Monday, May 8, 2017

Biscuits Ballyhoo and To-Do List



Biloxi Team Photo
The Biscuits dropped the series in Biloxi and return home with all the look of a .500 team, which would be good for second in the South Division. However the North Division boasts much better records and the Skitz have stumbled to fourth place.

Still, their return to Riverwalk will be met with optimism by fans who are wondering what to expect from their next visit to the park.


NEW CHAPTER BEGINS
Lou DiBella, Gary Green and others in the new ownership group have taken the reins and instantly we see changes. Last Thursday the Biscuits tweeted a call for local musicians, by the weekend they announced musical acts after each game for the upcoming homestand. The first act of the new administration was to set up a party atmosphere and announce a grand re-opening to start the second half of the season.


I was asked what to expect when the new brass says "all the bells and whistles", but I can't even venture to guess. I will be working hard not to just hug their necks and thank them for pointing the Biscuits in a new direction!


On Sunday DiBella said on twitter that he "would like to have Day in Montgomery to honor the legend" so maybe we have some wrestling tie-ins coming.


Like everyone else, I am looking forward to finding out just what can be done to help make the park more fun. I am excited about what it can be, having always thought the Biscuits could be one of the premier team in minor league baseball, certainly in the southern league.

 Also like everyone else, I have suggestions for the new stewards to consider. The opinions were canvassed in an informal survey of blog readers.



SOME THINGS TO LOOK AT CHANGING
in no particular order
1. Less waiting. Ticket office and concessions wait times can be immense, long lines make grumpy patrons and keep them from coming back. This is one of the most often heard complaints. The concourse gets sooo crowded due to long lines, making it less fun for everyone.


2. Team store needs attention, it used to be the best in the league but now seems spartan. Fans miss having new items in the store often and have trouble getting off work to get there before the 4pm closing time.


3. Cooling The Oven/Throw Shade - it gets hot out there, folks literally can't take the heat! Find a way to shade the first base stands or outfield bleachers and offer some form of cooling. Places with lower average temps offer cooling stations for fans. One day at game time my own seat registered a butt-scorching 145 degrees!


Brady was fired up in his Marty McFly jersey
4. Special Events/Uniforms. Get rid of the ridiculous ban against American Flags on Biscuit uniforms and have a 4th of July jersey/hat or a throwback uniform.  
The upcoming Stranger Things jersey will be just the second time the Biscuits have donned unique tops in 14 years!



5. More Food/Drink Options. Bring local food and breweries to the ballpark. Fans want more options for beer and food than just budweiser and hot dogs.
Soon Dreamland will be able to offer Railyard Beer, the Biscuits have in the past had a deal with them so perhaps go back to serving Dreamland bbq again? And bring their brew!


6. Affordability, the Biscuits are always way over the MiLB average costs for a trip to the park.
There is no larger factor in attendance than the financials. Montgomery folks turned out to watch the Biscuits when it is a good value, plain and simple.
 

David Price
7. Recognize former Montgomery players and teams somewhere inside the park. Lots of great Biscuits and Rebels played here, many fans are surprised to learn who has worn the uniform.  
A walk of fame along the left field fence would be an ideal way to list every player Montgomery has sent to the major leagues.


A happy biscuit
8. Use all of the ballpark. Areas like the first base concourse and right field grass sit empty while the 3rd base side is overcrowded due to the long concession lines.  Many fans never even make the trip around to centerfield to enjoy the view. The bar should not sit idle or close during games.


 9. Game Access - Even die-hard fans have a tough time getting info on the games, much work is needed in this aspect.

The litany of concerns in this heading include:
The current radio broadcast on AM cant be received in the park at night. Can't we get on an FM station? 
How about hearing the game on the concourse while waiting at the concession stand? 
Digital radio picks up the game fine, but is about two pitches behind. 
How come the box score isnt available in the newspaper? 
Why don't local news stations run Biscuit highlights every night?
Why isn't there isn't a program available for fans at the ballpark?



10 (my personal) Back in 1910 Birmingham built a brand new ballpark. Montgomery was their first opponent. Now that ballpark is the oldest in America and the Barons host a throwback game there annually called the Rickwood Classic. Get Montgomery into that contest at the historic ballpark in throwback uniforms against the rival Barons.
Fact check! Misdated as 1906, this photo from 1910 is the first game at Rickwood, not a championship.



SOME THINGS BISCUIT FANS LOVE AS THEY ARE
slightly in order of importance
1. The affiliation with Tampa Rays.
We all have a ton of Rays gear and have supported their guys all the way to the big leagues for almost fifteen years. We love not being big market affiliates, the underdogs are our favorites.

And DJ Kitty. He's a favorite too.


2. Those mid-inning biscuits tosses to the crowd, fans love it!

3. PA Announcer Rick Hendrick.

4. Thirsty Thursdays/Theme Nights/Pub Crawls. We don't need an excuse to have a good time, but sometimes we like to have one just the same. The special events have been rather low key the past few years. I am guessing we are going to be seeing a lot more reasons to celebrate!

5. Fireworks. Lots of fireworks.

6. Annual bobblehead giveaway. Maybe even add more, there are some folks who are serious about em! Even the less attended giveaway nights become the most memorable and iconic Biscuit images.

7. Military Wednesday with Color Guard.

8. The Capitol City Classic. Auburn vs Alabama at our home park is a great way to start off our baseball season and fans love it as a preview of the new food and drink offerings.

9. uhhhh.....

10. There arent ten things that make this list. We need help!


BOTTOM LINE
The biggest factor in revitalizing the Montgomery Biscuits will be to dispel the concept that the Skitz games are expensive to attend.

There have been fewer and fewer giveaways and more and more price increases. Locals would like to come more often but "it takes all my money" to see just one game, as I was told by an old friend who rarely attends - even though he is one of the biggest baseball fans I know.


That has to change.
It will change and people will come back to the park. I look forward to seeing it happen!



BISCUITS HOST SERIES VS LOOKOUTS

Oh hey, there is going to be a series of baseball games too. And it could be a doozy!

On the batting side, Montgomery holds an advantage with more speed and power to the gaps. The pitching is evenly matched but the Biscuits tend to allow home runs much more frequently.

The Lookouts bring a top prospect in Nick Gordon, brother of Marlins 2b Dee Gordon. Nick is a hit machine, among the league leaders.
Switch hitting Engelb Vielma is a tough out in the middle of the lineup, batting .263 on the road. Biscuit pitchers will need to figure him out quickly, expect him to face lefty relief late in games.

The Noogas are just a couple games ahead of the Biscuits in the standings and if Montgomery doesn't want to get buried they will need to take care of business in this series.

Starting pitchers for the Lookouts pitchers not officially listed yet, these are possible starters.

MONDAY
Hunter Wood vs TBA Paul Clemens

TUESDAY
KIDS GAME 10:35am
Greg Harris vs TBA Fernando Romero

WEDNESDAY
CRAWFISH FEST
Mike Franco vs TBA Felix Jorge

THURSDAY
MARDI GRAS NIGHT
 Jose Mujica vs TBA Matt Tracy

FRIDAY NIGHT
FAMILY FAITH NIGHT
TBA vs TBA Kole Stewart


MONTGOMERY GETS BASEBALL AND BALLYHOO
 NOT TECHNICALLY THIS DAY...






Historically, there are some similarities to a previous sale of Montgomery's ball club.

When Joe Engel, the original "Barnum of Baseball" bought the Montgomery team back in the 1930s he promised plenty of ballyhoo, even though the season was already underway.




When the first game rolled around, there was actually a little less "ballyhoo" and the doubleheader was played after a short ceremony.





1 comment:

Chase N. Allpots said...

Who wore #23 for 1980 Montgmery Rebels?