Saturday, July 20, 2013

League Questions, Biscuits stuff

As we get back to the grind after the break, its interesting to ponder what the future holds for the league. Obviously the Biscuits are staying put, but what more is there? Settle in with a cuppa and enjoy as we take a look at some of the items on the plate for the second half of 2013!

After seeing an interview with the SL prez, a subtle question was dodged about the Biloxi issue. The Smokies arent moving, thats to be sure, and she let us know it again. The Generals say they arent moving, and in fact they are trying to build a hotel adjacent to the ballpark to boost tourist attendance, though the Prez didnt mention anything about it.

However no word was given on if Huntsville would move, or on the imposed silence around the Space City teams possible relocation.

I heard a rumor that Jacksonville might be able to get promoted to triple-A, but that Suns ownership wasn't in favor of it. They would be able to go up a level based on the size and proportions of their ballpark, but the family prefers double-A baseball since thats what it has always been. Its a rumor, take it for what it is, I'm just sayin!

The Prez.
The interesting quote that was given by the SL Prez was that "unless there is a reorganization" of the Double-A leagues, we wont be expanding. But even that fact came with the caveat of "and if we did, we (the southern league offices) wouldn't be in charge of it". 

I found it interesting that the question of expansion, which must be at the forefront of league interest with the overtures Biloxi has made, was shuffled off. The buck was passed, before the fact even! Also that if there is a change, it isnt up to the League President.

It sounds like the League heads are in a fix, with a city clamoring for a team - waving money and offering yet another new ballpark. The Huntsville team should move, but Alabama politics has spilled onto the conversation and muddied the concept.

Currently there are three Double-A leagues, and they fade in size from east to west. The Eastern League has 12 teams, our Southern League has ten, and the Texas League is made up of eight teams.

Maybe Biloxi investors could buy all the season tickets and all the game seats from Huntsville and move them? Nah, makes too much sense and is probably cheaper, we will surely see something more creative and much more expensive . Thats how baseball works, the front office always makes things more complex than they need to be!
The Joe
So perhaps we should expect changes, when a League Prez says its not their call it usually means they are trying to dodge the blame for major shifts to come.

In 1971 or roundabouts, there was a season that the Southern League and the Texas league combined to play each other in the "Dixie Association" and it was an odd arrangement. Born of hard financial times and teams folding or moving, it resulted in both leagues fielding an odd number of teams. So they got together for one year, sharing a schedule and playoffs.

Teams were divided into three divisions. The East division contained the four easternmost teams in the Southern league. The West division was comprised of the four westernmost teams of the Texas League. The Central was made up of a mix of six teams combining Texas and Southern league teams.

Ok, stay with me on this....

They had the teams in the West play each other and the teams in the central. The teams in the East played each other and the teams in the Central. The teams in the Central played each other AND every other team in the league!
1971 Skipper Tracewski

We were 73-69 under manager Dick Tracewski, good for third place.

At the end of the year, the two teams with the best records in their respective Texas and Southern leagues played each other in a playoffs. The winner was declared the champ of the league. The two league winners then faced each other, with the winner taking on the team with the best record in the combined leagues!

Could we see something like that next year?
It might depend on how bad the league wants Biloxi to have a team.

Adding a team to our league in Biloxi would mean another city would lose a team, and it would make for a nightmare in scheduling for not just our league office but for the league that team had left.
Some things are best in pairs

It would take TWO teams to expand, probably coming from the same league. This would mean action from MiLB beyond the powers of the Southern league president, which has obviously been discussed with the President and the one comment is perhaps a slip that warns us a Double-A shuffle of some sort is indeed possible.

If the league were to lure any teams still in their current cities, it should be Little Rock. They are the nearest city but then the smallest double-A league would be a team shorter on the schedule. Little Rock has a long history in the Southern League, and would probably be a nice addition if Biloxi convinced them to come along.

If Jacksonville were threatened with large checks or legal action and did take the promotion to being the Triple-A affiliate of the Marlins, it would open the door for New Orleans to return to the Southern League.
Or the team could be relocated to Biloxi, which would take New Orleans from Triple-A to independent ball in less than six months.

Also it would mean there were a group of Marlins minor leaguers who would be told next spring "Congrats, you have been promoted from Double-A Jacksonville. This year you are going to move up to Triple-A Jacksonville."
Visiting players flee during another Big Mo rampage

Also announced at the meeting during the SL Allstar festivities, the creation of a Southern League Hall of Fame. A great idea that has been talked about for ages, this is just the kind of thing that is great on paper but ends up being less than the sum of its parts. Hopefully we can avoid insulting everyone, but I have a hard time seeing this helping Montgomery look good.

Hopefully this will be an "exhibit without a home" as there would be little excitement to go somewhere else and see how another city owns and runs the museum. The teams have changed cities and affiliations so often, there would be concern that the host city might lose its team in ten years. Having it at the League Office in Atlanta would almost guarantee that nobody went, its ridiculous to host a Hall of Fame for the Southern League in a city that doesnt have a team in that league!

I think it would be ideal to have the HOF move to a new host city and spend 12 months at their ballpark or closeby, then move to the next for a year. It would give everyone a chance to see the items, give each each city a chance to show off its best baseball stuff, and not require a large investment in a location that really isn't convenient to each city's fans.

I also hope it doesn't turn out to be Southern League EXECUTIVES Hall Of Fame. The new league Prez said Don Mincher would be among the first to go in, and I think its a slight to the fifty years of amazing players, managers and teams to lock an executive in first.


No mention from the team or newspaper, but Cameron Seitzer did indeed win the Southern League Home Run Derby! How can they not be screaming and yelling about our victory, perhaps the first Biscuit to take the top spot in the summer longball display? Congrats Seitz!
Seitzer and Ender Enciarte take a break during the Derby

Colla went in game one, which we won in the 11th on Mayo Acosta's homer and nice throw to catch a runner stealing.
Jake Thompson in game two.
Enny Romero in game three.
Victor Mateo starts game four and five - according to the Southern League website!
Jake Floethe probably gets a chance in one of those last two.

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