Thursday, April 28, 2016

Suns Series, Beer App, #BullpenLife, History

This week the Biscuits baked the Suns in a barnburner series - the finale was an old fashioned shootout. Both managers emptied their guns, tossing every reliever in the pen into the fray. It ended up 11-10 with Montgomery taking the game and the series.

Adames hits gamewinner
Willy Adames hit the gamewinning hr with two outs in the bottom of the 9th as catcher Jake DePew warmed up to pitch in possible extra innings. What did Willy hit? "A changeup" Willy told me, after he ran the bases and was doused by two coolers of icewater.

Bauers hero interview postgame 4/12
Of course, it wasn't just him this series. There were huge batting performances by guys like Johnny Field, Jake Bauers and Granden Goetzman. There was a different hero every night, the series victory was a complete team effort.

Johnny Field bashed a grand slam to put the 'Skitz ahead

Absolutely exciting baseball in each game, a hard fought series by two long time rival teams. Scoring a combined 67 runs, the Biscuits and Suns slugged it out all weekend long.

Jared Mortensen started twice vs Suns
The series was bookended by Jared Mortensen starts, the knuckleballer pitched well twice on short notice as Chris Kirsch was a late scratch from the Sunday afternoon tilt. Hopefully its just one missed start.

A league-wide day off will help everyone on the team recover after that big series.

Starting pitcher Chi-wei Hu was sent back to Montgomery after one start at Durham to fill for Snell getting a start for Tampa when Erasmo had to be used in relief.

In other news, I got to drag the infield twice on Tuesday. The Biscuits made several comebacks to help me keep my streak - the team is undefeated when I make it onto the field during the game! Pics to come, you know I will have to brag on that, right?

MiLB sent me an email pushing their new app. Not the one that updates scores, this one does other stuff - help buy tickets (don't need), share photos (doing it here) volunteer for on-field promotions (not doing it anywhere) and ORDER BEER DELIVERED TO YOUR SEAT (Whaaaa???)

I do not yet know if the Biscuits are part of this glorious new Minor League Baseball app, but by God you can bet I will find out!

This is one of the best ideas for big fans who don't want to miss a pitch, a total moneymaker.  I would expect it has a list of food and drink items that would be charged to a credit card and an easy no-brainer to skip the lines at the concession stand.

What do fans want?
Bring it on, Biscuits!

Next up is a five game set, where else but Tennessee, this time vs Chattanooga.

The Lookouts are the team that knocked Montgomery out of the playoffs last fall and went on to win the league flag. The Lookouts aren't quite as loaded this year, having graduated most of their prospects to Minnesota.

Currently the Mountainmen are 8w-12L which drops them to fourth in the division.

The Lookouts always play tough against the Biscuits and hope to improve on their .500 W-L% at home this year. Montgomery is trying to keep pace with the Generals, who are one game ahead of the Biscuits as the next series starts.

There was a lot going on during the homestand vs Jacksonville. Much of it involved the officials.

Several arguments resulted in ejections for the Suns skipper who was tossed in back-to-back games.
JT Riddle looks on as Mgr Dave "Ice" Berg is tossed for the second day in a row
Mgr Brady Williams was close to getting tossed for questioning the umpires.

One of the more contentious umpire decisions came on this pickoff attempt at second base.



While that runner was called safe and the call went against Montgomery, neither side was ever really happy with how the calls were affecting the games. Both managers were less than thrilled and made sure the umps knew it.

The two teams fought hard, the loss of the final game and the series was tough on the Suns who were so close to taking both with the bases loaded in the top of the 9th inning of the final game.

After a strikeout ended the Suns threat and Adames homer ended the game, Shoemaker was inconsolable about leaving the bases full.
So what did I do?
I took a picture!


"You're conspicuous, even in a crowd" Biscuits announcer Jim Tocco once told me - shortly after calling me out on the radio for a foul ball I didn't make the easy play on. I'm not sure how folks recognize me, but I think its great.

I always enjoy having folks catch me at the game and talk a bit. Everyone has great ideas and often a nice tidbit of info on the team or their fave player.

A few people told me they have family that played in town in the past and shared their info. I absolutely love it. I hope to put together a well-researched post that tributes them, their stories are really fantastic and deserve to be told. Too many of these treasured memories have slipped away already.

I had someone mention they had issues posting comments, I will look into it and you can email me at DrMiraculous at Knology-dot-net.


Long games and umpire issues were big factors in this weeks Biscuits-Suns matchup, as well as in the history lesson!

APRIL 26 1906 
Ike Durrett
Montgomery manager Ike Durrett, in a game at Bham, physically assaults umpire Buckley.

This would be a factor two days later, when Durrett is refused permission to sit in the dugout during the game but refuses to leave.

APRIL 27 1956
The Rebels host the Augusta Tigers in Sally League play, losing 6-4 in a game that takes 4:24 to play, finishing at 12:09 am

APRIL 28 1906 
Montgomery forfeits to Birmingham after manager Ike Durrett is refused permission to sit in the dugout by the umpire he attacked two days before.

Ike Durrett will be fined $300 by President Kavanaugh and eventually released by Montgomery.

Durrett would be out of baseball after two more part-time seasons in lower level baseball. Baseball reference gives conflicting info, listing different numbers for his batting games and fielding games. Seeing as its tough to get 100+ games in by the end of April, Ike more likely was only able to tolerate just eight games at the helm in 1906.

Curtis may have been secured, but he hasn't got any stats listed for Montgomery in 1906. He is shown with ten games in Atlanta and 127 appearances for Grand Rapids that season, as an outfielder.

As for the umpire, W.J. Buckley, it was not the first time he had a player or manager jump him.
From September 8 1905

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Hammered Friday, Bullpen Life

Wow did the Biscuits get hammered on Friday!
Everything that could go wrong, did. Things that shouldn't go wrong did. Things that never go wrong did as well. It was a mess, with errors, wild throws, bloop hits and close calls that all went the other way. It was just an all-round clunker.


Jared Mortensen showed he can make a spot start on a days notice.

Sure he was tagged for the loss, but knuckleball pitchers have to learn to live with occasional bad results. Having the physical ability to come out and throw sixty pitches on short notice is a huge plus for Morty. He was an AllStar last year and is even better with the knuckleball in his arsenal.

Well, also Montgomery didn't waste any runs on the game, giving up eight usually means an L so maybe we bottled them for later.

Marjama catching with 1b Mitt
Pitcher Jared Mortensen hit 95mph on the stadium radar gun, the first time I had noticed him dialing up his fastball that high.

Behind the plate catcher Mike Marjama looked to be using a first basemans mitt to catch Mortensen last night.

The wider glove helps knock down the knuckler a little better, but it can't feel nice when Morty reaches back for a mid-90s fastball!

Miss Gravy was at the park last night. The suidae mascot of the Biscuits had not yet appeared at a game, having happily taken up a comfortable residence with a family on a nearby farm.

Yet the front office assured me Miss Gravy is a permanent member of the team and will make the big games. Fans love her and its a sure thing she will keep coming back. "She will be here, people ask about her every game" GM Scott Trible told me.

Biscuits reliever Steve Ascher has inspired me to start a new segment: Bullpen Life.

Guys in the pen don't get enough respect, left in the far corner till they need to be called upon. Yet they are one of the most important parts of a good team.

Often they need to be ready twenty pitches before they know to get warm, its a life of wait and hurry and wait again. So as I get a chance I will try to post up photos of the bullpen guys in action, or in-action as the case may be.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Biscuits Dozens, What to Look For v Suns, Schedule & History Notes

The Biscuits got the best of the Smokies, taking the series with three victories and two losses in the first installment of the Grape Jelly Series.

The Skitz wins were healthy for the team, a pair of ninth inning comebacks boosts confidence for Montgomery players and fans alike.  

The last game of the set was a doozy, with something for everyone.

Starting pitcher Chris Kirsch went six strong innings to get his second win.

Shortstop JuneQ hit a three run bomb and drove in four runs.

Granden Goetzman was just a homer shy of the cycle and reliever Steve Ascher picked up an old fashioned three inning save.

Thats the kind of get-away day that makes the bus ride home a little easier!

All of the Biscuits pitchers have exemplified a "bend but don't break" philosophy.

While a couple of starting pitchers have been tagged with losses and relievers have given up runs that cost the team late leads, it doesn't always seal the outcome.
Don't sleep on Big Mo or he will sneak up on ya!
Over on the hitting side, Biscuit hitters are starting to wake up. As the weather warms up, so do the Montgomery bats. Jake Bauers has hit homers in back to back games, meaning pitchers in the league should beware.

Johnny Field is third in the league in RBI's and has been making great contact with the bat. He has 12 runs batted in.

Biscuits leadoff man Willy Adames leads the league in Run Scored. His next run scored will be his 12th.

Casey Gillaspie is second in the league in bases on balls. Yep, twelve.


The Biscuits come home to face the Marlins affilate Jacksonville Suns.

The Biscuits are just two games out of first place at 8-6, the Suns start the series 4.5 game back at 7w-8L.

This is the only time Montgomery will host the Suns this season, unless the two teams meet in the playoffs.

Ryne Stanek
Princess Night
C.W. Hu vs Jake Esch

Scout Night/Autograph Day
 Jacob Faria vs Jarlin Garcia

2pm Kids Day
Taylor Guerrieri vs Austin Brice

Ryne Stanek vs Ryan Newell

SkoolDay Game
Chris Kirsch vs Tim Berry


The Biscuits and Suns are a bit of a strange matchup - both Florida's MLB teams rely heavily on their minor league talent and ranked prospects aren't the only quality players on the roster.

Hank Aaron integrated the Southern League w/Suns 1953
The Suns historically play tough games against Montgomery, so this could be a hard series to predict.

Look for Biscuits baserunners. The Suns pitchers are second in the league in giving up hits.

Look for Jacksonville to score runs in bunches. The Suns are second in the league in runs scored. They have five wins in games that they scored five times or more.

Look for Biscuits home runs. The JSuns have given up the most long balls in the league. Montgomery has hit 11 homers in 14 games, second most in the league.

Look for the hometown hitters to play wall-ball for two bases, Montgomery leads the league in doubles.

While Biscuits hitters are batting just a collective .227, they don't swing and miss - only one club has fewer strikeouts. Look for the Biscuits team batting average to climb over the next series.

The Suns prospect rating is 119
Top drawer prospects on the Suns roster include:
BBA Ranked #3 prospect Jarlin Garcia
Ranked #7 prospect Austin Dean
ranked #13 Jake Esch
ranked #14 Austin Brice
ranked #16 Tim Berry
ranked #22 J.T. Riddle
ranked #23 Avery Romero

This team is well constructed and has good talent. It is not as loaded with names as some of the other clubs in the league but they offset that with great organizational depth. Pitching is one of the strengths of this club.

How can you not love a guy named Jose Jose. I gotta get him to sign a baseball before he takes off in the recording industry, if not as a baseball player.

The rainout at Jackson TN has indeed been added to the Montgomery schedule as a doubleheader at Riverwalk on May 28th.

This will be just the second time that Montgomery has hosted a game with the Biscuits listed as the Visiting team.


APRIL 22 1839 
A.T. "Aleck" Pearsall is born, later to play for 1860 Brooklyn Excelsiors, possibly in Florence Alabama. He would be Alabama's first baseball player. He would be expelled from the Excelsiors for joining the Confederate army as a surgeon.

I researched the strange trek of the man who brought baseball to Montgomery for a post in 2014. He was perhaps the first man banned from baseball, ousted not for gambling or drinking but for performing life-saving surgery under the wrong flag. In fact, he was doctoring Federal casualties who took their surgeons name back to New York.

Pearsall arrived in Montgomery in 1863 and by the spring of 1867 we had our first team. Please feel free to check out the post The Ex Excelsior, Founding Father of Montgomery Baseball from a couple years back. There may not be a more important figure in Montgomery baseball history.

APRIL 22 1893 
"Iron Man" Joe McGinnity wins his second Montgomery start, beating Nashville again. This time the score is 7-4.