Opening day for Albany Dixie is March 5 and this season the league is breaking with tradition a bit.
League President Frank Sullivan has planned a festival-type event to recognize the 350 plus youth baseball and softball players. What used to be an early morning event at Dixie Park has been moved to afternoon and early evening at Ken Gardens.
Sullivan is planning for opening ceremonies to recognize the teams, home run derby, barbeque, and even the band “Highway 55” will entertain the crowd.
These developments are positive as Dixie League is, in my opinion as a former participating parent, the best youth recreational experience in the area. Other communities like Cobb County and Dothan, Ala., have recognized the economic potential from promoting these leagues and hosting tournaments. Cobb County has a state-of-the-art facility and hosts tournaments year round.
Even Bobby Cox has recognized the potential value of youth leagues and is putting his own money in a private facility in Bartow County. The 1,400-acre park will cost $1 billion and also has the backing of current Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez and former Kansas City skipper Ned Yost. Known as LakePoint Sporting and Community Town Center the development will be an attraction on the banks of Lake Allatoona.
Their plan is to host year-round tournaments. Each tournament will bring families needing hotel rooms and restaurants.
Unless Albany wants to be left behind, we had better consider building a sports complex of our own somewhere in the Northwest quadrant of Dougherty County. There is some talk of including this type of development in the next SPLOST, which is an outstanding idea. This time, let’s do it right and put the complex close to amenities even if it cost a little more to acquire the land. Remember the real estate mantra … location, location, location.
A loco all their own …
Last Friday, I got to spend the afternoon traveling to Port St. Joe for a fishing trip. Riding down tranquil two lane rural roads that go through places like Two Egg was a great escape, but thanks to the miracle of Sirius radio, we got to listen to the Paul Finebaum show and the craziness that is the state of Alabama. The world definitely changes once you travel west of the Hooch into that bizzaro land, but last week the DNA pool went hyper loco.
Apparently, a deranged Alabama football fan poisoned two 150-year-old oaks, at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn. I know, using the words “deranged” and “Alabama football fan” may be repetitive, but hang with me.
The Auburn Nation holds these two trees as sacred and after victories; they show their pride by rolling the trees with toilet paper. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.
As stupid as the tradition sounds, it is something that belongs to Auburn, and if not admired, should, at very least, be respected. Instead, a rabid Bamer poisons the trees, then calls the Finebaum show to brag about it, inciting a situation so ripe for escalation that both head coaches Chizik and Saban came out with public statements meant to calm the crazies.
Not sure where all of this is going, but the Auburn-Alabama game is only nine months away. The state has produced the last two national champions and Heisman winners. There is more talk of NCAA investigations and over signing scandal. Then the trees are murdered. Something tells me the hate will brew heavy during this offseason.