It’s no secret that baseball has always been my sport of choice and there isn’t anyone in Columbus that wants to see minor league baseball return to Golden Park more than me. But there are some legitimate questions about the plans for renovations downtown to get things ready for the Southern League return to Columbus.

When the loudest voice saying “Hold ON!” is someone who played in the major leagues for 10 years and is now in the construction business, you have to pay attention. Glenn Davis has legitimate questions about the financing of the bond issues, and the ability of the city to pay for maintenance to the stadium.

The city of Columbus has had a checkered history with minor league baseball. We’ve had five different franchises leave for greener pasture$ since 1959, including one team that was in first place but was last in the league in attendance. The Columbus Pirates left for Gastonia, NC – a city one-tenth its size.

When the Columbus Catfish lit out for Bowling Green, KY I figured that was it for minor league baseball in Columbus. When Ignite Sports – the folks who own the River Dragons of the FPHL – brought the Chatt-a-Hoots, and then the Chattahoochee Monsters of the summer collegiate Sunbelt League to Golden Park and put butts in the seats, that changed the tune of a lot of people, including me.

But this is different. This involves a major commitment, $50 million of taxpayer money to make things happen. Will it work? Maybe, but there has to be an actual plan for the future before we start throwing money around.

Do I want the Braves to bring their Class AA team to Golden Park? Absolutely. Do I want the return of baseball to Columbus to succeed? Absolutely. And I’ll do what I can to make success happen.

But the city has a responsibility to show they have a plan that can succeed. Without it, no. Leaving the taxpayers holding the bag is wrong on so many levels.

One final note: it CAN be done. Montgomery had a checkered baseball history, but with the construction of Riverwalk Stadium in 2004, that all changed. That has to be the template for what Columbus should do. Can they do it? Stay tuned.

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