Thursday, April 3, 2014

First Series, Welcome Barons

Ah opening day, such a sweet moment when all teams are in the hunt and the Cubs have yet to fall out of contention.



So why the heck do we always have to face the Barons? Sheesh!

For whatever reason the league schedule makers have, our annual opener against the Barons brings all the joy of facing a WhiteSox affiliate. And we all want to see the future WhiteSox, right?


Sure, I knew we did. The map says that even people in Illinois don't want to see current WhiteSox, and we are lucky to get a look at their future players.


HALF-WAY RIGHT AIN'T HALF WAY WRONG

The announced roster is out, and I guessed 12 of the 24 guys - plus two of the three coaches.

Not too bad! I've had worse years predicting the 'Skitz, a couple of late winter trades dealt two pitchers off my list but its a win in my book after years of being kept wondering all winter.



OUR GUYS
Coming back for more is Cameron Seitzer at first base. He led the team in OPS last year but his batting average could use a boost after skipping High-A Charlotte. Should be fun to watch him figure it out, a hot start at the plate could send Seitzer apartment hunting in greater Durham in a matter of weeks.

Also back is Curtis Casali, blocked from advancing in the system by the inexplicable catching philosophy of the Rays. Its great to have the Vandy backstop return, though you have to wonder what is going on in the front office in regards to catchers. Surely Curt watched the moves in the offseason and shook his head, knowing he would be back in the Southern league. Its the opposing pitchers in the league who will bear the brunt of the big Biscuit battery-mate's frustration.
Victor "No-Hit Skit" Mateo is back

PITCHERS RETURN
The pitching staff is chock full of familiar faces - not just historic starter Victor Mateo.

Hurlers Jim Patterson, Jake Thompson, Mike Colla, Andy Bellatti and Braulio Lara all come back to the scene of the crime.

NEW GUYS
Lots of new names and faces to learn - but basically the lineup we saw against the Rays on saturday.

Brett 2b
Argo LF
Casali C
Seitzer 1b
Shaffer 3b
Segovia dh
Motter RF
Hager ss
Rickerd CF


HISTORY TIME!
If you thought that was the end of the exhibition games, think again. The month of April is chock full of baseball goodness and the 3rd of April is as good as any on the calendar!

APRIL 3 1941 
RedSox vs Reds in Montgomery for an exhibition game, vandermeer wins 5-1, as discussed yesterday.

APRIL 3 1942 

The NY Yankees vs Montgomery Rebels in a wartime exhibition game at Cramton Bowl.

Charlie "King Kong" Keller
The Rebels face the World Champs and the score reflects it. Charlie Keller, one of the all time Yankee greats, gave the fans in Montgomery a show with a long home run in the fifth inning.

Joe Gordon hit a grand slam in the sixth inning that put the game well out of reach for the local nine, but surely gave those in attendance their moneys worth!




APRIL 3 1953 
The Boston Red Sox are beaten by the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4 in exhibition game at Paterson Field.

Paterson Field 1952

Paterson Field is a new park, having opened in 1950 when the city moved up from B-league Southeastern league to A-level SALLY play.

The BoSox vs Phils game was just the second time a big-league club had been to Paterson Field (the modern era, so to speak) and the new park helped Montgomery lure other exhibition games during the 1950s.

LOCAL FAVORITE...
Hersh Freeman

The Sox pitcher, Herschel Freeman was an Alabama native. Born in Gadsden, Hersh attended the University of Alabama before joining the Boston franchise. He will spend most of his time in triple-A as a reliever, but gets the call to start by RedSox manager Lou Boudreau.

The game featured a triple play in the first inning, a pitchers duel in the middle innings and a ninth inning rally by the Phillies to tie the game before winning it in the tenth inning.






APRIL 3 1955 

Freese
Clemente
The Pittsburgh Pirates face the Baltimore Orioles in a Montgomery exhibition game. The Pirates win it 7-4 on George Freese's bases loaded double and a very young Roberto Clemente's fine outfield play.

Opening day, always a good time...
So, we will see you at the park!

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