Friday, February 27, 2015

Shucks Million Dollar Wager

The Biloxi ballpark got bad news at this weeks Biloxi City Council meeting - it will take another million dollars to finish the ballpark. Even then, it may not be finished "on time".

"On time" is in quotes because obviously, its not "on time" enough to start the season. That makes "on time" a nebulous concept, one even Biloxi city and Southern league officials are trying to define. "Game ready" on the playing field doesn't necessarily translate to ready to host a game in front of actual fans. City officials are likely to try to wriggle out of the fines based on the lack of definition of the terms defining the fines for not having a stadium that is "game ready". I expect this could become a litigious issue between city, team and league lawyers.


So what do the Shuckers get for their million bucks? To start with, probably nothing - as the city probably doesn't have a million to spend.

But IF they did, it would probably go to filling out the seating bowl with amenities like water fountains and handrails. Thats pure speculation, because the article doesn't say what the million dollars is needed for. It could simply be to pay workers overtime. Its shady to think that construction demands a million bucks but city officials wont point out where the money is going.

No Frills for Shuckers in Huntsville
And when? Shuckers officials say April 21st is the day they are shooting for, but obviously they won't make it. Already Huntsville has been told it will host two weeks worth of games and another five games will be played in Pearl, Miss. June 6th is the projected home opener according to the Southern league but even that is questionable.


Fans in Huntsville seem torn between boycotting the team and going to the games just long enough to Boo when the Shuckers are announced. Hville officials imply a bare bones field and minimum attention to what the team needs to play its games. 

Its not known if the million dollars would guarantee a mid June opening day or not. City Councilman Lawrence said he would rather see the city pay the $1mil to prepare the stadium than give $10k a game in fines.

Even if the city had to pay a fine for every game of the season, it would be less than a million dollars - so fans wait to see what the outcome will be.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Schedule Me 2015!

Taking a look at the 2015 Biscuits schedule....
Download the entire Southern league schedule here

Home games in BOLD

April 9-13 vs Chattanooga
April 15-19 @Jacksonville
April 20-24 vs Mobile
April 25-29 vs Jackson

April 30-May 4 @MissBraves
May 6-10 vs Bham May 9 autograph day
May 11-15 @TennSmokies, doubleheader/day off
May 16-20 @Chattanooga
May 21-25 vs TennSmokies
May 26 rickwood classic - not a Biscuits game, but a date to remember!
May 26-30 @Jackson

June 1-5 @Jacksonville
June 6-10 vs MissBraves June 6th is Desmond Jennings Bobblehead night!
June 11-15 vs Pensacoloa June 15th day game, the sunburn special
June 17 - 21 @Biloxi



June 25-29 vs Chattanooga June 27th is Back to the Future Night!

July 1-3 @TennSmokies
July 4-8 vs Biloxi
July 9-13 @Pensacola
July 15-19 vs TennSmokies July 18th is Star Wars night!
July 20-21 @Chattanooga - TWO GAME SERIES
July 22-26 @Jackson
July 28-August 1 vs TennSmokies

August 2-6 @MsBraves
August 7-11 vs Jacksonville August 7th is AUM giveaway night
August 13-17 @Bham
August 18-22 @TennSmokies
August 23-27 vs Jackson
August 28-Sept 1 @Mobile
Sept 3-7 vs Bham Sept 4th is Charities Night w/Jersey Auction

This is a great schedule for baseball fans in Montgomery. The first month of the season gets a late start, opening on April 9th. It means we get September Biscuits at the end of the season and the Southern League playoffs will extend almost to October.

Home series show the logo on left, road series have bus logo on right!


The Biscuits welcome the Chattanooga Lookouts, their rookie manager and crop of top prospects sent by the new affiliate Minnesota Twins.

Manager Doug Mientkiewicz caught the out the ended the Curse of the Bambino and won a gold medal as a baseball olympian. His club is loaded with top prospects, including #1 MLB Prospect Byron Buxton. The new-look Lookouts will wear the same uniforms as last year, but the roster will be much changed from the past. A lot of talent will be on the field getting its first look at double-A for the Chattanooga team.

We take our first road trip on April 15 to Jacksonville, getting the Suns for five games before coming home to the first ten-game homestand of the season. The Biscuits enjoy home cookin in April as they host first Mobile and then Jackson in back-to-back series.


Ten game homestands are great in April before the summer heat becomes unbearable, and the Mobile BayBears bring another former MLB player turned manager in Rob Hammock.

Hammock caught Randy Johnsons perfect game during his stint with the DBacks, parent club of the BayBears.

An array of top prospect pitchers pepper the Mobile staff.

The second half of this homestand will see the Jackson Generals in the visitors dugout on May 25. The Generals field staff remains mostly the same as last year, Jim Horner as skipper and Lance Painter the pitching coach.

This five game series features four different start times!
6:35 Saturday, 2:05 Sunday, 7:05 Monday & Tuesday, 10:35am Wednesday.

New Generals hitting coach Roy Howell is a former big leaguer, he was a 1st round pick in 1972 by the Rangers. He made the majors with Texas in '74 and played for them through 1977 when he was dealt to Toronto. Howell holds the BlueJays record for most RBI in a game with 9, appeared in the 1978 AllStar Game and during his playing days his agent was former Montgomery Rebel slugger George Kalafatis.

And so ends April.
On the last day of the month the Biscuits will board the bus for Pearl to face the Ms.Braves. May begins on the road, setting the tone for a month of living out of suitcases. After five on the road and a day off, the Skitz return to the oven for the first home series of the month, and its a big one.

Its a divisional rivalry again, though the Bham-Montgomery matchup on the diamond always has a rivalry feel. The Barons come to town on May 6th for five matches.

Julio Vinas returns as manager for the WhiteSox affiliate Barons, as does pitching coach Britt Burns. Hitting coach Jamey Dismukes was a coach for the Lookouts from 2004-08 and returns to the SL with Bham. White Sox #2 prospect Tim Anderson is likely to be the main man for the Barons.

The first ten game Biscuit road trip begins on May 11th with a visit to Tennesse to face the Smokies and the Lookouts.

Battle of teams that taste good with jelly has schedule intrigue!

The Cubs affiliate has a surprise on the schedule. On Tuesday May 12th the teams have a doubleheader planned, followed by a day off, then the remaining three games over the next three days as usual. Its rare to see a scheduled doubleheader, even more so to see it on a Tuesday!

After the Smokies series the Skitz head to Chattanooga for five games. This is a big road trip, ten games of divisional play at the heart of the first half of the season. A bad trip could sink first half pennant hopes, a good trip would help punch an early playoff ticket.


Homestanding again on May 21st, the Skitz welcome the Smokies. Yes, just one series removed from the matchup in Tn, Montgomery faces the Cubs affiliate for another series.

Its the first look at the Smokies for Skitz fans, but we will see them twice more before the summer ends. The Cubs top five prospects have come and gone thru Smokies teams, but there are three top ten guys who could inhabit the roster this year.

This series also features four different start times in five days, 7:05 Thu & Fri tapers quickly to 6:35 Saturday, 5:35 Sunday and 12:05 Monday.

Another ten-game road trip finishes the merry, merry month of May and turns the page into June. Five games in Jackson Tenn. vs the Generals, a day off to travel and then five games in Jacksonville, Florida against the Suns.

Then it gets fun.
Maybe REALLY fun.
The Biscuits June party begins on Saturday, June 6th as the Mississippi Braves arrive for their sole visit to Montgomery.


The Braves series is always a big hit for local fans who are loyal citizens of Braves Country - it will be interesting to see how they turn out after the recent changes at the major league level.

The brain trust of Holman-Ingram-Llewallyn return to coach the Braves, yet their roster of players is more of a hazy guess at this point.

The ten-game summertime rollercoaster June continues with the arrival of Pensacola's Blue Wahoos on June 11th.

The Wahoos also only make one visit to Montgomery, the Cincinnati affiliate roster isn't set yet, they bring new manager Pat Kelly.

Kelly, the former NYYankee infielder, is also the general manager for the Australian Baseball team Brisbane Bandits. His coaches include MLB veterans Jeff Fassero and Alex Palaez.

The Wahoos series is another set of four different start times in five days, Thu-Fri have 7:05 starts, Saturday 6:05. Sunday 5:35, Monday 12:05 for the Sunburn Special.

The five game series is followed by an off day for the Biscuits. Teams have five days off in the month of June, all after the middle of the month.

June 17th
This is on the schedule as a five game road trip to Biloxi.

It could happen as scheduled, recently Biloxi officials said they hoped to open their park in the first ten days of June instead of the original projection of late July. That would mean the Biscuits would get a look at the newest field in the league. Recently league Prexie Webb said we would know more by mid-March and that we should expect the park to open at some point in June.

It could also happen that we would play the team in Huntsville, though only the first 15 home games for Biloxi have been moved at this point. If so, it would be the last time Montgomery played at The Joe, and could even be the last games hosted in Huntsville.

It could be that we would host the Shuckers, though we won't swap home series with them as that would cause us to lose our July 4th game. However we might offer to host a few games of the series as the paint dries in Biloxi.

Hosting the Shuckers for this June series would mean the Biscuits spend all but five days of the month at home, add to that hosting the AllStar game in the middle. Even if they play away vs the Biloxi Brewers, the Skitz enjoy home cooking for most of the month.

In case you didnt hear, Montgomery hosts the All Star Game this year, along with the Home Run Derby. Should be fun, quite a treat for fans!


A five game set at home following the All Star break should be a nice way to sneak back into the regular schedule.
The divisional matchup could be against a tough team, and the last time we would see the Chattanooga team during the regular season. Its always odd to close a season series against a team in June, particularly a division foe, but other than a quirky two-game series at the Lookouts park the two don't face off again.

Then the Biscuits get a day off!

Yes, the last day of June is an off day before they board the bus to play a short, three-game series in TN vs the Smokies to open the month of July in another battle of the Grape Jelly Series.

Then its more home cooking, Biscuits coming home to host the Biloxi Shuckers starting on the 4th of July. Its the usual five game series, getting teams back on a regular schedule after the holiday, for now.

Shuckers arrive
The Shuckers will be an interesting team to watch, though we are only scheduled to meet them this once. The coaching staff is the same as last years double-A Brewers affiliate. Carlos Subero at the helm, Chris Hook the pitching coach and Sandy Guerrero as hitting coach. Top Milwaukee prospect Tyrone Taylor is likely to be the big name to watch among the first-season Shuckers.

July 9th the Biscuits are finally back on the road, a five game set facing the Blue Wahoos in Pensacola, followed by a day off. A non-divisional matchup with the Cinci affiliate makes for a nice weekend series

July 15th brings the Biscuits home to Montgomery to host a five game series against the Smokies. This is the second pass through for the Cubs double-A team, and it won't be the last.

July 20th begins another schedule oddity, as the Biscuits return to Tennessee for just a pair of games against the Chattanooga Lookouts. After the game on Tuesday, July 21st the team rides to Jackson Tn to face the Generals for five games. The unusual seven game road trip culminates in an off day on Monday.


Beginning Tuesday July 28th the Biscuits play host to the Smokies.

Yes, back to back home series against the same team. It could be huge, if the Biscuits want to win in the second half, beating divisional opponents at home would be a good way to do it. On the other side, if we stink we have to see the same teams beat our brains out over and over and over again.

Late July becomes early August and on the second day of the month the Biscuits are visiting the Mississippi Braves, from August 2nd-6th.


Jacksonville faces the Biscuits at Riverwalk on August 7th, opening a five game series. The Skitz only play 11 home games in the month of August. After the August 11 game vs the Suns, Montgomery wont host another team from the South Division.

The last off day of the regular season is Wednesday, August 12th. The next day starts the Skitz biggest road trip of the second half, perhaps of the season begins with the Barons in Bham. A five game set that usually has the team traveling every day from Montgomery to the Barons facility begins on August 13th.

After five commuted games the Biscuit bus is headed north to face the Smokies on August 18th. Yes, the Smokies were just in Montgomery two weeks ago, but this five game series is the last time the two teams meet in the regular season.


August 23rd is a Sunday, and the Jackson Generals visit the Biscuits for five games. Its the only time in the second half the Biscuits host the Generals, and the first time since April that Montgomery fans will see the Mariners affiliate.


Barring playoffs, the last trip of the Biscuits bus will be to Mobile as the Skitz face the BayBears. The weekend series starts on Saturday, August 28th and runs thru September 1st.


The Biscuits get a day off and prepare for the last series of the regular season, a five game tilt against rival Birmingham starting Thursday, September 3rd. The game time on Saturdays game is TBD, likely waiting to see how the Alabama-Wisconsin and Auburn-Louisville football games will be scheduled.

The final game is scheduled for 12:05, a terrible idea if the team should still have playoff hopes alive on the last day of the year.

Then, hopefully, we get to hose some playoff games which would start on September 9th or 10th for the SLDS. Following that the SLCS would begin around the 15th.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Biscuits Hall Of Fame

Even as the SL releases its list of HOF nominees, I had been working to put together a post about Montgomery and its greats. 
Hopefully this will spark a deeper convo about Montgomery's baseball history, what it takes to be a Hall Of Famer and who may have met those nebulous criteria.

The Montgomery Baseball Hall of Fame

Trivia Question: Who was the first person inducted into the Montgomery Baseball Hall of Fame?

If you don't know the answer, it isn't surprising. Fans are barely aware that there is a Hall for our baseball greats, but thats exactly the case.  Here, let me explain...

When the Southern League began its Hall last summer, it asked teams to handle their own inductees. Rules were loose, according to an article on "We left it up to each team. We don't care how you do it, whoever you want as the first inductee is going to get in".

The sum is that the front office from each Southern League team submits a name from that city's past baseball notables and regardless of any reality that name went into the Hall. The inclusion requirements must be defined or it will be abused. How long before teams put their Mascots in? Mayors or politicians? Sponsors? Without regulation or oversight, its just a matter of time.

The Southern League Hall of Fame announced its inductees last summer - sadly whoever put the page together repeatedly misspelled our Hall of Famer's name.

Trivia Answer: Alan Trammell

A no-doubter, Trammell played on two pennant winners as a Montgomery Rebel in 1976 and 1977. He then went on to a pretty good career as a player, coach and manager, a possible Cooperstown candidate.

This is a topic that fans will pay attention to as we move into the season - the AllStar Game is the best opportunity for the Montgomery Biscuits to show the world how it honors baseball history. We probably won't get a another chance until 2025.

1948 Rebels All Star Ring


Alan Trammell - check spelling, but he is already in.

Lou Whitaker - likely going in this year, how can he not be alongside Tram?

For further consideration, some of the standouts in our local history, not a complete list but just the first ones that came to mind...


Steve Grilli - starting pitcher with spectacular 23w-10L over two seasons 1972-73

Barry Morgan - slugger hit 178 RBI over two great seasons 1967-68

Evan Longoria - on two championship teams in 2006-07, hit dramatic homer to put Montgomery into the playoffs.


Dick Egan
Dick Egan - Montgomery's only pitcher with 200K in one season - led league in strikeouts 1959
Dick Greco

Dick Greco - hit 55 hr over two seasons, 1951-52, single season HR leader w/31. Only man to appear twice on our Top Ten Single Season HR list.

Johnny Davis/George Handy - first black players played for Montgomery in 1954, these two Negro league veterans endured perhaps the toughest southern city to integrate.

Lynwood Jones - pitcher won 18 games, 2.99 era for MGM in 1957

Joseph Chuka - Montgomery's last 20 game winner, 2.04 ERA in 1949

Dusty Rhodes - Alabama native starred in the 1954 World Series with the NY Giants.
Dusty Rhodes given car during hero's welcome


Sam Streeter
Thomas Royal "Goat" Walker - winning-est hurler in city history, won over 100 games and won 20 games TWICE with Montgomery 1920s-40s.

Sam Streeter - negro league great, starred with MGM in 1920s
George Whiteman

George Whiteman - 1909-10 Mgm player, one of three men to lead MGM in Hr in back-to-back seasons. Was star player in 1918 World Series with Red Sox as Babe Ruth's platoon partner. All Time Minor League Leader with 3067 hits and Games Played with 2993. Already in the Texas league HOF.

A.T.Pearsall - 1850's player brought the game to Montgomery in the 1860s.

Joe "Iron Man" McGinnity - can you put a 20 game loser in the HOF? The future MLB Hall of Famer won 15 and lost 20 for Montgomery in 1893, it was the first stop on the long career that ended in cooperstown.

King Bailey - 19 wins 1.76 era in 1896 for Montgomery

Hoke Vandigriff - Owned Rebels, integrated Montgomery team in 1954.

Charlie Metro - won 298 games as Mgm player-manager 1950-'53, also Chicago Cubs manager. Longest tenured manager and most wins for Montgomery during the 20th century.

Billy Gardner Jr - Led Montgomery team longer than any other manager.
Joe Marcus

Joe Marcus - stadium PA announcer for Montgomery Rebels in the 1970s, avid Biscuits and Wings fan

Richard Chamberlain - Biscuits superfan has iron man status, missing just two games since Biscuits opened in 2004.