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Blowfish open new Lexington County ballpark

Lexington County BlowfishWe’ll have lots of summer-collegiate ballpark news in the next week or two, and here’s a start: Bill Shanahan‘s Lexington County Blowfish (Coastal Plain League) pleased a sellout crowd at Lexington County Baseball Stadium with a 6-2 win.

The backstory: the Blowfish, owned by MiLB veteran Shanahan (of late part of the Mobile BayBears ownership/management team), had played at Capital City Stadium as the Columbia Blowfish. 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.

Until the city decided the return of pro ball to Columbia was a priority, preceded by plans to tear down Capital City Stadium. Shanahan engineering the construction of Lexington County Baseba;; Stadium, with the grand opening last night. It was a sellout crowd of 2,573 at the $3-million facility, and by all accounts the fans were happy. From The State:

“I’m humbled by what I’ve experienced tonight at the new ball park,” Shanahan said as he was still taking well wishes from fans and dignitaries well into the game. “Lexington County has shown that they love their baseball and they love their Blowfish now and they love having their own hometown stadium. This is Lexington County’s green diamond jewel from this point forward.”

“It really doesn’t get any better than this,” Gilbert resident Don Adams said. “It’s a perfect night for baseball, and this town and community has needed something like this for a long time. Baseball is a big part of the surrounding communities, and I think the Blowfish will become an integral part of that moving forward.”…

“People like the wide open concourses, the vintage canopy grandstand and the memories of Wildcat Hollow’s grandstand,” Shanahan said. “We have the Wrigley Field style box seats, the drink counters, popcorn, and Cracker Jack’s. We have everything that anyone in small town America could want. We’re excited to bring baseball to Lexington County.”

RELATED STORIES: Another final season for Capital City Stadium; 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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