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Play ball, Macon! Midstate NEEDS pro baseball

When the Macon Pinetoppers went belly up like an overfed goldfish, the Peach State League also took a hit as well. With the exception of a few Summer league teams playing there, the city using it as a movie theatre of sorts and Luther Williams Field being used as a backdrop for "Trouble With The Curve" and "42," it sits empty.

It's time for Macon to step back onto the professional baseball scene as a short-season Class A team. Of the 30 Major League Baseball teams, 21 teams field a team either in the New York-Penn League or the Northwest League. In the event you're wondering who the nine teams that don't have short season A ball teams, those teams are Atlanta, Chicago White Sox, Houston, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets and Kansas City. It would not be possible for Macon to join either the New York-Penn or Northwest League because of travel but there needs to be a third short season A league to fill the void. For those wondering, the season for short season Class A would start in June, well after the high school baseball season in Georgia comes to an end and ends in early September, usually after Labor Day. The season lasts only about 70-75 games long, as opposed to a regular minor league season that lasts 140 games. The late start gives college players that were drafted a chance to compete immediately in hopes of moving to the next level. Their Spring Training would last longer and they would have to make the transition from aluminum to wood bats under professional baseball rules but it would be a start.

In the hopes that a league is formed and a team is placed in Macon, that team would have to start almost immediately, getting to meet with sponsors in the community. They would need to meet with civic groups and start placing ads in the Telegraph, on public transit and radio and TV stations to get their name out immediately.

The office staff could be either local people that know the area or members from the team that have been assigned to Macon that live in the city for at least a year. The game day staff (scorers, public address announcers, scoreboard operators, game day staffers, ushers, grounds crew and concession workers) would be from the Macon area.

A team in Macon could create jobs for those that work for the team, even if those jobs run from June to September. That would mean money would be spent in the community and that money would stay in Macon. Luther Williams Field is too great a ballpark to sit empty for the Summer, aside from movies being shown, it's already standing and needs only minor work, such as a modern scoreboard and re-sodding the field to bring it up to standard, as well as paving the parking lot and improving the lighting there. Nothing against Warner Robins but it's Macon's turn.

Luther Williams Field has seen some of the best players (Pete Rose, Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones) play on its field before moving on to the majors. Since the Macon Braves left to go to Rome, there have been two professional teams and leagues come in and leave. There's also been a wood bat college team play there as well. It's time for baseball to make a PERMANENT return to Macon and there is interest and a fan base that wants a team badly.

A ballpark sits empty and needs to be used.

The time is now for baseball to return to Macon.

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