Friday, December 6, 2013

Convo with the Owner

Skitz Owner
Back in October I had a chance to have a conversation with Biscuits co-owner Sherry Myers at the World Series party. It was as enlightening, though not earth shattering informal discussion in a relaxed group setting. I mentioned it briefly a few weeks ago but thought to offer up a few more details, as I love having good baseball conversations, especially about Biscuits. And certainly there were some interesting topics covered!

There were a handful of us at our table, we were about three innings into Game One when Sherrie Myers worked her way around to our side of the room, hob-nobbing with the season ticket holders.

Who IS that guy?
I'm not sure she really knows who I am. She sees me all the time, but in the past I have wondered if she ducked out or cut things short when faced with the prospect of having to chat with me for more than a minute or two. So I was pleasantly surprised when she took a breath and dove into a fresh discussion with our motley band of (ir-)regular Skitz fans!

She started by thanking us for supporting the team, that they relied on our being fans, etc etc. The usual front office script, but it gave me a chance to start asking questions that I had been storing up for some time.

Biscuits opening nite 2004
I smiled and started with a compliment, that it must be nice to have the new ballparks using Riverwalk and the Biscuits as the model for their own franchises.

Ms.Myers responded with how hard it is in the Montgomery market for a baseball team. She mentioned the costs of keeping the team in the city were rising and the level of competition for entertainment was higher. The economic downturn hurt everyone, that they needed help from season ticketholders to keep the team doing well.

Also, that it was a football town and how that was so much more of a challenge than they realized it would be when they first bought the team.

I point blank asked Ms.Myers about Biloxi and the chances of the Huntsville Stars or another team moving. Her response was that the League meetings were held the previous week, and no mention of any team sale was made. There were no discussions about any teams moving, at all. "IF Biloxi gets a team, it won't be any time soon, not in the next few years" she said.

Proposed Biloxi ballpark
She brought up the problems with getting a Bond approved and how "even if they do, having a ballpark and getting a Southern league team are two different things". She described to the folks at the table that it would have to be an existing Southern league team, since you cant have a league with an odd number of teams.

"Is there any chance MiLB could reorganize double-A baseball?" I asked her, mentioning the fact that there are 12 Eastern league teams, 10 Southern League teams and 8 Texas League teams. "Could they move a team like Little Rock? Or alternatively, is it possible we could see New Orleans and Jacksonville switch?" I made sure to get the whole concept in, so she couldn't get around it.

"Not any time soon, not in the next few years. I haven't heard anything about expansion, and it would have to be a change designed by MLB teams and they fight for years over any changes to how the territory is divided" she replied, and followed with an example including getting a hypothetical Rays tv broadcast in Montgomery and the difficulty involved.

I consider myself more informed than the average fan, so when the conversation turned to basic territory & TV rights and being Braves territory, I felt like she was speaking to us as though we were children. I mentioned afterwards that I was a little annoyed that she would assume we didnt know anything about that topic, but Michelle burst my bubble by saying "I didn't know it, and I dont think anyone else at the table did either, so that was just you".

Whoa, okay! Point taken, it must be tough or even impossible, as an owner to meet everyone's questions with an answer of appropriate depth. No matter who you talk to, any statement runs the risk of going over the head of some while others think it sounds like a preschool teacher. Tough gig.


Former Biscuit Leslie Anderson is being scouted by the Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese NPB league.

Anderson played for Montgomery in 2010, hitting .304 in 48 games, hitting six homers as he split his playing time in the field between first base and left field.

Anderson stretches to get Ichiro in WBC
The Yomiuri Giants won Japans Central league title but fell to the Rakuten Eagles in the Championship series.
The Giants are looking for other options besides DH-1b John Bowker and see the 31 year old Cuban Anderson as a possible fit.

Ex-Skitz catcher Mark Thomas has signed with the Arizona Diamonbacks.

He will miss the first ten games of the 2014 season finishing his drug suspension, but its not a stretch to think he would be on the roster when Mobile comes to Riverwalk next.

The irony?  At the same time Thomas' suspension came down for recreational drugs of abuse, so did one for the Mobile BayBears pitcher Eric Smith for the same reason. The Biscuits were in Mobile when the news broke, and we joked that the two had been caught partying together. Now theres an even better chance of that happening!

Joking aside, Thomas is an excellent defender and a better player than his 2013 numbers. He is an asset to any teams catching depth and I look forward to seeing him this year as he is always nice and easy to talk with.

Former Biscuit outfielder Jason Pridie signed with the Colorado Rockies and will try to make his fifth different major league team. He hasnt played more than ten games at the big league level in any of his five seasons except 2011, when he appeared in 101 games for the Mets.

Jason bunts for the Skitz on the road
Pridie, who played for the Biscuits way back in 2005, 06 and 07, had 35 stolen bases during his time with Montgomery.

The 30 year old Pridie, has over 1200 hits in his minor leagues career, with a .275 average.

Jason was a second round pick for the BayRays in 2002. The Rays included him along with Delmon Young in a trade for Matt Garza before the 2008 season.

I remember Pridie mostly for the exuberant female fan who sat behind me one night, cheering him heartily heartily. A few Thirsty Thursday beers later she let out an ear-splitting "I LOVE YOU JASON PRIDIEEEEE!!!".

I wonder what ever happened to her?

Getting a feel for the game

1 comment:

Bubba-36109 said...

The Pirates signed catcher Nevin Ashley. Ashley was the Rays' sixth-round pick in the 2006 Draft and spent seven years in their system before signing a Minor League deal with the Reds on Nov. 19, 2012. In his eight-year Minor League career, Ashley has put together a combined .258/.352/.383 batting line.