Caught by the Columbus Catfish, hook, line and sinker

Tue, 08/07/2007 - 2:08pm
By: Michael Boylan
Last Tuesday was Harry Potter’s brithday, and in honor of the birth of “The Boy Who Lived,” Golden Park in Columbus became Hogwarts Park and the Columbus Catfish became Gryffindor, while their opponents, the West Virginia Power, became known as Slytherin.

One of the things I love about minor league baseball is their ability to latch on to things aside from the game and make things fun for everybody. There were all sorts of Harry Potter-themed games and promotions during the game last week, and it was a blast.

Columbus, Ga., was the third stop on my minor league baseball tour, and it was a lot of fun. The drive took just over an hour and a half and though the ride on I-185 South was boring, it was yet another fairly straight shot from Fayette County to the stadium. Golden Park, home of the Catfish, is located in the same complex as the Columbus Civic Center. Nearby is the bank of the Chattahoochee River, and walking around the river walk area makes it easy to forget just how close you are to a large city. I also appreciated the trees and plants that gave the area an old South-type feel.

The field itself is a mixture of modern and classic pieces. The area with all the concession areas does not look exceptionally modern, but the use of brick both insde and outside the park makes one think of some of the great stadiums in the country. There was no hill in the outfield for kids to play on, but all of the seats were very close to the action, and directly behind home plate was a party zone where one youngster was having his birthday party last week.

The Catfish are a Class A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and they are in the South Atlantic League playoff hunt. Tuesday was the second game of a series against the Power, and it was the Catfish’s second straight win over West Virginia. Columbus went up 4-0 in the first inning after a three-run home run from Ryan Royster. Pitcher Heath Rollins held the Power in check and took the league lead in strikeouts by the end of the night. He earned the win and though the Catfish would lose the following night, they have won eight of their last nine games.

It was good to see Sandy Creek graduate Brent Brewer playing again. I caught him and the Power when they took on the Greenville Drive early in July and Brewer didn’t have a great day. He went 0-for-4 against Columbus but did much better in the field. The next night he would hit two home runs. Maybe I’m a jinx for him. Don’t worry, Brent. I don’t think I’ll be able to catch any more of your games this year.

I enjoyed the Columbus field and team a lot. I found the staff to be really nice and helpful, the prices for concessions were on par with what they should be at minor league games and the product on the field was really good too. Rollins, Royster and a player named Desmond Jennings should all be moving up to the next level and the folks in the press box seem to think they all have good chances of making the big leagues some day too.

The Catfish will be back in Columbus on Aug. 16 with a series against Asheville.

Visit for more information and to see some video and photographs from the park, check out this column on

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