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Another final season for Capital City Stadium

Columbia BlowfishFor the third year in a row, the Columbia Blowfish (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League) will celebrate a final season at historic Capital City Stadium — and this year it may stick.

To owner Bill Shanahan’s credit, the actual closing date for the ballpark has changed more than once, as an attempt to develop the site for a Wal-Mart fell through and no new plan emerged. Still, with the potential of a new ballpark in nearby Lexington opening next season, it does sound like this is the last year for the Blowfish in Columbia:

“We think this is the final, final, final season at Capital City Stadium,” Shanahan said Thursday during the team’s annual media luncheon. “We’re going to blow it out with fireworks, we’re going to blow it out with great entertainment and great baseball.”…

He has been in talks with Lexington County about moving the team near the town of Lexington, a place that has been baseball-crazed for a number of years.

“There is a place for the Blowfish baseball club, and we hope it’s in Lexington County. We have news out of Lexington County that they’ve approved a collegiate baseball stadium as part of their bond issue. It would be wonderful if by mid-season or June we could say we have our new home and that it’s in Lexington County. That is where we’ve been targeting the whole time. It would be great if Lexington could have its own team, and the Blowfish want to be that team. We want to come to Lexington County.”

Built by Hall of Famer Barney Dreyfuss in 1945 as a 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.

If the Blowfish do indeed end up in Lexington County, Columbia baseball fans will be in hog heaven with the University of South Carolina, a new downtown pro team and the Blowfish playing between February and Labor Day.

RELATED STORIES: Shanahan steps down from BayBears; Columbia mayor: We have votes to fund new ballpark; New Columbia ballpark receives initial city approval; Columbia ballpark proposal up for vote today; Freier: We’re still pursuing new Savannah ballpark; Columbia lease negotiations underway; opposition arises; Columbia moves forward — cautiously — with ballpark planning; Freier: I may acquire new team for Columbia; Tanner: College, pro baseball can co-exist in Columbia; Freier: We could open new Columbia ballpark in 2015; New ballpark feasible for Columbia: study; This year should determine future of Sand Gnats; Columbia to study ballpark sites, feasibility; Sand Gnats exploring Columbia move?; Will pro baseball return to Columbia?Final days for Cap City StadiumShanahan: Blowfish negotiating move to Lexington CountyColumbia sells Capital City Stadium siteLooking back at Cap City StadiumClass A ball returning to Columbia?Columbia sells Capital City Stadium; Wal-Mart on the wayFuture of Columbia baseball in play


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