Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Truth About Big Mo

I would like to start by going back in time a little.....

Back to Evan Longoria driving in a run vs the Mobile BayBears in 2007!
Not a bad start to the video side of the blog, right? Longo already had the batting stroke down and it would not be long before he would be firmly entrenched at the hot corner for Tampa. Now he is a new dad, congrats to evan and jaime on their baby girl!




I recalled this day as being Big Mo's first introduction to the fans, but I seem to be wrong about that. Either way you can hear me muttering at one point something to the effect of "if this thing crashes I am gonna get it on vid". Gladly there was no crash, though it is the only time I have seen a helicopter land at Riverwalk Stadium during a game! Certainly the biggest entrance from the Biscuit mascot to date.


What do we know about Big Mo?
His Bio tells us

Big Mo
The pants will ride up with wear
BIRTHDAY: May 23, 2003
DRAFTED: 1st round, April 2004
HEIGHT: Seven Feet
WEIGHT: More than a baker’s dozen
Biscuits, of course!
FAVORITE MUSIC: Bring On The Biscuits and Take Me Out to the Ballgame
FAVORITE QUOTE:Now you tell me, if I have a day off during the baseball season, where do you think I’ll spend it? The ballpark. I still love it. Always have, always will.
– Harry Caray
ABOUT BIG MO: Big Mo is a fuzzy and fun Biscuit Lovin Beast. Big Mo is one-of-a- kind! Big Mo is responsible for entertaining fans young and old. He’s out at Riverwalk Stadium each and every game. Seven feet of baseball love, hailing from parts unknown, the eighth wonder of the world and the Biscuits’ biggest fan!

So who is the REAL Big Mo???

We will break down the Mascot scouting report later, some of these notes leave the details in the dark. Ah but the best way to learn about wild creatures is to observe them in their natural habitats. So here we see Big Mo in several different situations.

Big Mo on-field attack of Fernando Cortez in 2004

 Big Mo used to be seen on the field between innings horsing around with players. There were incidents. Often. After that first year he didn't go back across the white lines for a long time. I guess someone sent a message and Big Mo got it.

Was Big Mo called to the carpet for his antics?

So now we see "the beast" turning an unblinking eye towards different prey. One a little less able to defend itself. One that wont go crying to the manager or GM.

Would you let a "biscuit loving beast" hold your baby?
Big Mo loves children. From the looks of it, he is about to enjoy this kid in one bite. At the park we have a saying for how to handle Big Mo... "Dont make eye contact".
Uh-oh, I think its spotted us....

If further evidence is needed for the reader to suggest a reason to give a wide berth to the "eighth wonder of the world", I am happy to oblige. Often we are judged by the friends we keep and the circles we travel in, but who is Big Mo hanging out with? See for yourself.....

Who your mother warned you about

As we have seen, Big Mo is a tough character, attacking players, hanging out with the hardened drunks, snatching children from parents arms, hijacking aircraft, accosting fans and players alike.

smiling but nervous
While Big Mo has been trained well enough to do the dances with the Biscuit Bunch, they still feel a need to employ a handler for the creature. Anytime Mo is wandering the stands during the games, there is a staffer or two close by. I suppose its just in case, you never know how a wild carpet covered creature will behave in a crowd under the lights. Perhaps one of those folks with a Biscuits logo on their golf shirt has a cattle prod hidden as a contingency plan should Mo go rogue suddenly.

Big Mo - The Scouting Report

another Big Mo photobomb
Mo is obviously intelligent enough to dress itself, though it cant differentiate between long pants and shorts.  Which it should, since its essentially a bi-pedal Snuffleuphagus - the mopey muppet friend of Big Bird. If you are going to walk on two legs, you probly need pants, unless you are a Warner Bros pig, but thats a different blog entirely.

The Bio says Mo was a first round draft pick in 2004, so that could be a first round MASCOT draft? Which begs the question, who did we pass up for this guy?
2004 olympic mascots
Whatcha drinkin Ronnie?

Big Mo implies his home is at the ballpark, invoking a Harry Caray quote about getting the day off. This should be a big clue, as we all know Harry spent more time in bars than ballparks and hung around with less than savory fellows.

As seen above, Big Mo is not above being seen with known boozers, and even Young Boozer has been known to be seen with Big Mo. If that doesnt say something, I dont know what does. And dont tell me. I dont want to know.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Last of Feb

Last of February!
Pitchers and catchers have reported, the Yanks already have an injury - Granderson - the RedSox are already looking for someone to blame - owner Henry - the Cubs are already trying to trade their veterans - Soriano and Garza - and its not even March yet!

Knows where his bread is buttered
In Biscuits news, the teams rent for the past three months was the lowest ever, which means the team brought in the lowest amount of money since its inception. That just illustrates what I have been saying here in the blog and at the park... the Biscuits need to step it up or lose revenue.

When downtown favorite Boomer T's closes down and the owner says it "just cant compete anymore" with other local businesses it should send the same message to the team. Being the only baseball team in town doesnt mean being the only entertainment. Montgomery people are wise about their dollars and the Biscuits will have to lower prices more than they did last summer or learn the harsh lesson in Montgomery economics.

This is why other Montgomery entertainment venues go bad - they start well by offering competitive prices. After the initial setup they jack prices up. At that point people will stop coming. Its not just baseball, though the Montgomery Rebels felt the pinch when they raised prices and it eventually cost the city its team to poor attendance.

Is the Basket half full or half empty?
Its also Jubilee Cityfest, the recently deceased festival that was the best thing to happen to the city when it started. Of course, when it started it was FREE. Once it got to the point that organizers were paid huge salaries to turn it into a way to harvest local wallet-stuffing the citizens saw and realized it for what it was. The more they tried to herd families into chain link fenced areas and charged more and more to get in, those families stayed away in droves.

Fans make loud statements quietly
We dont truck with ripoff artists or snake oil salesmen. We want a good level of entertainment for our dollar, and if its a value we will gladly pay for it. Some even pay for a double helping. But if we think you have tipped the scales or shortchanged us, we here in Montgomery wont make a fuss. We will just quietly walk away and in most cases, not come back.

Biscuits ownership has fallen into a rut of propping up the team in spring only to abandon the efforts when it gets warm in Lansing. With each new team the owners catering company signs on with, the concessions at home suffer. There may come a day when they need to decide if they are baseball owners or concessionaires.

Sometimes owners can be motivating
Simply put, something has to give, and its not likely going to be the fans with the wallets. As has been shown by the figures upon which the rent is paid, those fans are walking away.

Desmond Jennings vs James Russell

Monday, February 18, 2013


One of the best parts of the winter is watching signings, the highest levels of talent set the market and tend to take their time. If they would go ahead and agree to terms early we wouldnt have so many ballplayers wondering where they will be working. I wonder if this isnt why some guys take jobs in Japan and other countries, the lure of a sure thing has to have its merits. Its a nice option compared to waiting to see if you get a good paying job or a lower level minor league job or even no gig at all.

Nowak hitting at home
A couple weeks ago Chris Nowak signed with the Dbax, he led the independent Atlantic league with 34 homers last year. Nowak really knows the strike zone and plays nice defense. He will never steal twenty bags but has sneaky speed when he needs it, especially for a corner infielder. I hope he enjoys working out west!

Reid Brignac was sold to the Rockies for cash, providing insurance and depth off the bench in case of Tulowitzki injury. This will be the first season in a looong time that Reid hasn't been in the same organization as Longo. At one time they were the left side of the future for the Devil Rays.
Reid Brignac wearing Ocho for the Skitz

Derek Dietrich
Mentioned already out of the Marlins camp as a possibility to break camp with the team, Deet hit a solid .271 for us just this past summer and played a very good defense. That being said, he let one or two balls get by that would have really changed the outcome of some big ballgames, but for the Marlins Derek is one good spring training from making the Big Leagues. 
The Marlins love Derek's enthusiasm!

Elliot Johnson was named as the PTBNL and joins the ranks of the "former Biscuits no longer with the Rays". In a related story, I dont have a pic of him as a Biscuit.

Izzy is rehabbing as Jose Lobaton checks his watch
Jason Isringhausen took a job as a pitching coach at an Illinois university. He had stated last year that he was likely to retire, and does so as the former Biscuit with the most major league saves. Four games were the extent of his appearances for Montgomery, four walks, two hits one earned run. No decision for him here but he retires with an even 300 Major League saves!


Man, we liked Shields here! Not just for his witty comments, I wish I had access to the recordings of the pregame interviews he did with Jim Tocco - it was a comedy routine if you could cut through his Dizzy Dean-meets-surfer accent. If clubhouse hilarity is worth anything, I am sure Kansas City is getting more than just a boost to the starting rotation!

you can tell its 2004 - no tall sox plus the curved nameplate!
James got here in 2004 for an audition and then spent the majority of 2005 as a Biscuit. He made four starts for us in that inaugural April and was quickly sent back to Bakersfield. As bad as we were that year, I dont think anyone familiar with the team even noticed, you could stump the staff with the question "how many games did James Shields win for the Biscuits in his first season with us?" Answer = None.

2005 was much better for James the Biscuit. He went 7wins and 5 losses, an ERA in great shape with 2.80 and 104 punchouts in 109 innings. He was rewarded with one start for Durham late in the season as the Bulls headed into the playoffs and never came back. By the start of the next June he was in Tampa earning the nickname "Big Game" James. A significant upgrade from the 2004 nickname of "Panty" Shields that he got by losing his first four starts in Double-A.

Coco Crisp learns about James Shields "intangibles"

I saw the first game of the year already, and it was the same players as the last game I saw - NPB!
The Samurai Japan team was shut out by the Carp in a pre-season matchup highlighting some of my fave players on both teams. Kenta Maeda of the Carp is fun to watch pitching and 3b Shota Dobayashi is on par with any cornerman in the game at any level.

As for the opposition, Samurai Japan is simply awesome in spite of being shut out in what equates to the first spring training game of the year. CF Chono is quick and the protypical leadoff guy. Shinnosuke Abe is the cleanup hitter as well as the respected veteran catcher of Yomiuri Giants fame, fresh from the offseason after celebrating the Giants victory over the rest of the Nippon League. Yoshi Itoi and Sho Nakata also patrol the Samurai outfield, both excellent defenders and smart ballplayers. Up and down the lineup, its all about Japan league allstars and plus defenders.

The pitching staff is a dream machine that just needs to be tuned, and that job falls to the manager, who must have it tough with only a few short weeks to prepare.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Little Research

A Little Research goes a long way sometimes.

I dont usually cover the Boston Red Sox, as I am not much of a fan of that areas teams as I am closer to home. Plus they get so much coverage anyways.

I found a mention about something I hadnt heard of, so I looked it up.

Mike Napoli will have another MRI on his hips during spring training.
Napoli's hips remain asymptomatic for avascular necrosis, which is what he was diagnosed with during his pre-signing physical. The Red Sox wanting to keep a close eye on the condition, though, so they'll give him another MRI after he ramps up activity. The hip issue isn't expect to be a problem for Napoli during the season.

Feb 10

Oh, okay.
Wait, what IS "avascular necrosis"?

"Osteonecrosis is bone death caused by poor blood supply to the area. It is most common in the hip and shoulder, but can affect other large joints such as knee, elbow, wrist and ankle." says PubWebHealth.org

Okay. Dead bone, gotcha.
But what causes this, pubwebhealth?

The following can cause osteonecrosis:

Uuuuh, that first one doesnt raise any red flags at all?
So hes either a user or an alcoholic?

I can see how that wouldnt affect him during the upcoming season. Sure. You betcha.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Wil He?

What Surprises Await Next?

Can the Biscuits contend this year, after noone expected any team in the southern league to get anywhere near the Jackson Generals? We put together a nice run in spite of having the best players moved up to Durham when we needed them, and not getting replacements where we could have used them.

If the core of this team comes together like it did, and there are a couple surprises, it could be a great season to be a Biscuits fan!


Among the possible surprises would be the arrival of new prospects. A check of the official website of milb shows they list the Biscuits roster having Wil Myers. That would be a surprise indeed, as Myers hit over 300 at triple-A Omaha. However, it isnt beyond the realm of reality to have him come to the Southern League and play for the Biscuits.

For starters, Myers will be in the minors on opening day, so as to delay his service time which delays his being eligible for salary arbitration in a couple years. Its cheap, its questionable, its maybe not even morally just, but its Tampas method.

Also, the Rays know that Double-A is where you spot issues in development and they love to have players here. Even for a few weeks, just to make sure the guy is able to get himself to the ballpark on time or figure out how to pack for a road trip. Maybe its to scout him out to learn if he snores, but whatever it is they often do it. Just ask Scott Kazmir, who started for the Biscuits for less than six weeks after arriving in a huge trade with the Mets back in 2004.

Kazmir with the Inaugural Biscuits team

Another reason they might want to consider having Myers at Montgomery would be to make sure that .300 average wasn't a product of Pacific Coast League ballparks. The PCL is known to be hitter friendly, batting averages are often higher and pitcher stats suffer from it. Wil split time at Double-A and Triple-A last year, hitting huge 37 homers, putting up over a hundred runs batted in and batting at an excellent .314 clip.

A month in the Southern League would be a nice reassurance that Myers numbers from 2012 were the real deal and that he has developed well past his last full season at Double-A levels when he hit a much more pedestrian .254 with eight homers.

Myers looks confused about it himself
A slow spring training or any sort of physical setback could bring this talented prospect to the capitol city nine, which would seriously boost the lineup for the duration of his presence. More likely, Myers is headed to Durham for the first six weeks of the campaign, but I like to be optomistic!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013



Nice, I like feb alot!
Its when pitchers and catchers report!
And when the prospect lists start coming together, the Caribbean Series and all sorts of baseball related activities. It means March Madness is just around the corner and that spring training games are just a few short weeks away. Its a fun time, when we start looking forward to what warmer weather may bring.


Recently in a blog post I touted Johnny Price and his amazing acrobatic baseball work. You are in luck viewers, as I have found the film! Hold onto your hats, prepare to see baseball like you never have before!

Dude is impressive!
Much more of a natural athlete than other clowns, and totally entertaining.
I was reminded of this a couple years ago when the Evan Longoria commercial came out, showing his supernatural reflexes!

Longo is amazing, I have seen his work up close and in person, but I might need a vid of him taking swings and making contact while hanging upside down from his ankles.

I bet he could.... mebbe we can ask him to give it a go sometime and accept the challenge!


Reid Brignac was given the dreaded "designated for assignment" tag by the Rays, his career with Tampa likely over. At one time it seemed that he and Evan were destined to be the left side of the Rays infield for the next decade plus, but the quiet middle infielder has struggled to put the ball in play consistently. At this point a change in venue is probably best for all, though Reid could have plenty of good years ahead, although it wont entail playing a few feet to the left of Longo.
Reid Brignac wearing #8 for Montgomery


Back in April of 2005, the Biscuits held their meet-the-team event. Pure Americana under the roof in front of the ticket office. Some folding chairs were set to face other folding chairs, no risers or elevated stage, just at face level. At that time there was a handful of fans and interested parties, but the players outnumbered the attendees.

As it rained cats and dogs and even some small farm animals, I recall meeting James Shields and telling him "oh yeah it rains like this about three times a week". Pure lies, but it was great to see the look on Shields face as he pondered leading the league in rain-outs!
James Shields working quickly before it rains again

Also on that team, two shy but obviously gifted athletes - Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes. They both appeared nervous to be in a close setting with fans, ready to bolt at the first sign of danger. The irony of Delmon getting a new contract on the same day of Elijahs arrest this offseason was not lost on me. Heres one guy who has just helped his team to the World Series, and the other so out of baseball that another drug bust doesnt even affect his playing time.

The odd part is that while we hear about his legal troubles, I never hear about Dukes being a jerk to random people on the streets. While on the other hand, Delmon is known to be the kind of guy who will make anti-semitic insults to people in a New York hotel before slamming them to the pavement.
Dukes swipe of third as a Biscuit wasnt a felony

Yet its Delmon that gets a share of world series money and a contract with the Phillies -albeit with a six million dollar pay cut. Still, better than a poke in the eye, as my mama would say. Or better even more than Dukes January 22nd drug arrest. Its odd to see two people diverge in such dramatic fashion.
Delmon as a Biscuit in 2005

That being said, I have to point out that its just some pot, people. At least he wasn't injecting heroin into baby seals or mainlining guppies in front of pregnant women. Its not like he threw a bat at an umpire, right?