Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Baseball? Gotta look for it now!

Thank the internet, there is baseball to be had, you just gotta look for it.
The Nippon Series is in full effect, Yomiuri Giants vs Nippon Ham Fighters, and if you have never seen any its worthwhile. They play a different style of game, small ball extraordinaire! More on Japanese baseball later.

Also you can dial up winter ball from the Caribbean leagues, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Some great games are played in the winter leagues, and some big names are involved.

Manny Ramirez, Vlad Guerrero and former Biscuit Henry Wrigley are among my winterball faves this year. Wrigs has been crushing the ball for Caracas, hitting his fourth homer tonite of the young season in the VBL. Manny and Vladdy will be playing for the Dominican league. has the games on gameday.
Bad Henry in Venezuela


The Chicago Cubs added Vanderbilt University coach Derek Johnson as minor league pitching coordinator, and I wondered two things right away - what happens to Dennis Llewallyn who I thought was doing that job?
And also, is this an effort to make the Cubs more appealing to David Price in an effort to trade for the Rays top starter?

I wont go into it, but Price would be a nice fit for the cubs and not too expensive for a team willing to take on some payroll. LaHair would be a nice first base-outfield option for the Rays at a lower price than Carlos Pena and under team control for longer.  Price was mentioned in trade rumors last week, even tho he is a total stud for the AL East Tampa rotation.
Im just sayin.....


There aint none, unless you count the bobblehead election.
I accused them of a fix, as the official team website had stopped letting me vote, but was told to clear my browsers cookies. Matt Moore will win, no matter how many cookies I clear, even tho he is probably statistically the worst on the list. Hellickson and Desmond Jennings had better years, but they didnt pitch any no hitters for our team so they got no chance!

I voted for Hellickson, I wanted to see how they would make him look, as very few bobbles look like their namesake.
Give em Hellickson!

Like the Bj Upton statue giveaway a few years ago. They were supposed to be Delmon Young but a couple months before the statue was sent here Delmon tossed a bat at an umpire in Triple-AAA (see previous postings on Delmon) and they took the heads off the statue and replaced them with BJ Upton heads! The body looks like Delmon, but with Uptons name and number on the jersey.

Giants win World Series - Panda gets MVP and Corvette

By the end of it I guess I was pulling for the Giants, they seemed to be the best of the teams in the postseason. The postseason has become a tournament style game that doesnt appeal to me, friends are surprised when I tell them I dont watch much after the regular season is over.

For me, I prefer to see the best teams over the course of the full season. I would rather see the two teams with the best records play each other as soon as the season ends so we can see the two best teams in as close to midseason form as possible. I know, its crazy but I want to see the two best teams in the World Series even tho that would often include the teams I am least fond of.

As a Cub fan, I think there should be six or more wild cards and teams in chicago start with a three game to none lead! hahaha

Astros To Introduce New Look Friday

Too bad a local sporting goods store has been selling the shirts for a week, giving the internet a look at the secret logo. Oops.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Montgomery Biscuits Blog

Buttering them up for the offseason!

The Biscuits tweeted a picture of the trophy they won for promotions. I replied that it was NOT the trophy the fans wanted to see.
this is the one we want

Jim Morrison named Montgomery Biscuits Manager for 2013?

Not this guy

While other teams have already begun announcing the field staff for their affiliates, the Rays always wait until late in the offseason to announce assignments for coaches and managers. I speculate that there is a strong possibility that there will be a change at the helm of the Montgomery team, which would likely be in the form of a promotion for Single-A manager Jim Morrison.

This guy!

I would be happy to have Billy Gardner Jr back for the next campaign, but after the playoff defeat skipper didnt sound as optomistic as I would have expected him to. Basically it was a "we shall see" and he followed with not being sure how many years the organization would be willing to have a manager at the double AA level. The remarks may have been colored by the way the team fell flat in the postseason, but for now we just have to hang around until the parent organization feels like handing the info out.

Henry Wrigley Watch

Another day, and another couple hits, another couple Venezuelan RBI's for Wrigs. What no homer? Ho Hum.

World Series Connection

I said the other day that Delmon was the only Biscuit in the Fall Classic, but there is another member of a World Series team that was on the roster for Montgomery. Jim Leyland, of course!

Its well known that Jim managed Montgomery when they were the Rebels in 1974, and we had several players who went on to the bigs. Craig Brazell's dad Ted was on that team as was future big league pitching coach Vern Ruhle. It was Lelands first managerial job higher than single A for the Tigers organization.

1960's Jim Leland, the catcher

However most don't remember he was a catcher for the Rebels from 1967 all the way through to his appointment as the Rebels hitting coach in 1970.  By 1972 he was getting his feet wet as a manager for the single-A affiliate of the Tigers in the MidWestern League.

Yes, he smoked in our dugout during games just like he did when the Pirates faced the Braves in 1992. Im sure he has sneaked a few cigs during this series too!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Montgomery Biscuit fan blog, offseason update

Things most fans dont know

While at the World Series party last night, I found out that some things that I had thought were common knowledge. It occured to me that such info was perfect blog-fodder and so here it comes!

The NEW Riverwalk infield.

A rumor I had heard during the season has indeed come to pass. The Biscuits infield has been completely reworked.

The first week after the playoffs ended, City of Montgomery crews razed the playing surface from dugout to dugout. This included removing the sod, taking up the red clay infield dirt, and at least partially if not completely removing and replacing the layer of rock surface below the top layer. This rock surface helps drainage and gives the top dirt a nice springy play for ground balls. It also settles over time and after about ten years had started to create small sinkholes where the gravel had settled and the dirt above caved in.

At one batting practice I was at, I heard a coach warn his guys to watch out for the divot near first base, which was a hole big enough to get your whole foot in up to the ankle! Yikes! The groundskeepers filled it in before gametime, but this is not something you want to have your multi-million dollar prospects having to watch out for.

In the past couple seasons there have been ALOT more bad hops, slower infield drainage, and the sod had taken a beating. In short the infield looked its age, or more.

When I talked with fans at the games during the season, they seemed to all fall in one of three camps as concerns the field work.

  1.     The field needs it, its about time
  2.     The city shouldnt spend taxpayer money for that
  3.     Fields need upkeep?

The outfield was left as is, although it needs as much or more work as the infield. The pitchers mound was leveled or moved, im not sure which yet, but I will ask around. I know sometimes stadiums have removed the mound for such work and replaced it later.

Another thing you might or might not know

The Monty Biscuit Bobble-Bank has a habit of having his hands fall off. As such, the team has extras and will give them away to anyone who will take them. The thing is, the hands are easily reattached, so go get you some BobbleBank!

More curious than that, new uniforms?

I have been told by more than one person connected with the team that within the next few years there may be some changes in the teams look, though a complete rebranding is probably not in the cards.
I wondered if that was the reason the Biscuit Basket hadnt restocked the hats at the team store, but I have been told that the hats have indeed been ordered and will be the same. I suspect that means no new look this year, but I am sure the idea was suggested for the tenth season coming up. There may be a slight tweak to the logo but not a rebranding this year, in other words no new uniform look now, but be warned that it could happen in the not so distant future.

I suspect the desire is there, but the budget hasnt caught up with it. Yet.

Shohei Otani Watch: Day Two

Shohei Otani - 18 yrs old and 99mph  
The kid was drafted by Nippon Ham Fighters, but NPB rules governing negotiations with highschoolers is written for teams in Japan. There are no rules covering a high school grad signing with a foreign team, so it seems that Otani could sign with any MLB team he chooses.

That could be good news for LA, the RedSox, Rangers and now the Orioles have been linked to the prospect pitcher.

 Its tough to pin down where Otani is on the development meter. While he is just out of school he is also probably miles ahead of where a western player of the same age has developed.

And there is Koshien, the amateur tournament, a prestigious invitational with a very high level of competition and a history that goes back a hundred years at that location.  

Koshien Pedigree? The Babe thought so.     
Koshien opening ceremony 
EVERYONE watches Koshien, not just baseball fans. A good showing at that tourney can mean a lifetime of notoriety and often players who stand out there are given lucrative contracts by companies who want them as representatives - to lend their name recognition to the company! It makes the little league world series look, well, like little league.  


I always check the baseball reference obituaries - idk why but I do. I find it sad that so many greats are passing, but worse than that are the fantastic stories of the players I havent heard of. They outnumber the guys I have heard of five to one, and often I learn so much more from them.

Les as a Tiger in 1945
Les Mueller passed away this week. The 6'3 right hander was an Illinois native who had only two seasons in the bigs, his career interrupted by Pearl Harbor. A reliever in 1941 who managed to sneak into just four games, his return from the wartime efforts saw him make 18 starts for the Detroit Tigers. Teammates with Hank Greenberg, Hal Newhouser and Virgil Trucks, Les was a part of the postseason roster for the American League champs and got into Game One of the 1945 World Series against the Chicago Cubs. Mueller pitched two innings while striking out one in mopup work as Hank Borowry tossed a shutout and the Cubs defeated Newhouser 9-0.

Les gave up Pete Gray's first big league hit, the one-armed outfielder for the StLouis Browns who will be the subject of a later installment of History Lesson. As a Tiger farmhand, both before and after his time in military service, Mueller was teammates with yesterdays history lesson subject Charlie Metro.

Wiki has this story about Leslie Mueller:

    On July 21, 1945, Mueller put in one of the greatest pitching performances in major league history. Mueller pitched the first 19-2/3 innings for the Tigers and left having given up only 1 unearned run. No pitcher has thrown as many innings in a major league game since Mueller's feat. The game lasted 4 hours and 48 minutes before umpire Bill Summers called the game a tie due to darkness at 7:48 p.m. (Shibe Park had lights, but the American League had a rule against using the lights during a scheduled day game.)

    When Tigers manager Steve O'Neill removed Mueller, the pitcher asked, "Gee, Steve, the game isn't over, is it?" (Source: Baseball's Unforgettable Games, by Joe Reichler and Ben Olan.)

Wait, the FIRST 19 and two thirds innings? What a game! I guess the fans got their moneys worth that afternoon.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Still thinking Biscuits

World Series Party

At Riverwalk Stadium

The Montgomery Biscuits hosted a party for season ticket holders, showing the Fall Classic on the Jumbotron in center field. There was a very nice turnout, there was complimentary snacks and drinks, a cash bar for hard stuff and a warm autumn evening to enjoy the game.

One of the first people I encountered was Greg Rauch, current team president and former GM. I think Greg is probably one of the hardest working guys at the park - I have seen him doing everything from hosting groups of dignitaries to pouring sodas to pulling the tarp. He was really friendly and we talked about the teams in the series and the Grumpy Biscuit Delmon Young was even mentioned. Its always a pleasure to talk with Greg, although he stays so busy I only get the chance to have a convo with him a few times a year.

Greg Rauch and his right hand man, Big Mo

Also there was a collection of my fave 'Skits staffers, Jonathan V, Scott Tribble, Chris Asa, Molly, Megan, Jordan - the whole cool crew! We get good blue shirt staffers, they always seem cheerful and its hard not to smile when you see them. Mike was there, idk his last name but hes one of our fave ushers -the yellow shirts.

And of course there was Bob Rabon. Bob is the man, hes like the season ticket holders best friend. I had forgotten to RSVP for the party, but one email to Bob and its no prob. Other than having scantily clad serving wenches for season ticket holders, Bob has taken care of just about all the requests of season ticket holders.

wench photo unavailable

Giants win Game Two

The SF Giants held the Tigers down again to take a two games to none lead.
It was scary to see Doug Fister wear a Gregor Blanco line drive to the noggin, but Fister seemed to have a really good game even afterwards so he must have not been affected. Rare to see a guy get hit on the mound and have zero effect, but it was a relief he wasnt hurt.

Much was made by the broadcast crew about Fielder being thrown out, but no mention was made of the fact that he would come in third in a race with a pregnant woman. It was a good send by Lamont the 3b coach, theres no blame to be had in that play. Its a big game, the team needs the run - I think he felt that it was a good gamble. The fielders had to make a perfect relay play to the plate in order to get the slow runner, and thats what the Giants did. Its just baseball, and usually a good bet that it wont be a perfect relay play. But, teams that perform the fundamentals go to the playoffs and making that play is what has SF still playing while all the other NL teams are on the couch watching their fantasy football seasons play out.

Speaking of fundamentals, the Giants have showed some great talent in doing the little things to win games. I saw a picture perfect hit and run in game seven of the LCS, and now one of the finest bunts ever put down a line.

All night I cheered for it, and finally Angel Pagan rewarded us with free tacos by stealing second base. I think thats cool, everyone loves free food.
Steal this taco

My last comment regarding game two - Dan Iassogna was a fantastic umpire last night, and helped the game of baseball have a great night. He called a good pitchers strike zone for both sides, made several big calls and got great looks at them so he got them right.

Next up is a travel day, then we see game three at Detroit. I think we will see more life from the Tigers bats, especially guys like Peralta and Jackson, Boesch or the bench could have hits at home.

History Lesson

Maybe not every day, but often I want to dedicate some time to history of baseball in Montgomery, and I thought I would stick with the World Series theme and mention Charlie Metro. Its a little long but I think you will enjoy.

Charlie Metro in 1962

Charlie was one of the most loved managers in Montgomery history, born Charles Moreskonich (yes I had to look that one up to spell it right) his immigrant fathers first name was Metro and Charlie was "Little Metro" and the name stuck. Born in 1918 he spent nearly fifty years in the game as a player, coach, manager, general manager, scout, ambassador as well as inventor.

Charlies abilities as an outfielder are the stuff of legend, once he caught a foul ball for an out while playing center field, another time he put the tag on a runner at home plate to finish a run-down play.

He debuted as a player with the Tigers, thusly our World Series theme, but 1943 was his only full season there. BaseBall Reference says the team was unhappy that Charlie tried to organize the players into a union. He also played for Connie Macks Philadelphia Athletics, winning their starting center field job in 1945, until he was traded midseason to the Oakland Oaks.

This is where our guy gets interesting. He has already spent time learning the game, charting pitches for his friend Steve O'Neil who had managed the Tiger teams he was on. Not to mention what he could have picked up from legendary Connie Mack, Charlie is well on his way to learning to manage baseball from the best minds in the business.

Oakland, in the PCL at the time, was managed by Casey Stengle and befriended the Oaks young bat-boy Billy Martin. As he was seeing his playing days come to an end, he was picking up the tricks of the trade from a host of Hall Of Fame skippers. He took a job as a player manager for the Yankees organization and began working his way up through the minor leagues. After a couple seasons of success for two different organizations, the StLouis Cardinals signed him in 1950 and sent him to Montgomery Alabama to manage the Montgomery Rebels of the Class B Southeastern League.

He would spend four seasons at the helm of the Rebels and enjoyed a bit of a resurgence as a player, hitting 18 homers for second on a team that would be 77 wins and only 54 losses the first year.

In 1951 Charlies Rebels did even better, winning 85 games although Charlie played less and hit only 4 homers. The team that year moved from Class B Southeastern to Class A South Atlantic league, and took the leagues best record into the playoffs where they won the championship.

The following year the team did one better, winning 86 games for third place in the league, thought 1952 was an odd year with the team being called the Montgomery Grays and again playing in the lesser Class-A South Atlantic league, which the third place Grays won after the dust settled on the playoffs.

The team would keep the moniker Grays for 1953, but the team would fall off badly, losing 90 games and winning only fifty in Charlies last season here.

Charlie Metro would go on to become one of the Chicago Cubs "College of Coaches" in 1962 and helped convince the team to abandon the idea! Charlie stayed at the helm of the Cubs that season and he went from there into coaching and scouting for the White Sox and other teams. Charlie was even General Manager for the KC Royals at one point, it seems there was nothing in baseball this man wasn't able to do.

One last interesting note - one that is to me, the most amazing thing Charlie Metro did even though he gets no credit for it. Charlie Metro took a piece of rubber tubing and glued it onto a spare home plate so that a hitter could set a ball on it and practice his swing - to play pepper with only one person. The batting tee was born!

Charlie didnt patent the idea, and of course now the tee is a fundamental tool in baseball instruction. Charlie didnt mind too much that it took hold, he was happy that it helped so many players develop their skills and that should tell you what kind of guy Charlie Metro was!

Biscuit Numbers

Two more hits for Henry Wrigley, who homered the other day after tweeting how it sucked to be sick in a foreign country. I think the Venezuelan pitchers will probably be happy to see Henry go at the end of the season, having seen enough of him to last a whiles.

Hak-Ju Lee had two hits in the Arizona Fall league.

Thursday, October 25, 2012