Monday, May 03, 2010

3 MAY 10: Clank It Up

Sunday was the hottest day so far this year in Columbus, with a high of 90 degrees F. Fans were out in force across the city -- except more of them were floor fans in homes, instead of sports fans outside at South Commons.

The Southern States Athletic Conference baseball tournament ended Sunday night at Golden Park. Lee University of Tennessee took the title by brushing off Brewton-Parker 8-0 -- and when you can shut out two combined colleges at the same time, that's impressive.

Sunday night's title game wrapped up four noisy days at Golden Park -- but not in the way you might expect for a baseball tournament. I live close enough to hear events across U.S. 280, and I've heard occasional clanking sounds throughout the day since Thursday. It's almost as if the old Columbus Iron Works were on display there.

The clanking came from college baseball players, using Golden Park's enclosed cages for batting practice. When you have eight teams competing in a double-elimination tournament, plenty of people want practice swings. And when the conference softball tournament is underway at the same time, it's either use those cages or risk breaking into Columbus High School's field.

(It turns out Lee University also won the SSAC softball title Saturday, shutting down Shorter 10-3. Lee is located in Cleveland, Tennessee - so that Cleveland won more titles on the diamond in one weekend than Cleveland, Ohio has in the last 50 years.)

Normally I wouldn't hear the clanking of baseball bats all the way from Golden Park to my window. But the Southern States Athletic Conference didn't seem to use the park's public address system. Someone singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" off-key surely would have attracted a few local baseball fans.

The presence of baseball players at Golden Park made for a couple of careful jogs in South Commons over the last few days. I still have a couple of foul balls from the days of South Atlantic League games - including one that hit the sidewalk within three inches of my head. I barely knew it was coming. And sadly, barely any fans were around to warn me.

For the second weekend in a row, the Ledger-Enquirer web site provided absolutely no coverage of this college championship tournament. So the newspaper at least is being consistent. Consistently lacking, but still consistent....

But Sunday's main event at South Commons was a twilight wrestling card at the Civic Center. World Wrestling Entertainment brought "WWE Raw" to town - and if Pastor Bill Purvis was wise, he was in the parking lot promoting his "raw and real" recordings from Cascade Hills Church staff meetings.

Last-minute changes always happen in wrestling cards. But the city calendar of events indicated WWE Raw would include Jack Swagger, "The All-American American." I saw that title and said to the computer, "Is that for real?" But then I remembered - it's pro wrestling, so it's not for real.

(Another WWE grappler to visit Columbus was Kofi Kingston - who I presume was welcomed to town by his sister, the WTVM news reporter.)

So if the Lee and Brewton-Parker baseball players felt ignored by the rush of wrestling fans to South Commons, they can take comfort in one thing. Teams like the Columbus RedStixx and Catfish received the same treatment years ago, for hockey and indoor football.

Let's see what else happened on a warm and windy Sunday, which had me wondering if I'd moved to west Texas....

+ WTVM presented a live studio interview with Scott Ressmeyer about his upcoming motorcycle "Ride for Miracles." He was surrounded by men wearing black trench coats and badges, including Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley. So if you're wondering why the 6:00 news had very few local stories, it could have been a protective measure.

+ WLTZ showed what apparently is a corrected campaign commercial for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes. It now says, "Paid for by Roy 2010, Inc." And then Barnes complains about the state legislature having trouble with budget numbers....

+ Midtown Inc. held a "Party on the Lawn" at Wynnton Elementary School. If children can have a field day on the grounds, why not grown-ups?

+ The annual "Cotton Pickin' Fair" concluded in Gay, Georgia. If you went to this, I'd like to know if local residents go around telling each other, "That is SO Gay."

+ The Atlanta Hawks moved Milwaukee out of the N.B.A. playoffs, winning a decisive seventh game 95-74. It's a good thing the Hawks won, because ABC studio analyst Earvin "Magic" Johnson predicted a Milwaukee win would bring "a riot in the A-T-L." That would have been embarrassing - a revolt which had nothing to do with immigration in Arizona.

(Atlanta moves on to face Orlando - whose star center Dwight Howard was fined $35,000 the other day for comments he wrote in a blog. You wondered why I didn't write much about the minor-league Columbus Life, didn't you?)

+ Instant Message to the "birthers" who want President Obama disqualified from office: Did you hear him try to crack jokes at that weekend dinner in Washington? Do you really want to force him into that line of work?

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