Monday, June 22, 2015

AllStar Blog

The Biscuits final first half contest was won by Mother Nature, washing away a start by Johnny Wholestaff. The Bullpen stamina contest gave way to a rousing "UpSideDownMan" before heading back to Montgomery for the break.

ALL STAR TIME

Montgomery has the honor of hosting the All Star Game this year. Technically a year early, since a team bowed out of hosting it ahead of us, but hey, we love the All Stars so we will take it!

The Biscuits have worked hard to put together a pretty quality fan experience, and the ASG is no exception. Expect the red carpet to be rolled out for the best players in the league. Biscuitville will be decked out in all its All Star glory, as fans get to enjoy the North-v-South contest and Home Run Derby.

Some of the shine is taken off to learn that we won't see any of the Southern league Hall of Famers in person - those guys all wanted money to be honored by the league. Kind of a bummer, but we will get a video presentation from the inductees being enshrined.

MEET AND GREET
It sounds like what we can expect is to see the All Star players announced in the Alley around 6:30. Following what should be a lengthy set of introductions in the actual alley, the players will sign a few autographs and then disperse to the restaurants for "fan interaction".

A huge win for the restauranteurs who are sponsoring the event and game, but with just two hours scheduled, its got the potential to be a mad crush of people moving in every direction.

It might not be like that, but thats the impression I have from the info out there. In my experience, Montgomery fans prefer an orderly line that moves along to give each person a chance to meet each player.

Meeting fans at the bars around the ballpark seems like an odd All Star Fanfest, but hey, thats Montgomery!



HAVE A BALL, er PRINT
There will be a giveaway baseball print at the gate for the first one thousand fans.
this one:



HOME RUN CONTEST
The Homerun Derby will take place before the game.

Special Guest Craig Brazell will be on hand, he defeated Joey Votto in the last Home Run Derby at Riverwalk. There is a rumor he would compete, but I think his comments on WSFA make it obvious the only thing he is swinging these days is a golf club.

Johnny Field Jr will appear in derby
Likely HR Derby contestants:

Johnny Field Jr Montgomery
Adam Brett Walker  Chattanooga
Miguel Sano Chattanooga
Jabari Blash Jackson
Nick Ramirez Biloxi
Matt Juengel Jacksonville
Gerson Montilla Mobile





FAMILIAR FACES

Appearing for the event will be former Biscuits announcer Jim Tocco. Montgomery won two titles with Tocco at the mic and fans always adore him for his baseball accumen, honest candor and dulcet tones. He was on-field emcee for the 2006 All Star Game, it will be cool to see him back at Riverwalk doing the gig he handled so smoothly.
Jim Tocco (left) and Jesse Goldberg-Strassler in the booth


Ozzie Timmons, All Star 1b coach
Also familiar, the North Division coaching staff will be very familiar to Biscuits fans. Brady Williams, Ozzie Timmons and RC Lichtenstein will be the home team coaches, which came as a bit of a surprise to me. "They don't want to make the coaches travel, so the home team provides the coaches" Ozzie said.



WHOS IN THE GAME?

North Division starting SS Tim Anderson
The teams in the league choose the All Stars, not the fans. Even in triple-A the fans choose, but I suppose we can be thankful that we aren't having the problems MLB is having with their ballots. Managers choose the players in a vote among the league skippers.  

I was privileged to be a part of the All Star selection process once in the past. I was with Jim Tocco when he took Charlie Montoyo the All Star ballot for the Southern league in 2007.

We discussed the players on each team and who should be there based on what we had all seen them do. I was surprised at what a large part position eligibility played in the selection of the All Stars, but there is often a position that has many good players. If one of those guys played another position too, he was more likely to be chosen as an All Star. Of course, Charlie had to manage that game since the Biscuits had won it all in 06 and his mind was on who he could substitute at which positions! 

The rosters have turned over often for the All Star teams in the Southern league, resulting in many changes to the roster.  
From what I can tell, it looks like this:

NORTH DIVISION
C — Willson Contreras (Tennessee); P — Frank Batista (Tennessee)
C — Kyle Schwarber (Tn) Adrian Nieto Bham; P — DJ Baxendale (Chatt)
1B — Dan Vogelbach (Tennessee); P — Jose Berrios (Chatt)
2B — Joey DeMichele (Bham); P — Corey Black (Tennessee)
SS —Tim Anderson (Bham); P — James Gillheeney (Jackson)
3B — Miguel Sano (Chatt); P — P.J. Francescon (Tennessee)
OF — Max Kepler (Byron Buxton) (Chatt); P — Zach Jones (Chatt)
OF — Jacob May (Bham) Boog Powell Mgm; P — Frankie Montas (Bham)
OF — Dario Pizzano (Jackson); P — Jared Mortensen (Montgomery)
OF — Adam Brett Walker II (Chatt); P — Feliz Pena (Tennessee)
DH — Jabari Blash (Jackson); P — Jaime Schultz (Montgomery)
UTL IF — Jorge Polanco (Chatt); P — Blake Snell (Montgomery)
UTL OF — Johnny Field Jr. (Montgomery)
Tyler Goeddel Mgm


SOUTH DIVISION

C — Chris O'Dowd (Ms) Adam Weisenburger Blx; P — Tim Adleman (Pcola)
C — Sharif Othman (Jacksonville); P — Aaron Blair (Mob) Brooks Hall Blx
1B — Nick Ramirez (Biloxi); P — Jaye Chapman (Blx) Jake Brigham Ms
2B — Brandon Drury (Mobile); P — Sean Donatello (Jvll) Kyle McMyne Pcola
3B — Zack Cox (Jacksonville); P — Jake Esch (Jacksonville)
SS — Orlando Arcia (Biloxi); P — Kendry Flores (Jvl) Jorge Lopez Blx
OF — Michael Reed (Biloxi); P — Tyrell Jenkins (Ms) Rob Stephenson Pcola
OF — Mallex Smith (Mississippi); P — Hobbs Johnson (Biloxi)
OF — Kyle Waldrop (Pensacola); P — Damien Magnifico (Biloxi)
OF — Kyle Wren (Blx) Zach Borenstein Mob; P — Adam Miller (Mobile)
DH — Matt Juengel (Jacksonville); P — Jorge Reyes Tyler Jones (Mississippi)
UTL IF — David Adams (Jvl) Ryan Wright Ray Chang Pcola; P — Tyler Wagner (Biloxi)
South Div OF Mallix Smith w/Seitzer

UTL OF — Socrates Brito (Mobile) 

REPLACEMENT STARS?

With the promotion of top prospects Byron Buxton and Kyle Schwarber, two of the best players in the league vacated their positions on the All Star squad.

While its true the two top guys went from double-A to big leagues, they aren't the only ones worth watching. Jabari Blash is a top prospect who wasn't with the Generals when they came through a few weeks ago due to injury, as was teammate and the leagues top powerhitter Adam Brett Walker.

I am very excited about the All Star Game and festivities around it. We will see the best players in the league!


 

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