Tuesday, August 24, 2010

24 AUG 10: Little League, Big Fuss

It seemed to me the Little League World Series schedule-makers had their priorities right Monday night. Have Columbus Northern play its game at 6:00 p.m. ET -- so it would end in time for the boys to watch the Miss Universe pageant at 9:00.

But weather was the winner in Williamsport Monday night, as Columbus's Little League game against Hamilton, Ohio was rained out. They'll restart from the beginning today at 4:00 p.m. ET - waiting until Columbus Council finishes the potentially extra-long meeting on that personnel matter.

Troy Gilliland threw 23 pitches for Columbus in a rain-shortened first inning. Coach Randy Morris apparently will make him the starter again today, but local sports fans shouldn't worry too much. The last time a Columbus game in Williamsport,Pennsylvania was rained out, the outcome was pretty good - as Northern won the title one day later.

A good crowd showed up at the Carmike 15 theatres to watch the Little League action on a giant movie screen. There were cheerleaders in uniform, and even contests for fans to win prizes. About the only thing missing was a surprise return by the big blue mascot of the South Georgia Waves.

The second World Series trip in five years has allowed some old Little League issues to resurface. Someone noted online the other day Columbus High School coach Bobby Howard is in Williamsport - and I mentioned the criticism in 2006 about Howard going on playoff trips to recruit players [14 Aug 06]. I might as well have called the National Infantry Museum a cheap amusement park....

One of the gentler online responses claimed two other local high school baseball coaches are also in Williamsport. The Northside and Shaw coaches reportedly are with Bobby Howard. But I doubt that will shut up the critics - who now will change their complaint to, "If you can't beat him, join him."

There's one big difference between 2006 and 2010, when it comes to Bobby Howard. He's now retired from the Muscogee County School District, serving as Columbus High School baseball coach on his own time. Besides, the Northern Little League "fall ball" tryouts aren't until next week.

(Other Howard defenders pointed out Columbus is a magnet high school. OK, that's true - but I thought the "magnet" was for liberal arts, not baseball-hitting.)

WTVM noted the Northern players have yet to attend school, so today marks 12 days of missed classes. Yet an instructor at Midland Middle School said the team is learning valuable lessons from being in the public spotlight. Maybe so - but Lindsay Lohan seemed to forget those lessons over a few years.

The Northern Little Leaguers are making friends with players from other World Series teams. Because of different languages, communication with Japanese players is accomplished through hand signals. If the dormitory food is good, make the safe sign....

I was reminded Monday night of one other difference between the two Northern World Series trips. Have you noticed Mayor Jim Wetherington hasn't made any wagers with mayors of other Little League teams - the way Bob Poydasheff did in 2006? The current mayor obviously doesn't want to leave office handcuffed by his own vice squad.

-> A little piece of bread crust stole the show at our Monday night poker tournament. Read what happened at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: Change is coming to Columbus libraries next week - and Monday we learned the change is spreading from there....

The Chattahoochee Valley Libraries decided to raise its Library card fee's pretty fast. If you call - they say "If you live in the surrounding area, you're not affected by the increase - outside the surrounding area you card fees will $35 starting Sept 1 for a 2 year period. So - I asked what the surrounding area, basically, is if you Do Not live in Muscogee County - you will be affected by the increase.

Then off to the Phenix City library to see if it has affected them, to their surprise - No one had called them from the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries about the increase, nada. Well, now the Phenix City Library has signs on the Door saying that they have an Increase on Library cards as well to the amount of $35 for out of Russell County residents, only a $2 increase for Lee County Residents.

What was up with the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries system for not mentioning it to Neighboring Library's about the rapid increase. Were they trying to set them up? Does the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries believe that they do not have to communicate with any one anymore? I did hear that there was an understanding with Columbus and Phenix City Libraries about not considering the residents from either Muscogee or Russell out of the area and being exempt from high Library Card fees?

I think the "surrounding area" of the Chattahoochee Valley Library System means the branches in Cusseta and Lumpkin. Harris County is part of a different system - and since it's closer to West Point, you're probably more likely to find books in Korean there these days.

The Phenix City-Russell County Library website confirms it's instituting its own 35-dollar annual fee for out-of-state residents next week. Some of us expected an orchestrated price hike for Labor Day weekend - but at the gas station, not the library.

To clarify part of the e-mail: Alabama residents living outside Russell County will have to pay five dollars per year for a library card. That beats the Columbus Public Library, which will make Harris County residents pay 35 dollars. Of course, Harris County residents can afford that extra cost. People living in nice homes north of the Lee-Russell County line clearly can't.

But who said the Chattahoochee Valley Library System had to notify Phenix City's library about a fee increase? They're in different states, might not lend library books to each other - and those Phenix City fans of reading ought to know how to scan through a daily newspaper.

By the way, the Columbus Public Library unveiled a new recording studio Monday. It's intended for making recordings which benefit vision-impaired people - and I can't wait for Stevie Wonder to use it for a future album.

Let's see what else we recorded on our computer, from the Monday news....

+ WRBL brought back its "Midday" news, after an absence of more than a year. But if Tammy Terry has to do the news AND the weather, the station's news budget still may be at the brink of foreclosure.

+ River Road Pharmacy opened a new building, on the site of the building destroyed by arson last fall. I assume the staff is selling nothing hotter than a muscle wrap.

(Poor WRBL - its Midday news showed the name of the building as "ROVER Road Pharmacy." The grade school down the street doesn't even have a dog for a mascot....)

+ The U.S. Justice Department approved Georgia's current election identity check system. Secretary of State Brian Kemp seemed pleased by this -- but don't you think his staff is double-checking the details? If an office run by Democrats approved this, Roy Barnes may have found a loophole around the rules.

+ The Carver and Spencer High School football coaches announced beginning this weekend, their annual rivalry game will be called the "Heritage Bowl." If Legacy Chevrolet can sell enough cars by next August, the name could change again.

SCHEDULED WEDNESDAY: That special Columbus Council meeting + two more mayoral candidates on radio + Little League baseball = one busy day....

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