Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Today we borrow an old Tuesday night routine from Atlanta sports anchor Chuck Dowdle, and offer a three-part entry relating to Columbus sports teams. I'm tempted to borrow from pro wrestling and call it a "three-way dance" -- but I have trouble even finding someone for a two-way anymore.

THE GOOD local sports team packed up Tuesday for the Little League World Series. The Northern All-Stars are driving to Atlanta, flying to Newark, New Jersey, then driving from there to Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Are that many flights to Scranton-Wilkes Barre or Harrisburg sold out? Penn State's football season doesn't start for weeks.

The departure point for the Northern All-Stars was Morningside Baptist Church. Hopefully the players will think about that, when they see the youngsters from Asia bow down to "the god of Little League" statue outside the center field fence....

It's estimated the trip to the Little League World Series will cost the Northern team $45,000. But then again, can't the players and families afford this expense? They live in North Columbus, after all -- so they can put off a couple of shopping sprees at Columbus Park Crossing, or adjust the rates on their mortgages.

CB&T has set up bank accounts to help the Northern All-Stars pay their way to the Little League World Series. It's also set up accounts over the years for victims and families of local tragedies. If the Little League fund fills up faster, what will the message be -- that Columbus's official vehicle should be a bandwagon?

(All right, you candidates for city office - where are the contributions from your campaigns to the Little League fund? Maybe the players aren't old enough to vote, but their parents are.)

You'll be able to watch all the Northern All-Stars games at the Little League World Series, on one of the Carmike screens at Columbus Park Crossing. Now that's what I call big-screen TV - but won't hhGregg next door have the games in high-definition?

The first game for the Northern All-Stars will be Saturday afternoon, against a team from Staten Island, New York. It will be easy for people with cholesterol problems to root for the Columbus players. Simply wave your anti-Staten medicine....

THE O.K. sports news of Tuesday came from Columbus Council. It approved an agreement for a new indoor football team to play at the Civic Center, replacing the Chattahoochee Valley Vipers. I can't really call it "The Bad" - since that depends on how many people show up for games next February.

Columbus Civic Center General Manager Dale Hester says Zach McDonald will own the new team in the World Indoor Football League - and plans to pay the arena rent for one year up-front. Countless apartment residents must be nervous about this example....

But here's the thing: Zach McDonald actually will own TWO teams in the W.I.F.L. - the Columbus team (will they still be the Vipers?) and the Daytona Beach Thunder. What happens when they play each other? Will league security be increased, to guard against fixing?

As a side issue, the new Columbus indoor football team will have Jason Gibson as head coach - the former coach of the Vipers. This has to feel a bit strange -- to be fired by your team, then watch the team ostensibly be fired by your city.


As of Wednesday, the countdown stands at eight days to the premiere of Power Frisbee of Georgia. If you missed our Free Frisbee Sunday, learn more about this new game at the official Power Frisbee web site; then offer your comments at the P.F.G. blog.

THE UGLY sports team of the moment is undoubtedly the Columbus Catfish. The team's game with Kannapolis had to be played two hours early Tuesday, because of continuing trouble with the lights at Golden Park. They could have simply made this an afternoon game - but not even Chicago Cubs fans seem charmed by Wrigley Field matinees anymore.

The city apparently is unable to fix a problem with a light tower at Golden Park. That's why only one game of a doubleheader could be played last Saturday, after Friday's game was postponed by wet grounds. When you can't even dry out the field with your lights, you've got big problens....

This marks at least three times in the last ten years that late-season problems of some sort have plagued Golden Park. There was the "standing water in the outfield" mess in the late 1990's - and now lights which don't work. It's almost enough to make you wish there was an indoor baseball league, too.

Overlooked amid all these problems is the fact that the Columbus Catfish owners are anxious to move the team out of town. If the 'Fish swim away, what will Columbus do for pro baseball next year? Will the Golden Park fences be moved in, so the Northern All-Stars can play there -- probably before bigger crowds?

Now that we've cleared the sports desk, let's send some Instant Messages....

+ To the Columbus Police Department: That's a good idea - moving up the crossing guard start time around Georgetown Elementary School to 7:55 a.m. But wasn't the little girl hit in the intersection Tuesday at about 7:50? Is this one of those overtime pay things?

+ To the Columbus woman who sent out e-mail invitations to a friend's "Bridle Shower:" Is your friend getting married - or is her horse expecting?

+ To Columbus State University: Wow - a rally for FIFTH graders, about going to college? And they accuse Bobby Howard of doing early recruiting....

+ To "Aubie" at Auburn University: Congratulations! It must have felt special Tuesday, being inducted in Philadelphia's "Mascot Hall of Fame." So what sort of speech did you give - and was it the first time?

+ To GPB Television: A woman with a British accent begging for money - yeah, that makes sense. To have her standing there with radio DJ Rhubarb Jones discussing the late Marty Robbins - well, maybe not.

(And while we're at it: how could that Marty Robbins hour NOT include "Big Iron on His Hip?" Once again, the left-wing bias at GPB comes through....)

+ To Bi-City Decor in Opelika: Are you kidding me?! I mean, a TV commercial showing a man NAKED?! Are you trying to get "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" viewers?

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