Friday, August 30, 2013

Biscuits to host Rays in Exhibition Game

Biscuits to host Rays in Exhibition Game A Likelyhood

I heard from what I consider a reliable source that when the Biscuits release their 2014 Promotional Schedule in September it will include an Exhibition Game against the parent club, The Tampa Bay Rays.

The game could take place at Riverwalk Stadium on or around Saturday March 29th, which is the weekend before the Biscuits season opens. The Rays are thought to be bringing the full 40 man roster for the game.

This has been in the works for some time and could be an indicator that the Biscuits and Rays will extend their Player Development Contract, which is currently set to expire after the 2014 season. When the Bulls and Rays reached the same kind of extension in 2009 the agreement included an exhibition game vs the Rays in Durham, so this is kind of a standard reward and a tasty cookie for Biscuits indeed.

The Rays vs Biscuits exhibition game has been whispered about all year, appearing on season ticket holder surveys and mentioned by long time fans who have a way of picking up subtle indicators from their own team as well as signals from opposing managers.

It would be a great boost at the turnstile to bring a big league team to the city and mark the first time the Biscuits had played a non-Southern League team.

Im sure we will all look forward to confirmation of such an exciting game!

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Romero takes it Durham
 The Biscuits head to Bham to finish the season on the road. The Barons are in a tailspin and are trying to remember how to win before starting the first round of playoffs - they are the North Division First Half winner!

The Skitz pitching will likely change from the past two series, the website lists TBA. There could be adjustments as players are deemed too tired, injured or overworked for duty.

Victor Mateo gets a chance to be a southern league VanDerMeer as he goes for his second consecutive no-hitter.

Enny Romero will be sent to Triple-A Durham for their playoff push. It wasnt listed on the SL website at post time, but it was considered common knowledge at the ballpark Tuesday night.

But for us its an odd moment, having sent out team out with a last homegame. They have not yet been eliminated but are doomed to their fate and have already bid farewell to their oven not to return....

Into the sunset...

The Newspaper named Kevin Kiermaier Most Valuable Player.

I wont argue, Kiermaier played great for us, was our allstar, made fine defensive plays and is among the leaders in the main stats. He is even still in the top three in batting average for the Southern League this year.

However, I think we need to make sure they who hand out the trophy understand what Most Valuable means. Some of the choices for Biscuits MVP have been questionable when there is a season like this one, without an obvious standout.

Its not always about stats, but it is always about leadership. Its not always about the games he wins for you, its the games he keeps the team competitive in. Its about a full season, not one interrupted by injury or promotion. Its about helping the team every day of the season, even when a guy isnt in the lineup that day.

If Kevin Kiermaier were to have broken his leg instead of being promoted, its possible the paper might have called it a disappointment and named someone else MVP.

I think that Mikie Mahtook is the best overall player the Biscuits had this year. He spent the entire season here, playing almost every day - except for one week of sore back.

Mahtook forced scouts to re-write how teams ranked him defensively, informing them they can't take an extra base on him.

Mikie made web-gem after web-gem in right field and then moved over to center after Kiermaier went to the Bulls.

Mahtook, who was hitting .245 just over a month ago, has brought his batting average up to a respectable .253 while learning a new position.

Hes driven in 65 runs, mostly batting second or third, and stolen 25 bases.  Seven homers and eight triples are among the best on the Biscuits, twenty seven doubles lead the team.

Add to that Mahtook has been a leader on the team as well as shouldering the "prospect" label in his second Biscuit season.

Mahtook hoped to start this year at Durham, or at least earn a promotion midseason. When that didnt happen he could have pouted and complained, but mostly he seems to have put his head down and worked on what scouts called the weakest aspect of his game - defense.

So when you drive in 65 runs, score 65 runs, steal 25 bags, make the switch to a new position in centerfield and make scouts go from "run on him" to "Dont run on him" then I say you have helped this team more than the guy who left in July. Yes Kiermaier hit .50 points higher than Mahtook, but Mahtook nearly made us forget losing Kiermaier.

.253 BA, 65 runs scored, 7hr, 65 RBI, 25 stolen bases in 127 games
.307 BA, 65 runs scored, 5hr, 28 RBI, 14 stolen bases in 97 games

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sweet Buttery Biscuits!

.... was the rally cry from the first base side of the park as the homestanding Biscuits out-dueled the Jacksonville Suns in the final home game of the year. The game took on a higher significance for the Suns, the Biscuits matched the form they have showed all year and played their toughest game of the season to spoil the J-ville Nine's hold on first place.

Dietrich then
Derek Dietrich tried to fire the Suns up against his former team in the dugout before the game and on the field. However his vocal cheerleading brought the attention of the Biscuits team and fans to life as well. It likely inspired better play from Montgomery than it had given in any of the other 134 games before it, save for the Victor Mateo no-hitter.

After the Biscuits scored the first run of the game in the third inning, the Suns and Skitz tossed the lead back and forth repeatedly.

The Suns went ahead in the fourth on a Dietrich home run, the Biscuits answered with one in the fifth as O'Malley scored and advanced on a fielders choice, wild pitch and Ryan Brett single. The Suns retook the lead in the sixth inning when Dietrich doubled a run home, but the Biscuits would not be denied, again scoring in the bottom of the sixth to tie the score at three.

In the seventh inning Braulio Lara skated thin ice, putting runners on the corners before getting veteran minor leaguer Chris Gutierrez in an inning ending groundout.

Dont raise the white flag yet!
In the eighth inning it was Juan Sandoval, but the Biscuits closer was touched for three runs.

Sando walked the leadoff hitter and Dietrich followed with a single, both were driven home by prospect-nearing-suspect Zack Cox rbi double. When Cox scored on a single it looked bleak for the Biscuits and the Montgomery fans.

As the Suns celebrated taking back the lead Derek Dietrich whooped so loudly in the visitors dugout, his voice cracked, resulting in an odd screech that was heard throughout the park. Fans took notice. So too, apparently did the players in the home dugout.

The bottom of the eighth inning started a swell of excitement, the crowd did the wave and a different atmosphere settled on Riverwalk Stadium. There would be no playoffs, no championship here this year. But there was this, and suddenly the Biscuits realized they wanted it.

Reliever McGough came into the game, the fourth pitcher to take the hill for the Suns. But it could have been Cy Young himself, there was no defense to stop the Montgomery team this day.


O'Malley weilded the shillelagh brilliantly and stood at first with his third safety of the match. He used the slug bunt to get the ball past the pitchers mound and the cheerleading Dietrich was caught surprised and unable to get to the ball before Shawn had reached the bag.

The powerful Kyeong Kang was sent to pinch hit for Tinoco. When Kang was struck out on three pitches the crowd groaned, but nine-hitter Robby Price lifted them back to life by driving a single to left. Ryan Brett walked to load the bases and after another Suns pitching change the stage was set for two of the best Biscuits moments of 2013.

Delmon Young came to the plate, and the crowd went wild.

The prodigal sun had come back and now had a chance at redemption. This was the moment waiting to be seized as it hung from the tree, the last fruit of a long summer would be sweet for the hometown hero - Young rapped the second pitch he saw into right centerfield, scoring the pinch runner Estrada. The crowd cheered for Delmon, and meant it.

Mikie Mahtook popped a foul to first base for out number two and the fans knew the Biscuits were in trouble. Still down a run but with the bases loaded, cleanup hitter Curtis Casali coming up with two away.

Curtis Casali had an at bat for the ages, fouling off pitch after pitch and working the count full in a five minute battle. Casali won the battle and the war by driving in a pair of runs to give the Skitz the lead on the 11th pitch of the at bat. The crowd was crazed and cheered with wild abandon!
Geaux Biscuits!

Cameron Seitzer followed Casali, driving in an insurance run that topped the scoring at four.

Sandoval needed just seven pitches in the ninth inning to end the game and sent the Suns limping back to Jacksonville, reeling after losing four out of five and tied with the Braves for the division lead.

An epic game ending in victory for the Biscuits to cap off the season at home. One of the best games of the year, and perhaps in the top ten games ever played at Riverwalk.

How cool is that Braves vs Suns series? Its like an extra round of playoffs! Braves vs Suns and the team that can win the series wins the division!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Big Victor

On July 27th Derek Dietrich hit a home run in the 7th inning to spoil Victor Mateo's no hit bid.

28 days later, he did not, and Victor Mateo made Biscuits history.

Mateo throwing a ball that wont be hit
On Saturday night right handed pitcher Victor Mateo threw 100 pitches, 75 for strikes, tossing the first no hitter in Riverwalk Stadium history. It is just the second no-no in Biscuits history.

Mateo walked the second hitter of the game and followed that up with a ground ball double play, facing the minimum 27 hitters before a near sellout crowd on the final Saturday home game of the season.

Taking just under two hours and twenty minutes to complete, the fans were treated to double fireworks after the game but had already seen the show.

Pitching coach for the Biscuits RC Lichtenstein said of his role in the historic game "All I had to do was watch this one!"

Lichtenstein wasnt the only one watching it, though of the sixty-two hundred people there, one person felt a little more lonely than the others.
Bottom of the 8th Inning

On the 27th of July, Victor lost the no hitter and ended up getting tabbed with the loss after allowing five runs on three homers. He went from no-hitter to defeat after hitting the wall in the seventh inning, lifted for a reliever with two outs.

Just two starts previous Victor had proven his stamina by hurling a seven inning complete game against Pensacola during the "Rain Turtle" series.

Mateo has thrown one previous no hitter, of the seven inning variety in A ball.

Victor Mateo turned his season around, with just two wins and seven losses in the first half of the season and his Earned Run Average a lofty 6.51.

The second half has been the exact opposite, with a 2.03 ERA in twelve starts his 4-2 record and two complete games show that he has completely reversed course.
Opponents who hit nearly .300 off his pitches in the first half now struggle to hit .150.

Whatever he has been doing differently in the second half, its working!


Delmon Young had two hits and a run scored, plus looked patient at the plate, looking more like a big leaguer getting his timing back than he did in game one.

Cameron Seitzer hit his fifth homer of the series, a two run blast that extended the Biscuits lead to three runs.

Biscuits celebrate the No Hitter

Friday, August 23, 2013


The Biscuits continued their tough play against competitive teams by beating up on the Braves, taking four games out of the five to throw a wrench in the works for the Ms.Braves playoff hopes. The series victory brings the Biscuits back to .500 for the year.

The homestanding Skitz now welcome the division leading Suns of Jacksonville to Riverwalk for a five game tilt that has much to bear on the SL postseason picture.

Following this matchup the Suns and Braves face off in head-to-head play for the final series of the year - a series that will likely determine which of them plays Mobile in the first round of the SL playoffs, barring the Suns extending their division lead to more than five games over the Braves. Such a lead would only be possible if the Suns can take the series against the Biscuits or getting major help from the Stars against the Braves...

No predictions today from me on this series other to say that we tend to play well against good teams. The Braves are fighting to keep their lead, the Biscuits are playing to pad their stats before time runs out on the season. Anything can happen, even getting a Biscuit to return.

Delmon Young in Biscuits Dugout on Thursday

Delmon Young has returned to the city of his birth as he works to get himself back into the big leagues with the team that he got his start with, the Rays, who were the Devil Rays in his first go round with the Biscuits.

The internet was abuzz with fans and detractors putting opinions to voice on the reunion between the player and the big club, and there was no consensus to be found. Many fans remember Delmon more for one minor league game when a bat he tossed hit an umpire. Others cite his legal history and warn of him being a clubhouse problem.
Marichal shows Roseboro how to use a bat to send a message - For S.L. with love :)

Yet there are also those who point out his 2012 postseason series MVP and the Rays need for extra power in the outfield and DH against righties.

Delmon Young in SL AllStar game 2005
One commenter mentioned that Young had reached all his weight requirements as stipulated in his contract with the Phillies, and mentioned that the financial side played a large role in the Phils decision to cut him. Delmon apparantly was due $1 million in performance bonuses that would have kicked in with a handful more at bats, prompting his release to save the money.

For my part, Delmon has a history of big series and can carry a team when he gets hot. He has had issues with temper flare ups but has completed every legal and contractual hurdle he encounters, including anger management. Face to face he has always been friendly and respectful to me, both in the past and today when I saw him, cheerfully signing a baseball!

Young with AZL Scorpions
Everyone has bad days, when they happen in front of thousands of people and on camera it can take a long time to change opinions formed by the actions of a young man. A person should be judged on merit, but there are those who will never remember Delmon as anything other than an angry 22yr old who is paid to play a game. Even though he is now a fairly level headed 27 year old professional who has an LCS MVP on his resume'.

There is good reason for his being chosen first overall in 2003 and has just reached his prime, I think its a great thing for the city to have its native son return just before his chance at redemption. Delmon has 97 career homeruns, just over 500 RBI in eight mlb seasons. He has hit a .283 batting average and played in over 100 games every season after his rookie callup year of 2006.

Also, Delmon Young is a monster in the playoffs.
Just ask Minnesota. And the Yankees. Twice.
And the Rangers. And the Athletics.
And the Yankees again. And the Giants.
All those teams have watched Delmon take their pitchers over the wall, steal bases, drive in runs and generally hit the ball hard when the leaves turn brown, a time when even some of the best hitters have found it hardest to produce.

In many ways Delmon Young and Montgomery parallel each other - both of us are from here, obviously. But there is so much more than that.

learned from mistakes?
We both have had issues with anger and hatred and racism in the past, both he and we have made people think things about us even though they have never met or seen us in person. We have become concepts larger than ourselves, encompassing issues and ideals.

We have risen up and fought back when we felt pushed around. We have been humbled when we were defeated and seen that our actions had farther reaching effects than perhaps we knew.

Both the City of Montgomery and Delmon Young realized we had to do things differently if we expected success.

We both want to change how people think of us and have put alot of work into showing people that we can be better than we have been shown to be in the past.

Learned from mistakes?
Montgomery, like Delmon Young, has alot more work to do in order to get to where we want to be, where we expect ourselves to be.

But Montgomery, like Delmon, has made great strides and is very proud of the good things that we have done and the progress we have made. Cities, like people, do change as they grow.

Montgomery, like Delmon Young, is working to be better and should be given a fair chance to show true colors and grow. We all can learn from our mistakes and make improvements to be proud of.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Final Homestand of 2013

The End Is Nigh

The final ten home games of the 2013 season are upon us, but its hard to be excited about it when we are buried so low in the standings that we can look up everyone elses skirts. Getting just two wins in the last ten games is disheartening, even though in the month of August the team is only two games under five hundred.

Feels like fall, not Turkey Day yet!
That being said, we are indeed in last place and even the weather is conspiring against the Skitz, feeling more like fall football weather than late summer baseball.

This batch of Biscuits fell flat early on and the best that we can take away from it is that teams have a very hard time raising prices on tickets and concessions for last place showings.

Run Big Tall Mo, Run!
We have some quality players who havent developed at the rate expected, but there has been noone sent to pick up the slack, which would allow them to relax and grow at their own pace.

Instead, we are propped up by players who have flunked out of other organizations and been given a midseason "do-or-die" opportunity to step up into more important roles against tougher players at higher levels than some have already shown unable to handle.

Our best guys struggle against bad teams and dominate good ones, or offer up lackluster efforts that make fans wonder what level our team is supposed to be playing at.

Meanwhile the Bulls and StoneCrabs appear to continue their dominance of their own leagues while not having to send starting players to other levels in the organization.

In fact, they have received players thru promotion and big league help from rehabbers while we have been handed retreads and leftovers cast from other teams lower levels. For whatever reason, we have been left to flounder in the basement for yet another season, feeding players to other teams in the chain without getting much in the way of help.

Its enough to make a fan think about demanding the front office trade me to a contender if they don't intend to chase a ring here.
Author and PTBNL?


The Mississippi Braves come to town for a five game set, likely drooling at a chance at the last place GumpSkitz. Just two games behind Jacksonville for first place in the second half the Braves still have alot of life left in their playoff hopes.

The Braves took four games from Montgomery at the end of July and look forward to a second helping of pushover Biscuits, who were outscored by nearly ten runs in the series at Pearl. Also the Braves look to return to the scene of the crime where, in May the Braves scored 19 times in a rout of the Buttered Boys.


Driven to drinkin
Oh, it could be ugly. These Biscuits may eat your lunch but they have had trouble putting quality at bats in a string. Sure, we win a few games and sometimes play tough against good teams. But we also have struggled to field the ball and only put up enough runs to win about twice a week.

Look for the Braves to run away with the series, as the wins mean more to them than the Biscuits, who are literally counting down the games till they can pack up and head home for the winter.

Look for pitcher JR Graham to wear stirrups and look like a real baseball player.
JR Graham

Fall Weather this week!
Look for smaller and smaller crowds with kids back in school and football practise in full swing.

Look for Tommy LaStella to keep doing everything he can to force the Braves to promote him.

Luna Returns
Look for former Biscuit and last years Southern League batting champ Omar Luna to return to Riverwalk - this time as a member of the visiting Braves.

Look for season ticket holders to become disgruntled with the most expensive tickets and beers in the league to go with last place!

Good for you, Ryne Sandberg!
I have the utmost respect for this guy, hall of famer, great hitter, superb fielder, talented manager and classy individual. I hope he wins the World Series he so richly deserves.
The only drawback is that he isnt skippering the Cubs, who will regret letting him slip away.

Rock on, Ryno.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Welcome to the Biscuits, Joe Van Meter

Joe Van Meter joined the Biscuits today and immediately entered the starting rotation.
He was defeated in his first start for the Skitz, giving up three runs in six innings with four strikeouts against the Generals. He scattered four hits and only one walk on his way to a loss capped by Austin Hubbard's implosion - two innings, six hits, one walk which totaled six runs on two homers including a grand slam.

Immediately following the game I tweeted Van Meter "Welcome to the Biscuits", and got a polite thankyou in return.

Poor guy, gets to come to a new team and before he knows it he is getting a loss after watching the bullpen get hammered - he gets to his locker and checks his phone and there is my tweet, which has GOT to make him feel welcomed, right? Who wouldn't feel welcome after taking a loss in front of 813 people on a Wednesday night and coming in to see a tweet like that?


The six foot two righthander weighs in at 195, from Virginia Commonwealth U in his birth state. Tom Robbins, Sean Marshall, members of the band GWAR are all former VCU Rams. Selected in the 21st round by Texas, he was a third baseman in college and still holds batting records there, as well as making two starts and relief appearances.

Joe calls himself a New Yorker, he went to highschool in Oyster Bay New York and cites Mariano Rivera and Jeter as his favorite players. He lists "A Bronx Tale" as his fave movie and prefers pasta and pizza as comfort food.

So far this season he has been at High-A Myrtle Beach, where he spent most of last year as well. There at single-A+, he was a reliever and spot starter with respectable numbers, 3.31 ERA in 51.2 innings pitched. He strikes out plenty of hitters, getting 62 whiffs.

The issue that got him exiled from the Rangers could be allowing too many baserunners - Van Meter walked 25 and allowed 51 hits. That could mean he is always pitching from the stretch and can work his way into trouble often.

Van Meter got a few games in at double-A Frisco last year without much success, seven runs in five innings over three games. This year he was sent to Frisco again and it went about the same, getting into six games and taking losses in four of them.

Most of those numbers are from facing hitters in relief at a lower level than he will face as a member of the Montgomery rotation. Its a challenge and we shall see how he does over the final few turns in the rotation.

So here you are, Joe Van Meter, Welcome to the Biscuits!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

2014 Biscuits Schedule

Montgomery opens the season vs Birmingham on April 3rd vs the Barons.
First road trip is ten games, five at Mobile against the BayBears and five at Pensacola facing the Wahoos. Then its home for five against Mississippi before heading out to Jacksonville.
April ends and May begins as the Biscuits host the Stars, still from Huntsville presumably.
A day off and then the homestand continues as the Skitz welcome the JAX, I think thats the Suns!

We see the MsBraves ALOT
A ten game road trip, this time to Mississippi and Jackson Tn gets us through to mid-May when the Biscuits come home to face the Barons.

Soon its travel time, this time to Jacksonville again, for five more games against the Suns, making fifteen games played against the Suns in just over 30 days.

We wont see Wahoos much
May goes away and June begins for the GumpSkitz as they host a ten game homestand versus the Ms.Braves and Pensacola Wahoos. Schedulemaker still smoking crack, as that makes three series vs the Braves in the first ten weeks of the season.

June then sees the Biscuits on the road to Birmingham to finish off the first half of the season.

The Second Half
Second half starts June 19th, just after the Allstar game festivities which will actually be played between halves this year.

probably still in the league
Montgomery will start at home vs the Baybears of Mobile, then hit the road for ten games to face the Hunstville Stars and Tn Smokies to finish the month.

Laugh now, Chief

The Biscuits will return home on July 4th 2014 to face the Mississippi Braves (again) and then its on to Pensacola for five games.

Home again on the 16th of July is Jackson Generals for a series before the Skitz first trip to Chattanooga to take on the Lookouts. Then back at Riverwalk for the Jacksonville Suns.

On the last day of July the Biscuits travel to Jackson Tn for five days against the Generals. Following that series the team returns to Montgomery to host Chattanooga.

August continues with an away series against the Braves in Pearl, Ms before coming home to face the Smokies starting on August 17th.
only one visit by the smokies, AGAIN!

Roadtrip follows, going to Pensacola before returning home for the final series of the regular season in which we host the Jackson Generals.

All in all another horrendous schedule by the Southern League. If you were hoping for improvement from the new administration you, like I, will be sadly disappointed, as this is obviously a rehash of the same rotten arrangements seen in the SL for the past five yrs or so.

JXN twice
JAX twice
TNS once
HVL twice
MS three

MOB once - wtf they are in our division?!?
wont see 'em but once
PCOLA once - again, wtf, they are in our division?
BHAM once
CHA once

So we host Huntsville, who is in the OTHER division twice, have an extra visit from the Braves but only welcome the BayBears and BlueWahoos one time each? Even though they are in our own division, we will see them just a single series.

First Perfect Game in Southern League History

August 14, 1970 
Southern League At Paterson Field; Montgomery, AL; 
Montgomery Rebels 3, Savannah Indians 0. 

Charles "Chip" Swanson of the Rebels pitched a  perfect game, the first in Southern League history.

Swanson was drafted in 1967 by the Atlanta Braves, playing for Montgomery in 1970, 72 and 73 after bouncing to the Tigers organization. He won 12 games for the Rebels in his first season with them, boasting a very nice 1.88 ERA in 18 starts and five relief appearances in 1970.

Swanson was always tough against double-A hitters, spending most of his career at double or triple-A and never getting a call to the bigs, Charles was known to go the distance in a game, once handed the ball he got through to the end of the game 48 times in 149 career starts, a full one third of the time.

Site of the first perfect game in Southern League history

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Biscuits Shape North Division Playoffs

Montgomery dropped four out of five games to the Tennessee Smokies, and in doing so likely handed the Smokies the North Divison pennant for the second half. The Smokies now host the Lookouts, last place in the other division, getting back to back last place teams.
Smokies skewer Biscuits in Jelly Series

When the GumpSkitz bussed out on Monday they left the Smokies with a six game lead over Jackson - the next destination on the August tour of Tennessee.

The Generals of Jackson will surely be looking for a helping of the same plate of Biscuits that the Smokies took liberties with. The Generals know that with just twenty games left they need every win if they have any hope, where the Biscuits.... well, they are just Biscuits.
almost that bad

We face a tough Jackson team for five games. They are all tough teams when you have a .460 W-L%. Montgomery is the only team in the South Division with a losing record. We have been scoring runs, but we just haven't been able to put more on the board than the opponents.

The Carnage first game starts tonight, Mateo vs Gillheeney at seven o clock.