The End of Minor League Baseball in Columbus – Again!

  It appears that minor league baseball has had it in Columbus. A lot of teams over the years have given up and left town. Some are saying they think this time it really is the end. The Catfish have played their last game in Columbus.

  As I listened to some folks taking a trip down Columbus minor league baseball’s memory lane, I could only reflect on my own experiences. Back in the 1930’s and 40’s when I was a boy, Golden Park was jumping. My father, mother, aunt and uncle were avid fans of the Columbus Red Birds, a farm team for the St. Louis Cardinals and went to a lot of games. Naturally, my dad and Uncle Henry Jones cheered for the home team, but they were not in the same cheering league as my mother and aunt Flo, my aunt being the most vocal of all. She loved to scream out to the umpire things like, “Get some glasses!” 

 (My Aunt Flo could be profane. She taught me how to cuss soon after I started talking. She thought it funny to hear me say things like “son-of-a-bx*@ch.” But, it came back to haunt her once. She and my mother were sitting with toddler me in the family Model A Ford when the Wynnton Methodist Church minister walked up to the car and said, “Hello, there, sonny.” I replied, “You gxxxxxm-son-of-a bi#@h!” throwing everyone into shock.  After the preacher left, my mother told my aunt, “Well, are you happy now? I told you something like this would happen.” I am not reporting that story from memory, but from what my mother and sister told me years later. )

 I can remember sitting in our family car across the street from Golden Park and having a hot dog and a Coke at Choppy’s Restaurant.  You could hear all of the cheering and insults being hurled at umpire. It was easy to tell when the visiting team’s pitcher was on the mound. The whole park was made of wood, and when the crowd wanted to rattle the pitcher for the bad guys, they would bang, in unison,  their soft drink bottles – soft drinks didn’t come in cans then – on the wooden bleachers. The banging would get really loud sometimes. That was a pretty good clue that the home team was behind. Another good clue was what you could hear coming froming the public address system. 

  I went to some of the games with them, but I really got bored at the ones where there was almost no scoring. Shutouts shut me out. I wanted action. Believe it or not, quite often when they went to a game, I would say, “Drop me off at the picture show.” Sometimes they would. They would drop me off, go to the game, and come back and pick me up. But, that didn’t always work well because some games ran a lot longer than the movie I was watching, so they basically stopped doing it, probably because I would sulk all the way home after having to wait for a half hour or more in front of the theater.  

  I like the game a lot more now, and have occasionally gone to see major league games. I remember seeing Pete Rose play in Cincinatti once. The difference is that I have learned to appreciate artful pitching and enjoy shutouts – well, when the Braves do the shutting out. And now  that I have a big screen HD, I enjoy the games more. It’s the closest thing to being there, but it doesn’t beat it. You just can’t really bring the stadium atmosphere into your living room. 

  Who knows, maybe someone will bring another farm team into Columbus. After all, this has happened before.


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