According to the Leftist-Enquirer, the Columbus Catfish will be missing a fixture in the press-box this season. They didn't come to terms with Kathy Grierer.
Who the heck is Kathy Grierer?
She's been the official scorer for the Columbus Catfish during their entire existence. And for the South Georgia Waves during the time they had that name. And for the Columbus RedStixx, during their time here. And for the Columbus Indians, as the RedStixx were known their first season. And for the Columbus Mudcats. And for much of the Columbus Astros.
Yeah, she's been around for a while.
But she won't be in the press-box this year. She'll be in the stands, according to columnist Troy Johnson. And he'd know. Kathy works for the paper, too. In Troy's column, he comes clean and says that Kathy also works for the paper.
Sure, I understand where he's coming from. Leaving out the newspaper connection, Troy would, I suspect, feel the same way about that situation. It's not the first time that the Catfish have failed to come to terms with locals who have had long-term ties to baseball in Columbus.
A few years ago, Willie Bowman -- who's a fixture as the peanut man -- was nowhere to be found. I was told -- and I really don't know if I was told right or wrong -- that he and the guy in charge of concessions didn't get along. So Willie left.
Willie's back ... and has been back for a bit ... and the other guy is gone.
Willie's one of those fixtures for local sports. He's listed on the wall of fame ... or whatever it's called ... that lists famous people who have played ball in Columbus. Babe Ruth. Hank Aaron. Enos Slaughter. Chipper Jones. And lots and lots of folks that you've heard of ... and that you haven't but your grandparents may have. Plus, two other names: Cecil Darby, a newspaper sports reporter and historian who's also a member of the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame ... and Willie Bowman, the "goody goody peanut man."
Kathy's not on that list. After all, she's only been affiliated with local baseball for 28 years ... nowhere nearly as long as Cecil or Willie.
And, this year, she'll be in the stands as a paying customer ... not in the press-box as a paid worker.
Why is that?
The Catfish wouldn't pay her what they've paid her in the past. A 40 percent cut in pay, if Troy's article is right.
The thing is, I understand where Ken Clary, the Catfish GM, is coming from. He says it's simple economics. According to Ken, the Catfish scorer's position has been higher paying than other teams.
So he rolled it back to 1996 levels.
Because attendance is well below 1996 levels.
People in Columbus won't support the team. Lots of factors figure in. But without folks in the seats, there's not as much money in the coffers. And Ken's job is to keep the business running. You can't run the business ... any business ... with more expenses than income.
He has to make hard choices. I can relate to that. Sometimes you do what you have to do, within the confines of your situation.
And he felt he had to cut the official scorer's pay.
And so Kathy left.
And that's a shame.
And an opportunity.
You see, I wonder if I ought to try out for that job. I like baseball. I often score the games myself.
But, if my new glasses don't come in before they hold official scorer tryouts, I don't stand a chance.
Plus the fact that I'd suck at the job. Especially when compared to the job Kathy did.
But then again, think about it. Getting paid to go to a baseball game. That would rock. That would seriously rock.