Organized baseball is one Columbus Council vote from returning to Golden Park.
And that vote will take place on Tuesday.
If listen closely, you can almost hear the crack of that bat and dugout chatter, says Columbus River Dragons hockey team President Scott Brand.
“This is the place where memories are made,” he said of Golden Park. “That’s all we hear about is I used to go to Golden Park. Well, fans, it’s time to come home. She’s going to be back open.”
Right now, Historic Golden Park looks like a place that has not had a regular baseball team since 2009. A wood-bat college team was the last organized baseball in the city-owned park.
Brand and the Columbus River Dragons ownership have an agreement with the city of Columbus to take over Golden Park and bring a wood-bat league team to the facility next June.
“It’s very, very close,” said Mayor Skip Henderson.
It is fair to say the home team is up 10 runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. And the hockey ownership are the right guys at the right time. After a two-year absence, they brought hockey back to the Civic Center a year ago.
“They got a track record,” Henderson said. “The proposal they made was one we thought was one that was kind of hard to ignore. But we have always wanted to try and put baseball back into Golden Park on a full-time basis.”
Though they plan to play 20-25 home games with college players from throughout the region, the business model will look like what is already happening in Savannah and Macon. The Savannah Bananas and Macon Bacon have become wildly popular, and play in front of sell-out crowds.
“I am sorry, Macon and Savannah, we are going to steal the gameplans over there,” Brand said. “Those organizations have been really successful.”
To replicate that fan experience, work has to be done to Golden Park. There need to be new lights, the one’s behind home plate are gone. There also needs to be a new roof.
But that will happen, Brand says. How confident is he about winning council approval on Tuesday?
“We are going to start June 4th. That’s our opening night,” Brand said. “We will have a game on Friday and Saturday. Hopefully, the baseball gods will make sure the weather is clear. And we’ll be ready to play,”