Monday, November 7, 2016

Hot Stove Heats Up Biscuits

You must be starving for Biscuits already... okay, let me stoke up the hot stove and then we will see what we have in the cupboard.

The Biscuits released their schedule for 2017, we will be taking a look at that over the next few weeks and months. Most of the season ticketholder benefits remained about the same, and the ticket price didn't change either. Pretty much business as usual there and we like it.

Have you submitted your design for the new Biscuits hat yet? You only have until the 7th!

I am glad to see this, its a variation on a suggestion I made, turn the design over to the fans. The Biscuits website has the template to download, pretty straightforward. One design per fan.

When I asked for details I learned it would not be a gamer, its a hat for fans made by fans. It is also likely a '47 brand hat, which should be cool.

My design? Just add houndstooth checks and watch them fly off the shelves.

Not yet officially confirmed, it is a foregone conclusion there will be extra nets at Riverwalk for next season.

Cade Gotta brought nets to the park with a foul ball line drive that injured a fan, luckily she only lost an eye as it could have been fatal.

Less than two weeks later another fan injury in the same section, the result is that nets will extend over the dugouts.

I consider myself an old-school baseball guy, but I have softened just a little on the nets. Stats wise, a miniscule percentage of fans are injured by flying objects at games. However that low number could be reduced even more by adding a little more netting.

The Biscuits front office took the brunt of the bad press on the fan injuries this past summer, when in fact it is the duty of the City of Montgomery to maintain the park and its equipment to keep fans safe.

The cost will be the city's responsibility, but an effect will likely be felt by the team, where the premium seating will suffer from a slightly diminished view. Other teams have seen a dramatic drop in season ticket sales where extra nets have been put up. Which also lowers the chances someone will be hurt in those seats - since nobody will be sitting there.

Word on the street is that the Biscuits could be skippered by a new manager in 2017.

Brady Williams is usually a one year contract guy and may have other plans and opportunities. When he left, Brady seemed to be of a mood for change, certainly he has little left to prove as a manager at the double-A level.

Possibilities abound within the Rays organization, Reinaldo Ruiz, Mike Johns, Ozzie Timmons, Craig Albernaz, Tim Parenton or any of a whole crew of Tampa Rays coaching guys. Also it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the Rays would bring in a new manager to head the Skitz.

For just the third time in team history, the Biscuits will wear a themed jersey.
Stranger Things is the theme, the Netflix series is an homage to horror pop culture and the jersey top is a woodsy scene with the team name in the shows title script.

Someone asked my opinion, but frankly since I haven't seen the show it is kind of tough for me to get excited about having a Biscuits uniform in that style. It seems rather a niche item and I just don't have any idea how fans will look at it.

It certainly isn't the throwback/fauxback jersey that was considered last year, which I would have much more excited to see.

Yes, I said THIRD time for the Biscuits in a themed jersey.
Can you name the other two?
See answer below!

We can also take a peek at the predictions made earlier in the year.

Roster - I predicted the majority of the opening day roster, and most of the players I predicted would be Biscuits made it to the club at some point during the season.
23 players made the team that were on my January list.

Also, there was some doubt about the coaching assignments, I successfully predicted all three coaches, plus Marty Gantt who was on my team roster appeared as the Biscuits video coach.

Record - I predicted the Biscuits would win ten more games in '17 than they did in '16. They actually won one less than last year. Swing and a miss.

Win Both Halves - I said it could happen, but the Skitz only won the second half. So thats a half-success for the prediction.

Postseason - I predicted the Biscuits would make the postseason, which they did, but I also said they would win more than last year. They won exactly the same, one postseason game. Swing and a miss.

One of the great things about being a "blogger" is that I can make mistakes. Like that misplaced comma in the January post with the predictions! That was of course supposed to be a period, but hey, I missed it.

But then sometimes I nail it.
Like the roster, getting a look into the future, taking a guess and seeing it come to pass is a cool thing.

So is getting history right.

I went back and took a look at one of my most popular posts to check it for facts. Always trying to improve. I wasn't sure what made it popular, but the post "Odd Arch Persons" has gotten a ton of views over the past year or so, rising to the top of the list. I checked it out, read it again and was surprised to learn more about what I had learned about!

To save you the trouble of having to read up on past posts, Arch Persons is one of just two players on the 1909 Montgomery team to not reach the major leagues. However he has a card in the popular tobacco T206 set, released from 1909-1911.

Of the 500+ cards in the set, about a hundred are minor league players and four were with Montgomery. I found that interesting enough and decided to take a deeper look at the player pictured in the famous set.

When I looked Persons up to write the original post, he had intermittent stats listed on Baseball Reference dot com, some years were missing and some were fully noted.

As I looked further, I learned his name was often misspelled, and that Arch Persons and a player named Archie PeArson had career stats that dovetailed together perfectly.

It was obvious to me that they were one and the same, the guy had turned a misspelling of his name into a handy career move. Archie was able to negotiate contracts midseason or jump to new teams thanks to being able to play as Person on the east coast and Pearson when in the west.

A career minor leaguer, he simply stood out to me as a Montgomery player who had a great 1910 baseball card but never made to the bigs. I wrote about what I learned on the blog, posted his numbers and some of the research I had done and found a few photos in old newspapers that nobody else seemed to have available.

Archie Persons
I must have been right, changed the Arch Persons player page to include his west coast stats and deleted Archie Pearsons as a separate player!

I was stunned, it felt great to have helped a guys career get right with history. Not a great star or famous figure, simply a baseball grunt who earned his living with a misspelled name.


Surely you heard that the Suns new ownership has changed the team name to Jumbo Shrimp. Fans are up in arms, but its the same old same old for the owner, who also changed the name of the Akron Aeros without shedding a tear for the teams actual fans.

While many local fans complained about the name change, one fan put up a petition against it. Comments there are worth reading, one signer gave credit to the new owner for figuring out how to shorten lines at the concession stand by making people too embarrassed to attend games.

The Suns made a roster move just the day before the change in moniker, so now David Vidal is the last Jacksonville Suns player!

Emails reveal the Smokies ownership has a secret desire to go back to Knoxville, probably around 2019.

The owner would be willing to pay the rent at the current ballpark to the end of the lease if Knoxville has a new home for the Smokies. That would mean paying 300K through 2025 for a place the team didn't want.

For now, those involved say its an Appalachian League team being considered. But at $50-60mm to build, the low level summer league team would probably never be able to offset the cost of a new park.

While the park is still in great shape, the Lookouts owner says Chattanooga will need a new stadium in the near future.
What I found most intriguing is his reference to a "design flaw" that puts a large chunk of the fans in full sun most of the year.

 "The biggest one is the orientation, and the reason we have a harder time in July and August compared to April and May is very attributable to that orientation. Many teams have the best part of their season during that time because the kids are out of school, and the fact that is harder for us is because the sun angle that causes us the issues there."

The article states that the 'Nooga park is the third oldest in the Southern League, behind Mobile and Jackson Tn. It also says the team has had attendance issues recently, due in part to the fans "having no relief from the sun and heat during the early innings."

Truly this a design flaw at Riverwalk as well.

Most Biscuit fans easily recall the Back To The Future jerseys worn in 2014.
Brady Williams had a classic moment wearing them as he was tossed for arguing with the umpires and proceeded to let loose with his opinion before hitting the showers.

However if you also said the Climbers Jerseys the Biscuits wore at the 2006 Rickwood Classic, you get a cookie!

Sure, the game was rained out but the team certainly suited up in the 1909 style garb, supplied by the Bham Barons.

I have tried and tried to get info on the Montgomery tops worn, but have yet to find out what happened to them. Likely the Barons have them in storage, but I have no confirmation that they even still exist. I still have hopes the Biscuits will get invited back to Rickwood and get to wear the old uniforms again.

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