Monday, November 16, 2015

Back In Action, Dothan, Davis, Paterson, Boog and more

Lots to cover since the last post - here we go!

Joe Davis has been hired as the Los Angeles Dodgers to be their tv broadcaster for Dodger road games. He will doing games as Vin Scullys platoon partner, the former Biscuits play by play man has been touted as Scullys successor and will be working alongside Nomar Garciaparra and Orel Hershiser during broadcasts.

Boog Powell and CJ Riefenhauser were dealt to the Mariners in a move that helps solidify the Rays infield at the major league level.

It also dashes the fun of watching a spring training competition between Daniel Roberson, Jake Hager, Tim Beckham and Taylor Motter for the big league starting shortstop position. I am not a believer in this trade, the Rays will probably regret letting Powell go so easily.

Paterson Field improvements will include a new entrance near the right field gate. I am guessing thats going to replace the current 1970s era trailer occupying the space next to the stands. It will give designers a chance to highlight the unique view available at that location - a huge wall of kudzu and the cemetery.

We should start a campaign to revive the Dixie Series, even if it needs another name. In the late 60s and early 70s the Southern and Texas League winners met for a postseason set of matches.

The one game showdown between the International and the Pacific Coast league, known as the Triple-A Championship, is popular among fans. Plus it would give the two leagues a big series to sell to ESPN, which we all know is where the money is at.

Subero and Brady Williams
I chatted with  Shuckers skipper Carlos Subero, he is still waiting to hear if he will be tasked with managing Biloxi this year. He was proud of his teams performance, especially during the long road trip.

I did not ask if he had patched up his friendship with Brady Williams.

The Tampa Rays were chosen to be the MLB representative in a possible exhibition game in Havana against the Cuban national team.

Former Biscuit Jeremy Hellickson was dealt from Arizona to the Phillies.

Dothan has begun its dance with MiLB, funding an exploratory study on getting a team. Expect them to lure the Baybears or Generals should they decide to invest in their downtown by installing a new ballpark.

There is quite a shuffle coming for the Southern League, which has been rumored to be gaining New Orleans sometime soon. Macon, Ga would also like to get a baseball team back and is trying to decide if they want to build a new park.

Friday, October 23, 2015

unwritten rules, my response to JGS

I respect your opinion Jesse, but I could not disagree more.

Unwritten rules are there to protect players from making errors in judgement and to keep minor offenses from escalating into on-field brawls. Unwritten rules are followed or punishments are doled out, be it from opposing players, umpires, the media or league officials.

For example:
Unwritten rule: Catchers shouldnt block the plate without holding the ball. That rule was so obvious that it became a written rule. Would you have every catcher stand in the path of the runners? Of course not. But because some folks didnt abide by the unwritten rule, it had to be formalized. 

You mention stealing with a big lead, this is a very common and important unwritten rule. But you claim its nebulous and accuse fans of a lack of understanding by even using the term. Yet professionals know it is defined very clearly "if you have more runs than outs left in the game, dont run". This is another unwritten rule that became a written one, scorers indifference was not among the original scoring rules but has become an obvious result in blowout games. League scorers got sick of rewarding baserunners who didn't observe this unwritten rule and so it got written down.

Other unwritten rules became written, thats why coaches and catchers have to stay in their chalked out boxes to reduce interference. Originally it was thought that everyone knew not to interfere with the players - it was an unwritten rule. Pitchers with a foot on the rubber? Same. Don't gamble on your own teams games? That one had to get written in pretty early on!

It was unwritten not to throw at players heads. But some folks agree with you, that it wasnt written in the rules so why not do it? Black marks on character didnt keep Bob Gibson from being the most feared and successful pitcher on the planet, so those unwritten rules had to be written out to protect players. Now umpires eject pitchers they feel intentionally throw beanballs.

There is a "right way" to play the game, simply that is to respect the opposition. To ignore this rule is to flirt with danger on the field. What happens when a pitcher throws at a players head? The offended batter takes issue and charges the mound. What happens when a player upends a middle infielder with a late slide? Brawls break out, umpires eject offending players, fans boo, newspapers write accusatory headlines.

Are you advocating late slides? Pitching at heads? Blocking home plate? These unwritten rules are universal in spite of any claim that players from different countries are raised with different unwritten rules. Where do they let these guidelines slide? Nowhere. Period. Baseball is played worldwide and disregarding them gets the same result no matter where you see the game. Etiquette is not varied by countries, only the method of punishment and retaliation.

By your argument, you have no issue with a batter not running out a popup? Running hard on a groundball that is a sure out? Stealing a peek back at the catcher to see the signs? Every fan in the world knows those are things players should do every time, no matter what. Unwritten rules are wide ranging and effective.

How about ones that affect your job as a media contact - do you get irked with players who dodge interviews? How would you feel if they call the pressbox during a game to complain about your play by play? Do you expect them to hear your criticism during a game broadcast but never say anything to the public about it? Those are unwritten rules that players face as well, but less is said about them because the media is the disrespected party and doesn't share that they were insulted. Yet, you surely know that it often affects a return from the offended party just as a late slide or beanball would. Thats why some teams announcers have been bumped from team charter flights as punishment, a war of attrition just the same as two teams throwing beanballs until the benches clear.

Bat flips are not respectful, pitchers pumping fists after strikeouts mid-inning arent either. The unwritten rules must be followed, or you will eventually see chin music or be met with Brian McCann as you try to cross home plate. I mention here Chase Utley, who didn't break any written rule with a late slide but still faces suspension, which proves even MLB HQ frowns on players who shun unwritten rules.

Unwritten rules are common and must be followed. If they aren't, they become written rules. Fans using the term are simply acknowledging that they see a player disrespecting the opposition. I think it shows the human inclination to judge morality and integrity in others.

When you get down to it, historically speaking EVERY rule was an unwritten rule until it was so flagrantly ignored that it had to be written down.

Simply put, unwritten rules run the game and if they get ignored too often they get added into the rule book to protect both players and the integrity of the game.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Paterson Goes Topless, Timmons Promoted to Durham Bulls

Friendly first base coach and hitting instructor Ozzie Timmons was promoted to Durham last week. The move to triple-A should come as no surprise to Biscuits fans, Timmons easy going nature and keen eye for the game have made him popular with players and fans alike.

Following the Biscuits season, Timmons again this year suited up for the big club as a bench coach for his home town Tampa Bay Rays, a regular event in recent Septembers.

It has long been my opinion that Ozzie is a future MLB first base coach, a coaching prospect even. Timmons has expressed some desire to manage at times, but is probably closer to the major leagues as a hitting instructor and first base coach.

A replacement has yet to be named to fill Montgomery's first base coaches box. A likely suspect would be Joe Szekely, the StoneCrabs hitting coach.

I am looking for video of past Montgomery games, in particular the vid of the 2007 Biscuits championship win over Huntsville. If anyone has any video of the playoffs from 06 or 07, please let me know. There was a vid of the last inning of the 2oo7 game, but it was lost/removed when google took over youtube.


This week renovations began at the old Rebels playing field, a move probably much needed but its yet to be seen how the execution will look.

Pressbox in June
Hopefully they appreciate the classic look of the iconic "Municipal Stadium" and maintain the appearance while updating the fan experience.

When I spoke with city points of contact earlier this year, I was told the renovations start with a new pressbox.

The seating will get new aluminum seats and the whole place might get painted. Obviously, freshening up the clubhouses is an important item as well.
Paterson Field Home Clubhouse pre renovation

I got to check out the work being done and took some photos. I wonder how much of this is being done to make money off the recycling of the metal roof, since that is what seemed to be where most of the work has been done.

Pressbox now
It had the look more of a salvage operation than a renovation project.  Or tornado damage.

A lone worker was cutting up the pressbox with a torch while I was there. He didn't seem to mind letting me take a look around.

Now it will be interesting to learn how it will look with a replacement roof over the grandstand.

Its an odd view of the old park to see it without the topper that has been in place since its construction by Hoke VandiGriff back in the 1950s.

A lot different now!
Whats not different are the dugouts, which have been pretty much the same since the park was built.

The only serious addition to the dugouts since construction is the roof, which was put up in the early to mid 1960s. So it seems double-A guys can demand a roof to get out of the sun, but lower levels guys hadn't yet earned shade.

The home dugout of Paterson Field, home of the Montgomery Rebels 1950-1980

And there is no timetable for completion, this being a piece meal type improvement. I am not sure there is a budget to apply, a mysterious municipal plan for renovation without specifics is often a bad situation. Lets hope it works out for the best at the old ballpark, its a gem of a mid-century construction.

No its not the best park in the world, but its ours, its paid for and its where our baseball history resides.


The Blog has been and might be slow until after the World Series has reached its conclusion. It will give everyone a chance to enjoy playoff baseball and for me to reintroduce myself to my family. I knew it had to happen when the family pets no longer recognized me.

During this time, there will will be writing, researching and preparing for a full offseason with new features and information, so the posts might be a little sparse. Thank you for your patience!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Promo Sked, Faria Photobomb, Skitz AFL Bound

Here at the Original Montgomery Biscuits Fan blog, we don't quit when the weather gets cold. There is baseball talk aplenty in the offseason, especially this year!

We should learn plenty on Wednesday as the Biscuits release their promotional schedule. It will be chock full of new events and promotions, the Skitz front office seems to be moving ahead with fresh ideas. Hopefully everyone will find something they like in the release, though I am not sure if it is a tune up or total revamp.

The promotional schedule will also tell us how the Biscuits see themselves. Winning teams draw fans with wins, others rely on giveaways and promotions.


I expect to see the fauxback uniforms on the sked, perhaps the team will take the opportunity to give a nod to the rich baseball history of the Montgomery area.

I am hopeful we might see a Kevin Kiermaier bobblehead and have a T Shirt giveaway night.

I think we will have a return of Rays Night w/DJ Kitty or Raymond. And of course the popular Star Wars night will be a standard on the calendar.
Mark Sappington encounters the Dark Side

The Rays released their winter ball assignations, but with Montgomery involved in postseason play it went almost unnoticed. Every year guys play winter ball, its a rare treat to get Autumn Biscuits! Priorities, ya know.

But if you crave a taste of next summers Biscuits early, look no farther than the Arizona Fall League. Current Skitz sent to AFL duty include Jake Bauers, Closer Brad Schreiber and shortstop Daniel Robertson. Bauers has been listed as an outfielder, likely giving the young slugger a chance to show his versatility as an audition for a possible position change.

As for future Biscuits, first baseman Casey Gillaspie as well as pitchers Mike Franco and Buddy Borden are rostered for fall games and all spent time at Port Charlotte this summer.

Gillaspie lost time to injury in 2015 but still has a chance to be the Biscuits first sacker next summer and may be part of the reason Bauers will get a look in the outfield. Bauers has told me he expects to return to Montgomery to start next year.

Canadian Biscuit AllStar Gold Medalist pitcher Jared Mortensen told me he is headed for the Dominican Republic for winter ball.

Morty said he does not speak much spanish but says he will be brushing up ahead of the trip!

Even before he broke his hand, Johnny Field told me he planned to get some rest this offseason. After spending last winter in Australian League baseball, the All Star left fielder has been experiencing summer for about 18 consecutive months and played three seasons worth of games in just two years.

"Even if they asked me to play winter ball, I would probably turn it down" Field told me. "The Rays generally prefer to not send a player for winter ball two seasons in a row."
Sorry Brisbane Bandits fans, no Johnny Field Jr this year.

If you won a Biscuits jersey at the Charity Auction a few weeks ago, you can pick them up this week at the team store. I was happy to grab mine on monday and remember to check the Biscuits webpage for your photo.

I found mine online and got a little more than I expected with it - not just a pic with Jeff Ames but it includes a photobomb by Jacob Faria!

In an effort to give readers what they want, the suggestion box is open. Let me know what you want to see and we will make every effort to accommodate.

Already this year I have gotten ideas and requests from folks about what they like or want to see more of and its my pleasure to make it happen. I love getting the feedback from readers, even if its just "hey i like the stats" or "more funny pictures" its a huge help in making it a better experience for Biscuit fans. Thats you guys!

So give a shout, leave a comment or shoot me a line at DrMiraculous at knology dot net.

In the next few posts I hope to look at the year in review, hand out some awards, check in on past Biscuits and start breaking down what to expect next summer.

Not goodbye, but au revoir - this blog is year round!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Biscuits Fall to Lookouts

The Biscuits fell to the Lookouts in the Southern league Division Series, but you probably know that. The game was routine, though the outcome meant the good guys were sent home. It concludes the All Star summer, perhaps a week too soon for some, yet we cannot deny what we have seen - the best Biscuits ever.

The Lookouts celebrated on the field after their victory, but I didn't watch. I went to the Skitz dugout to high five and fist bump any player who would take it, any way to thank them for all they did for us.

Sure, Montgomery was beaten but this team had character and style, they offered hope and optimism. They made many in Montgomery fall in love with baseball again and nearly brought the city a pennant.

Jaime Schultz set new team K mark
Montgomery hasn't had a team to be proud of in such a long time, this one will be the measuring stick future squads will be judged by.

This was a real team, not just a group of players trying to move up the chain. They weren't angry about being sent here, sulky sluggers, moody prospects, divas or party animals. They got along with each other and with the locals. They pulled for each other to do well and they won games as a team. This was perhaps the first true TEAM to wear the Biscuits uniform, from one-game active Wilmer Dominguez to 120 game Patrick Leonard each guy was giving his best to help the group.

Some took the defeat hard, as can be understood.

Fans, players, team staff and employees and just about everyone around the park are bonded kin by now. They have become family while watching these guys win games with smiles on their faces.

Its been easy to pull for this team because they make it easy to like them. Seeing the season end and saying goodbye is tougher when you come so close to the big reward, especially for a team that has overcome so much to get where they are.

A few friends who are die hard fans left early, others stayed but left silently at the conclusion of the game.
One reliever sat on the bench for almost twenty minutes after the game had ended, just looking out across the empty field.
Coach Timmons was said to be sitting in front of his locker, not speaking.
A few players left the park quickly after the game, anxious to put the end of the season in the rear view mirror.
Most guys packed up and hung around for a few to say their goodbyes before heading off to whatever plans they have for the offseason.

People have already asked me this, wanting to pin the playoff losses on assorted factors. While each in-game event during the postseason does indeed influence the outcome, I feel perhaps the most key factor was not something that went on during the playoff games at all, specifically I mean the injury to Johnny Field Jr.

That one injury meant we were playing in the postseason with a lineup different than we had been using to win the games that got us there. Our proven recipe was missing a key ingredient and its as simple as that.

I spoke with Jacob Faria during the game (meaning he was at the concession stand getting some food and I bugged him for his thoughts on the  situation. He was awesome and put off eating his probably already cold ballpark eats to answer questions that he knew would likely end up on the blog...)

Jacob put it perfectly - the big turning point was when we had the bases loaded and couldnt score in Sundays game. We pick up a run or two there and its a different series.

The same kind of momentum situation came up in game four when JuneQ came off the bench to deliver a hit and bring the tying run to the plate, we just couldn't the runs when we needed them to deliver the knock out blow.

Close play but Biscuits don't catch a break
During the series, the Biscuits played with real fight, scrapping in every at bat and showing grit in every pitch. The Skitz had opportunities that were missed, but scored enough to win in most games. The pitching was good enough to win, they just didn't catch any breaks and that was the difference in the games.

Some may point to errors made and its true that the miscues were costly in terms of runs. However its tough to place any blame on this team, with so many late inning comebacks, so many extra inning heroics there was always a chance to get back into the ball game.

And in baseball that is all you can ask for, give your team a chance to win and see if it happens. If not, you can only tip your cap to the other team because you gave it your best shot. These Biscuits did just that.


Bearded Johnny Field
Several of the Biscuit players expressed a desire to keep their playoff beards.
Several wives and girlfriends expressed otherwise.

Team Canada pitcher Jared Mortensen has called Dallas,Tx home for a few years now. I've been yelling "get him ooot" Canadian-style for about four months, had I known I would have yelled "get him ooot pardner" to add Texas flair..

Chris Kirsch said he might be back here next year. I told him to keep a Durham apartment guide handy just in case, they love lefties up there.

Jacob Faria does not surf, in spite of being a native Californian. He does appear to like Pepperidge Farms Goldfish.

A few of the Biscuit players said they knew of the blog and expressed approval. They thanked me for being a loyal fan. I am humbled by praise of this nature and simply didn't know what to say other than to thank them for bringing us a second half championship.

Its been the best year ever for Biscuits!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Skitz Down, Not Out, Must Win

The Biscuits fell to the Lookouts at home on Sunday. Montgomery must now win Monday night to force a game five on Tuesday.
For long time fans it brought back bad memories of the 2012 playoff sweep. Yet, unlike that team, these Biscuits have shown more resilience than any other group to wear the butter and blue.

Some asked if I was worried, I am not.
Win, Lose or Draw it won't change the fact that this is the best Biscuits team we have seen. Ever.

These Biscuits refuse to quit, score late, have fine pitching both starting and relief and play excellent defense. There are two great catchers, an array of impressive bats scoring runs in bunches and have coaches who know how to handle the team.

The Biscuits have posted back to back wins 20 times this summer. They believe in themselves even when others don't.

Which in my book is just what makes them the best team we have seen fielded in Montgomery for a very long time.

So, no, I am not worried.
A very close play exemplifies the series

And if they do fail to advance in the playoffs, it won't diminish their greatness. Simply a shame that we didn't get to fully prove what we are capable of, what we have seen all season long.

Yet I am not ready to say they are done, this is not a group that will roll over and give away their chance at a ring.
2007 Biscuits Championship Ring (not a replica)

The Sunday game had a playoff feel, but was odd in some ways.

Big Mo threw out the first pitch.
No dignitaries, no former players, no league representatives or city officials. Just Big Mo.
The crowd was respectable, announced at over 2100. If team officials were worried about attendance, fans let them know that Montgomery supports a winner.

Austin Pruitt was on the hill, his Texas squint and playoff beard in full effect. He took the Loss but pitched well, striking out six in six innings.

Seven hits and four runs were charged against him, Austin gave up an early two run homer and spent the rest of the game trying to hold the line and give his offense a chance to support him.

Touched again for another pair of runs in the third, Pruitt gave a fine effort in 93 pitches.

The home team offense was one big swing from Cameron Seitzer, whose three run blast kept Montgomery from being shut out.

Three Biscuit errors in a game is an aberration, but the gaffes proved costly. Usually steady at 3b, Leonard's errant throw was notable, as was a catchers interference call.

Querecuto was charged with a fumble on a botched grounder, while it was a tough hop in traffic around a baserunner its also a play that had to be made. The three unearned runs resulting from these miscues were the difference in the game.

Chris Kirsch did indeed pitch out of the bullpen, tossing one very effective inning. He turned switch hitter Polanco around to the right side and neutralized the lefty Kepler.

Ryne Stanek and Parker Markel also pitched in relief, both were victims of unearned runs brought on by the aforementioned errors.

In game four, the Magic 8 Ball has the best guess.

What we will look for is Taylor Guerrieri on the hill. He was held out of games a little longer than normal, this start is the reason. Learning to pitch big games is just what the Rays look for in their #1 draft pick.

Look for tournament style management from Brady Williams. Meaning look for the Biscuits to unload the bullpen after Guerrieri departs and pinch run/pinch hit more freely than in the regular season.

Look for Brady Williams to bark at the umpires if they seem to be slacking or missing calls. A floating strike zone is tough enough in July, the fiery skipper won't let the officials cut any corners on his guys in such big games.

Look for Biscuit hits, the Skitz have not failed to get on base even in their losses this year.

Look for Sappington, Garton, Lollis to be the first guys out of the pen.

Jeff Ames may be a candidate for the closers role right now. The blistered thumb from a week ago is no longer an issue.