Chess is all about putting your opponent in an impossible position. The group that secured the move of the Atlanta Braves Class AA farm club from Pearl, MS to Columbus made their chess moves perfectly. The city councilors that questioned the wisdom of the move were painted into a corner, and now it’s a fait accompli.  “It’s better to ask forgiveness than it is to ask for permission” is the best way to phrase it.

There’s no point in rehashing the arguments against – that was yesterday’s post. Now, it’s time to look forward and makes sure that this big gamble doesn’t boomerang on the taxpayers of the city. Remember, there are plenty of good arguments for the move, too. But the devil will be in the details.

There isn’t a bigger baseball fan in the city of Columbus, and I’m stoked about the return of professional baseball to Golden Park in 2025. Close your eyes and imagine the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the smell of popcorn, the kids chasing foul balls. Does it get better than that? Just keep in mind that there are a lot of moving parts, and they all have to mesh perfectly given the state of the economy in this $50 million-plus gamble.

Columbus is like any other small- to medium-sized city – there are power centers in government and in the business community, and they’re used to be the ones calling the shots. In their world, our job is to show up at the games – and pay the taxes.

Hold on, bucko. We need to get involved in this thing, too. If I’m going to be writing checks, I want some real, true input in the decisions.

The city has gotten some of those big gambles right in the past – whitewater rafting anybody? – but they’ve also had some real clunkers. We as citizens need to get in on the ground floor with suggestions and recommendations about how the money will be allocated, and how the re-construction of Golden Park and how the economic development around the stadium happens.

For the next few days, I’m going to break down the good and the bad into bite-sized chunks so we can digest the issues.

And then, let the debate begin here on this website. If we don’t exert some control over this, we’re going to get steamrolled. There have been some amazing results from crowdsourcing.

“We do amazing.” That has a familiar ring to it.

Start thinking. Start pondering. Recognize the problems. Wargame the solutions. This will be fun. And this will be vital to making it work. We need to be done with being absentee landlords.

This is our city. The folks in the government are supposed to be working for us and with us. Let’s remind everyone of that. And let’s hold them accountable for their decisions.

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