|Indeed the Biscuits did feel welcome|
A split two-game series in Chattanooga and taking four out of five against the Generals makes for a five win and two loss week. Even the two losses required late-inning comebacks by the opposition, it could easily have been an undefeated trip as the Biscuits look like one of the most dominant teams in the league both at home and on the road.
The road trip was a little longer than the usual, and a two game series to make up for the weird scheduling around July 4th, followed by the usual five-game set results in the pitching staff getting shuffled.
The first pitcher in the rotation no longer will be tossing the first game of the series. Where Jacob Faria was starting game one, when the next series opens at Riverwalk it will be the #3 man in the rotation - probably Kirsch or new starter Taylor Guerrieri.
The numbers are very good but the pitching prospect from Savannah GA has had trouble getting deep into games - just once this season completing five innings in a start.
Likely Taylor will be on a strict pitch count a la Grayson Garvin, with a reliever assigned to piggyback the extra innings. Having a talented starter can be a bonus, but it could also be a strain on the bullpen to have to cover for a guy who can't go five full innings.
GRAPE JELLY SAGA CONTINUES
The Biscuits mauled the babybears last time, sweeping the Cubs affiliate in all five contests, and simply out-playing them in every aspect of the game.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Look for Albert Almora. The star outfielder returns from the Pan Am Games and must step into the leadership role for the Smokies.
Look for the Smokies to take their base - Tennessee leads the league in bases on balls.
Look for the Biscuits to score runs in bunches, Montgomery leads the league in Runs score, Home Runs and RBI's. Nine times this month the biscuits have scored six runs or more.
Look for Jared Mortensen to make his first home start since June 13th. The Canadian Pan Am Games gold-medalist made four appearances out of the bullpen before returning to the starting rotation last week.
The Biscuits trail the North Division leading Barons and control their own destiny by facing the Slagtown Barons twice in the last few weeks of the year, including the season finale at Riverwalk.
On July 12th of this year, former Montgomery Rebels pitcher Buddy Lively shuffled off this mortal coil.
The Birmingham native played three seasons in the major leagues, from 1947-49 with the Cincinnati Reds.
I was privileged to meet him almost exactly two years ago. Below is what I wrote about that meeting on a rainy summer afternoon at the ballpark.
BISCUITS RAINED OUT.... AGAIN
BUT THE STORY WASN'T ON THE FIELD
It was the closest thing Montgomery has to an Old Timers Day. Of course, the pregame ceremonies dont happen when the tarp doesnt come off the field. That didnt keep former Rebels from signing autographs and meeting fans, however.
The scheduled doubleheader had already been cut down to just one nine inning game. The rain streamed off the roofs and fell on the concourse where usually blue skies have been steadily gray the past month or more. It wasn't long after the gates opened that the figure of an older man in a pale cream jacket and matching driving cap found his way up to the ticket taker. He produced a folded piece of paper that gained him admittance without being scanned and was directed to a nearby table.
He stood by as a group of interns shuffled chairs and pushed his table into a better position to deal with the rainy conditions - its obvious he was an athlete during his younger days. He stands taller than most of the attendants and while stooped with age he seems to be more than aware of his importance and moves well, though slowly. As they arrange his table he inspects the zone with a keen eye, making note of any pitfalls or obstacles. He eventually settles into one of the metal folding chairs and the staff attendants fall away to other tasks as the announcement is made that the game's start will be delayed.
Seated alone, watching as rain falls on the people passing by and simply observing the situation is how I find Bud Lively.
|Cramton Bowl 1942, Home of the Rebels|
I had a chance to talk with Bud, he was very honest and I felt we hit it off well for the simple fact that we were both pretty blunt. He answered all my questions, except for the details of the Rebels uniforms "..that was seventy-one years ago!" and I found him to be all the best things vintage baseball should be. He was crusty but cheerful, he was old but not feeble, had a great smile and bright eyes that looked as young as any of the players waiting to see if the field would dry that night.
|Bud Lively with Cincinnati Reds|
I asked him about his father, Jack Lively.
I asked about his fathers no-hitter against Little Rock, often mentioned in bios for Jack Lively. "Oh yes, he talked about it all the time!" Bud replied. It seems dad was more than a little proud of that one! Bud said he didn't remember the details himself but implied that Jack sure did, in a way that only a family member who has sat through countless retelling can convey!
Bud Lively talked about the state of baseball, that there was alot of work to be done to improve the game to get it anywhere near where it was. "And its a shame the state its in now" was enough of a quote for me to apply to just about everything that annoys fans and players alike.
What can we do about it, I asked him. "Not a damn thing we can do, you and me. Baseball will fix itself, it always has" Bud Lively told me.