Wednesday, January 8, 2014

No Brave Caravan This Year

The Atlanta Braves will indeed skip us on the Caravan this year. I mentioned it yesterday on twitter (give me a follow over there! @DrMiraculous) - no Tim Hudson means no big star offering coffee and a warm spot to crash the night before! In the past it was Hudson who gave shelter to the "lesser" players and hosted the caravan as it came thru Montgomery and Auburn.

Now that Huddy is off to the Giants, the caravan wont be headed here or to Auburn. Its a disappointment to area fans and a relief to Academy Sports employees, both of whom would have been out in force early on a saturday morning. In each of the past few seasons Montgomery has lined up as many as five hundred fans willing to fight the cold and the crowd for a chance to meet their Atlanta Braves.

Perhaps the Braves are giving up the area to the Rays, ceding to the Biscuits parent club ahead of the big league visit. More likely, they don't have the resources to support the trip without Hudsons help - or should I say the desire to foot the bill for hotel rooms for the notables and not-so-notables.

NOT ALL THAT
Our visits from the Bravos have had a theme of also-rans and sidekicks, role players and rehabbers. The most famous face the caravan brought us was Don Sutton, HOF pitcher for the Dodgers and current Braves announcer.

Triple-A Heartthrob Cory Gearrin
A rookie Freddie Freeman (once) and Auburn resident Tim Hudson have been the headline names for the morning meet and greets, supported by Eric Hinskes and Brandon Beachys. Chipper Jones? No, we got coach Chino Cahadia. Heyward? No, we got Tyler Pastornicky, who like Freeman had been here playing vs the Biscuits just about five months earlier.


WHO COMES ALONG?
Guys who are fighting for a 25man roster spot and doing everything they can to endear themselves to the brass and guys who have been injured and are trying to do the same. Also minor leaguers who are almost prospects but not quite, also trying to jockey into more playing time in spring camp.

So all in all, we lose out on getting up early to stand in a long line for four hours and talk for thirty seconds to a few minor league guys, maybe a broadcaster and one big leaguer. Im not crying about it, but it is a sign of disrespect for the area Braves fans who turn out in droves to support the team at the appearance, support the double-A team and also drive to Atlanta with the family for big league games.

Come on Braves, we deserve better than that.

MOBILE STADIUM ISSUES

The City of Mobile has been told to improve "The Hank" by the Diamonbacks. The city has postponed voting on replacing the clubhouse carpet, home and visitor, to the tune of almost $17,000.

Other pending issues at the home of the Baybears have mounted up to nearly $1million. Unfortunately the city of Mobile, owners of the ballpark, has $4.4 million deceit and even the 17 grand for the carpet may not happen.

The City had budgeted over $150K for stadium improvements but the funding may be shifted before the check is written as the Mayor wants to redesign the budget to address the gaping hole in municipal funding.

Hank Aaron Stadium

Mobile city officials say the Dbax have a long list of concerns still growing, including the need to upgrade and expand the clubhouses as well as the items the City needs to address to keep the park a viable public gathering place. Basic stuff like a new outfield fence, new seating and an elevator for handicapped access as well as patrons in general, who have to sit above the ground level suites in one of the worst designed ballparks ever.

The city of Mobile may be pointing the finger at the Arizona Dbax over the demands but the ballpark badly needs either drastic improvements or abandonment. If the Stars indeed bail from Hunstville as planned, it would make the Mobile ballpark the oldest in the league. Baybears ownership didn't return calls for comment, but I would say that the writing is on the wall for the franchise.



WRIGLEY RETURNS TO LEONES


Former Biscuit and blog fave Henry Wrigley is back in action making two straight starts for the Caracas Leones. Already he has big hits from the bench, now getting into games at DH and his natural position of first base. One of those was a game winner, reminding fans in Caracas of last years great season by Wrigley and the Leones.
Leones teammates celebrate Henry's game winning RBI


Video from the Leones games is hard to find this year, a real step back from last season when their website promoted its own teams broadcast. Now they want us to watch gameday and we all know how dramatic and precise that is.

Ball in dirt? Looks like down the middle on gameday!


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