Ever since they moved to Columbus in 2003, there have been rumors about the Columbus Catfish leaving Columbus. Now, we're sort of losing the team ... but still have the team. The Catfish players are leaving Columbus ... and won't be back. But the Catfish will have players here.
Confused? Let me explain.
In 2001, there was a new team that joined the South Atlantic League: The Wilmington Waves. They played in Wilmington, NC and were affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For those that don't know what that means, the players on an affiliated minor league team are under contract with the parent organization (in this case, the Dodgers) and are assigned to the minor league team, which is owned by someone else. Usually. The players on the Waves played in Wilmington, wore the Wilmington uniform, but were under contract to and paid by the Dodgers.
Anyway, the owner of the Waves didn't like playing his games in a college baseball field, and moved the team after one year.
To Albany, Georgia.
And changed the team's name.
To the South Georgia Waves.
Which never made much sense to me. Since the ballpark in Albany is 140 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. Or 180 miles from the Atlantic Ocean.
Still, they were affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Only thing is, they didn't like that ballpark, either. So, after one season, they left.
And moved to Columbus.
One week before the season started.
Okay, eight days. More than a week. But you get the idea. The Waves and Albany got into a pissing contest, and the Waves left. For Columbus. Who had just lost their team, the Columbus RedStixx, during the off-season, when they moved to Eastlake, OH, becoming the Lake County Captains.
This soap opera continued with the Waves wanting to move to Evansville, IN. That fell through. But don't feel too sorry for Evansville. They have a team. The Evansville Otters won the Frontier League (independent) championship this year.
Anyway, the South Georgia Waves played in Columbus in 2003. Forget that Columbus isn't in South Georgia. Forget that Columbus is over 4 hours from either the Gulf or the Atlantic. The South Georgia Waves played in Columbus.
Anyway, when the move to Evansville fell through, the Waves ended up staying in Columbus for another year. The team figured out the whole South Georgia Waves thing didn't work in Columbus, so they came up with a new name: the Columbus Catfish.
And they were still a Dodgers affiliate.
Recently, there have been rumors of the Catfish moving to Columbia, SC. Columbia lost their team to Greenville, SC, who lost their AA team to Pearl, MS.
So, what's all this got to do with us getting a new team that's the old team?
Well, now you know the twisted, knarled, confused, and just plain weird history of the Columbus Catfish, Dodgers affiliate.
Only, now, they're no longer a Dodgers affiliate.
Seems the Dodgers signed an agreement with the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League.
Now, get your scorecard out. The Great Lake Loons used to be Southwest Michigan Devil Rays. That team played its last game this year. They're leaving Battle Creek, MI, for Midland, MI. And changing their nickname. They're also changing their affiliation. Like I said, they're now with the Dodgers.
Which means Tampa Bay needs an affiliate in Class A. The Clinton (IA) Lumberkings are expected to no longer affiliate with the Texas Rangers.
So, it's likely that the Devil Rays will sign with Columbus or Clinton. With the Rangers getting the other.
The Catfish indicate they're negotiating with 4 teams. They've mentioned Tampa Bay and Texas, but not the other teams. Since Washington dropped the Savannah Sand Gnats, I'm thinking that may have been one of the teams, but I don't know that; I'm just guessing here. But, since Washington has now hooked up with the Hagerstown Suns, it means that the fourth team may have been the Mets. Again, just guessing. But since the Mets signed Savannah, that's now out. UPDATE: A source close to the Catfish confirms the Mets were one of the other teams talking with the Catfish.
The other possibility is the Milwaukee Brewers, who haven't renewed with the West Virginia Power.
Anyway, the Catfish are no longer affiliated with the Dodgers. Don't know who they're hooking up with yet.
According to the Catfish, the condition of the field in Columbus was the reason for the switch. If that's the case, it means that the Catfish will be in Columbus in 2007. So the rumors of a move are just that: rumors.
If the Catfish were moving, the field in Columbus wouldn't be an issue. So, either the Catfish aren't moving, or the reason given is BS. Or both.
Anyway, we're glad the Catfish will be back next season. Even if some asses don't care.