For the first time in two years, the Columbus Catfish finished a season half over .500 by taking two of three from the Rome Braves this weekend. In 2004, the Catfish finished the first half 38-32, before finishing the season at 69-69.
This season, they finish the first half 37-33, in fourth place, a game behind third-place Charleston two games behind second-place Augusta, and five behind division-champ Rome.
After dropping four in a row during the road trip, the Catfish beat Rome 6-3 Saturday and 8-5 on Sunday.
For most of the Catfish, they take three days off for the all-star break, returning to action Thursday night when they host the Savannah Sand Gnats. Pitchers Cory Wade and Marlon Arias, as well as outfielder Drew Locke and third-baseman Russ Mitchell, will represent the Catfish. Additionally, manager Travis Barbary was named a coach for the South Division. The game will be Tuesday in Eastlake, Ohio, the home of the Lake County Captains, who, prior to 2003, were the Columbus RedStixx.
And, no, don't ask me to explain how a team based in a city on Lake Erie qualifies for being in the South Atlantic League. But the SAL has lots of teams in states that are neither in the south or near the Atlantic. Still, the Catfish should be well represented by Wade, Arias, Locke, and Mitchell, and should have also been accompanied by OF Sergio Pedroza, but that's another rant.
For the Wife and I, it's been a fun first half, although we haven't been able to make all the games we wanted to because of some schedule difficulties this year. And, it looks like the second half will begin with us missing Thursday night's second-half opener. Still, I'm excited about the Catfish chances in the second half. Were it not for that long 2-9 skid at the end of April, and that 2-6 skid in May, they'd have won the division.
But baseball isn't about 'what ifs' ... it's about what's done. And the Catfish just couldn't quite pull it off in the first half. Which is one advantage of a split season like the the SAL plays. Come Thursday, all teams start over at 0-0.
It's a brand new season!