Tuesday, June 01, 2010

1 JUN 10: Today the World, Tomorrow Georgia

When the first run of the day scored, I missed it. It was 3:00 p.m. ET - the time when people were urged to stop for the Memorial Day moment of remembrance. I turned off my radio and prayed. The baseball teams at Columbus State University simply played - although I suppose some players in the Ringgold dugout might have prayed the inevitable wouldn't happen.

Columbus High School won its tenth Georgia baseball championship by sweeping Ringgold, 2-1 and 13-6. Columbus has won five state titles at the university and one at Golden Park -- but none at the school's Randy Jordan Field. Maybe that's why the team didn't seem very concerned about Saturday's rainout.

Kyle Carter pitched all seven innings of Game 1 for Columbus, striking out eight batters. Then he turned around and hit "bookend" home runs, in the first and seventh innings of Game 2. Carter is only a sophomore - so as long as he stays healthy, his parents probably won't have to worry about saving for his college education.

If Kyle Carter's name sounds familiar, it's because he was one of the Northern All-Stars who won the Little League World Series four years ago. Three of his Northern teammates also were on the winning Columbus High team Monday - but this time they'll probably receive fancy championship rings, instead of a nice victory dinner at Zeb's Seafood.

WHAL-AM analyst Patrick Collins dared to ask the question some Columbus High critics have muttered quietly for years. How did Coach Bobby Howard get "those four kids," who played together on the 2006 Little League World Series team? Does he really make "recruiting trips" to Little League events? Or did the school board quietly designate Columbus a baseball magnet school?

Play-by-play announcer Scott Miller tried to answer that question by saying the Northern Four wanted to play together, and at a quality high school program. He added Columbus High is known for academic excellence - although I think you need better math skills than one, two, three strikes you're out at the old ball game.

We noted in April that Coach Bobby Howard filed papers to retire from the Muscogee County School District. But a review Monday night showed he'll keep coaching Columbus High baseball. Howard is retiring simply from teaching physical education - which may be a good thing, because one student informs me there wasn't much teaching to it.

It's hard to blame Bobby Howard for his desire to keep coaching Columbus High baseball. The Northern Four have two more years of high school, so more championship runs are possible. And this could help Howard transition into his next job -- as an agent working out big-money contracts.

The state baseball finals had a packed crowd, and elements of big-league ball. For instance, Columbus High players had their own "walk-up" music when they came to bat - and several players chose rap tunes. So please don't claim the AAA champions do NOT represent the entire city. Some of their music is straight off of Buena Vista Road.

(In fact, it was stunning to hear commercials for PTAP during Monday's radio broadcast - with a man rapping about rims. This seemed to go together with high school baseball about as much as President Obama goes with Glenn Beck.)

Yet high school baseball has some strange rules these days. Not only are there designated hitters, but "courtesy runners" for the batters. I've seen something like that in church softball leagues - but the batter is usually older than 50.

In one confusing part of Game 1, Columbus brought out a pinch-hitter for the right-fielder. Then when the batter reached base, the right-fielder returned to do the running. Shouldn't there be some kind of tag-team rule for this, like pro wrestling?

-> A sure win for us at the poker table Monday night turned into something very different. Your jaw may drop when you read "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: Now we switch from baseball to other local sports. A reader has sent this message to all Columbus Councilors, and included a copy for us....

Dear Mr. Mayor and Council,

Should the Recreation Budget be decreased, considering the recent misuse of funds?

Additionally, will the Natatorium create additional teams that we as a city have to fund, under the pretense that we are preventing those young children from committing crimes?

If the city funds teams for the Natatorium I think we should call it the

NANNY-TORIUM, for our new nanny state that city council is creating with government that is much, much too big.

The citizens of Columbus are not going to want the city to provide funding for teams of any sort after Recreation-Gate.

The studies which indicate that "activities" prevent kids from entering crime are possibly pseudo scientific and self serving parts of social justice programs. Those studies achieve significance through statistical analysis that are about as credible as Wade Rathke and all of his fraud upon the banking/investment systems. I really think some of those studies achieve statistical significance in bars over drinks!

We as a city cannot portend to devise a social welfare program that eliminates crime through activity. Providing a system of parks is the answer, not funding/arranging activities like a nanny. At what point does activity stop creating a change in youth as a criminal element and start becoming a useless drain on the municipality's resources?

Call upon the city's churches to teach spiritual lessons that create change. [BUT, please do not pay them to do it.] Criminal activity originates in the brain not the body!

Goodness and law-abiding conduct have their origin in mental states/changes borne out of spiritual guidance and principles, not physical activity borne out of secular extracurriculars.

This city has seen excess in purchase of so-called $250,000 "ART", while home stead exemption grants were not renewed. There was an excess in planned [secreted] expenditure followed by a deficit. And, this city has seen a decrease in reserves while we paid for trips to Las Vegas and elsewhere, for out-of- state children to play games on our city dollar.

Which is more important, SPORTS/GAMES or CITY RESERVES held in preparation for a recession/depression? Where are our priorities?

Everyone, who is in the recreation chain of command under the mayor, should be fired, if not charged with crimes! City employees could have used that money more wisely or put it in the reserves in case we hit additional recessions in 2014 when the mortgages readjust and foreclosures soar to new highs.

We are always thinking MORE MORE MORE!

When do we think ENOUGH ENOUGH ENOUGH?

The city's major notable and observable excess seems to be in the area of social justice and redistribution of wealth. Please allow for recreation with citizen use of the city parks, as has always been practiced, not through paid vacations for children. And, please stop being Nanny to the recreational whims of some who want to create a lifestyle of the rich and famous for kids on sports teams!

Please cut the recreation budget based upon the malfeasance that we have seen with our tax dollars on your watch.

Thank you for reading this, and please stop the excessive spending before you drain our reserves and tax us to death.

Sincerely & Respectfully,

Deborah Owens

P.S. Did the city pay airfare for children to fly to other cities or did the city book busses for the children and their chaperones? I would love to see the expenses of the adults on the trips. And, did you know that SAM's has a list of all items bought on a SAM's account? Maybe you can track the items purchased on city cards with SAM's Store info on the city cards.

The proposed fiscal 2011 city budget includes $10.2 million for the city Parks and Recreation Department -- an increase of 1.3 percent. That includes 5.4 percent more for swimming pools, although there's no mention of the natatorium being ready by the summer of 2011. Perhaps this is how the city is budgeting for global warming.

The proposed budget also notes the Columbus Parks Department lost two administrative positions in the current fiscal year, dropping from seven to five. No wonder Director Tony Adams is keeping so quiet - the precedent already has been set.

The Columbus Crime Prevention Board probably would agree with the comment about criminal activity beginning in the brain. But can't you distract a brain away from criminal thinking by doing physical activities? It's like a switch from "lifting" 3-G phones to 300-pound weights.

Anyone can make suggestions about the city budget at a Government Center public hearing this afternoon. We'll see if a crowd shows up to complain about the Parks Department. It might make for better television if the protesters show up with penalty flags to throw.

Since we strive to be politics-free on election days, there isn't much left to say about Memorial Day. But we'll say this....

+ WTVM reported the Muscogee County School District will eliminate about 20 para-professional positions to balance its budget. Before you write me with a better suggestion - I do NOT think the district can substitute ten "fully-professional" people.

+ West Point Lake staged a children's boat race. Assuming the boats were remote-controlled, this was an interesting twist on another Memorial Day tradition. Click it, or it doesn't go anywhere.

+ Instant Message to BP: Well, OK - at least you tried. I'll go back to using the phrase "top kill" to describe volleyball matches.

SCHEDULED WEDNESDAY: Did political stars fall in Alabama, on primary day?....

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