Capital City Stadium, the 1945 ballpark originally built by Hall of Famer Barney Dreyfuss, has been sold by Columbia (SC) to a developer and will likely be torn down to make way for a Wal-Mart.
The ballpark, longtime home to Minor League Baseball in Columbia, was built by Dreyfuss in 1945 as the home for one of his Pittsburgh Pirates farm teams, Capital City Stadium served as the home to various lower-level pro teams through 2004, when the Sally League's Capital City Bombers moved to Greenville. After pro ball left the city, summer-collegiate ball -- a prime economic factor in keeping many, many old ballparks alive -- moved in and thrived in the form of the Columbia Blowfish (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League).
Last night the Columbia City Council voted 6-1 to sell the ballpark site to developer Bright-Meyers, a firm with close ties to Wal-Mart. The assumption is that the ballpark will be torn down to make way for a new big-box facility. During last night's extended debate on the subject, saving the ballpark wasn't really a topic of conversation; the larger issue raised by many related to watershed. Indeed, the loss of a historic baseball facility wasn't mentioned.
There's been talk of a developer-led ballpark project in the area, though things have been quiet as of late. At some point there will be a ballpark plan emerging: Columbia is too big a market for affiliated baseball to ignore.
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