By now even people living under rocks have gotten wind of the Braves' plans to move their Triple-A Richmond franchise to Gwinnett County.
I don't see this decision changing my life around or anything, but in 2009 people in Georgia will have at least one more entertainment option. Richmond's loss is Gwinnett's gain.
Minor league baseball is a subject dear to my heart. And although a Mall of Georgia atmosphere will probably suck some of the authenticity out of a true old-time baseball experience, the venue should still be a more affordable alternative to their parent team's games downtown, at least for those interested.
As good as it is to have a new team coming nearby, the Gwinnett Braves are not the only option for Madisonians wanting a taste of the minor league game.
The new team will be an hour and 20 minutes away over in Buford.
But drive just eight minutes further the other way and you can watch the Augusta GreenJackets, an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. There you have an off-chance of seeing team owner Cal Ripken, Jr.
And an hour and 12 minutes south of Madison will get you to Macon where there is an independent minor league team called Macon Music (the name itself keeps me away). I saw a game in Anderson, SC. last year between two teams in the same league as the Macon team and I can vouch for the competitiveness of the games.
Depending on traffic and parking, a drive to see the Atlanta Braves may also be easier than a drive to see the new Gwinnett team.
On a Sunday, for example, I would guess it might take several minutes less to get to Turner Field from Madison than it would to get to Buford.
The new team will be the seventh minor league team in Georgia. Other teams are in Rome, Savannah and Columbus. Albany also has an independent league team.
There's a lot of buzz about this new team and it may stir some memories about some of the area's old teams for some folks out there.
A lot of people may have heard of the Atlanta Crackers and the Atlanta Black Crackers teams that used to play in the same town as the current Braves.
But thirty seven different cities in Georgia alone have had minor league squads at some point, some of the cities are small and surprising.
They include Americus, Brunswick, Thomasville, Carrollton, Cedartown, Griffin, LaGrange, Lindale, Baxley, Douglas, Eastman, Fitzgerald, Sparta, Dublin and Sandersville, among others, according to the website, www.georgiaencyclopedia.org.