Thursday, October 24, 2013

Biscuit Rumors Swirl at World Series Party!

Dang, I forgot to take pics... I even took my camera, but was so busy having fun I simply didnt get it out.

But we learned some things, as the folks who hang around the World Series party are mostly informed and educated on the ways of the butter and blue. And so friendly, its tough to be there without having a good convo, everyone is so outgoing and cheerful!

Some of the basic facts I gleaned, in great conversations with the owner and front office folks, as well as the other season ticketholders and assorted notables on hand....

The Southern league meetings were held this past week, and there didn't seem to be any major surprises from the league office. The reviews on the new prez are positive, yet status quo.

Mgr Gardner at work
Billy Gardner Jr, and pitching coach RC Lichtenstein will probably return to the Biscuits next year. The caveat on that is considering what each of them wants from their career for next season. Gardner is blocked from a promotion by former Skitz-Skipper Charlie Montoyo, and while its possible Billy could get an offer elsewhere that he would take, he seemed to like it here!

Of the coaching staff, I was given the impression that if we have a change it would likely revolve around Ozzie Timmons. The late season callup to the big club and the appearance as a coach in the Arizona Fall League are starting to look like how the organization was auditioning Ozzie as a coaching prospect!

For me, the big news was just a rumor, a maybe, a could be, a real who-can-say?
Its possible Ozzie Timmons could be given some form of promotion within the organization, perhaps an indication the Rays are preparing a backup plan should the Cubs hire Dave Martinez as manager.

Ozzie could be considered for bench coach, base coach or assistant hitting instructor at the major league level.

Its also in the realm of possibility that Dave Myers, the hitting coach in Durham would get that promotion and Timmons would be assigned to replace him.

OR he could spend the season as hitting coach at Port Charlotte, near his Tampa home. Or he could field an offer from another organization as teams hire new managers and hitting coaches over the winter.

Its a story we will have to keep an eye on over the winter and see what develops!

Buschmann in road grays
The team has had internal discussions about new alternate road gray uniform tops.
I love the alternate road jerseys but not everyone digs them. The players like the woven fabric as a cooler shirt than the double knit blue ones. However its the truth to say that the gray tops don't match the gray of the pants.
The road gray set was hurridly purchased when the Southern league informed the Biscuits that there couldnt be two teams in blue shirts for the 2007 postseason against the Stars and Baybears.

 The outfield will be seeded with a second type of grass, rye will be added to the current grass. The rye grass should mature earlier and be in great form for the Rays game in March. However there will be a time in June when the rye has died and the other grass is still coming in that the outfield grass wont look great.

The general feeling is that Biloxi wont have a Southern league team for at least a couple years. I asked Skitz owner Sherry about it directly, and she seemed honest with her opinion about Biloxi's attempts to enter the league. She and other front office folks said the same thing, that the efforts to build a stadium didnt guarantee getting a double-A team.

Sherry seemed to think there was no chance MiLB would re-align to bring two more teams to the south, and made the point that getting a team in Biloxi would be hard to do with the current teams because of the "territorial issues".

Another front office member said flat out, Biloxi wont have a team in the near future, for at least a few years.

The team officials I spoke with said they hadn't kept up with what Biloxi was doing, as though they were purposely avoiding any news from that side of the fence. Perhaps it was how the league told them to act, as I would think if another team were going to enter the area the skitz would want to keep a keen eye on any developments.

Politics seem to be playing a large part in the future of Biloxi and the teams in the lower half of the league in terms of attendance.
I got the impression that Mobile would be the leading candidate to move, due to the fact that any other franchise would have to negotiate with Mobile's team in order to move to Biloxi.
The Pensacola team had to pay the BayBears and Mobile off in cash for permission to move to the gulf coast so close to what is considered the BayBears turf.

The number of season ticket holders will go up drastically, though not double.

Team owner Sherrie Myers said the team was sluggish at the gate this past season, struggled to bring people in and asked for help bringing new people and ideas to the ballpark.

The Rays vs Biscuits game is still considered a lock to sell out early.

Giving season ticket holders a discount at the team shop has been discussed.

The Gathering of Eagles will happen again this season, this time as part of the Military Wednesday promotion.

Thursty Thirstday will continue in 2014 and is one of the more successful promotional nights.

A Victor Mateo bobblehead to commemorate the No Hitter has been discussed, I got the impression the ball was now in Alfa's court. They are the primary sponsor for that kind of thing. Lets hope they realize how collectable that kind of thing is, getting their brand onto shelves and mantles of people across the country.

FRANX will be replaced with another eatery - according to season ticket holders "there just arent enough people willing to eat a seven dollar hot dog covered in mac-n-cheese".

The Biscuits will expand their MiLBtv coverage in 2014. 

Last but not least, Biscuits SuperFan Richard C. was given his usual seat for the Rays v Skitz game. When you attend 700+ games, you get a little respect!

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