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.

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