team in, there were a lot of reasons, it would be impossible, they don't let you start a new one and you have to have major league permission, and you'd have to buy someone else out and move them, that wasn't possible," Callaway said.

Costs associated with a collegiate summer league team are far lower than for pro ball.

Callaway estimates it will cost $40,000 per year to run this team.

That's a far cry from the estimated $7,000,000 it would take to move an existing Major League affiliate to Columbus.

"We're not here for the profit, none of us want to make money.  I mean, you always like to make money, but that's not what we're in it for, we're in it to get this community involved and have something that's really fun," Callaway said.