Thursday, May 19, 2016

Skitz get Sun-Burned, Bham Next

The Biscuits were burned by the Suns, dropping the final match in extras and losing three of four games with one contest mercifully taken by Mother Nature.

To paraphrase famed Minneapolis Sportswriter Halsey Hall - the manager might as well send the gold in his teeth to Durham, because thats where it will end up eventually.

Basically meaning items of value are not left to do the good they can do, instead sent up the chain to a meaningless situation. If you ever wondered why the Biscuits don't win the first half, look no farther than the empty chair in the bullpen.

The Rays annually leave the Biscuits shorthanded, this season no exception.

When Parker Markel and Adam Kolarek were promoted on May 7th, it took four days to get Kyle Bird here - and thats just one guy, not two. Since then Juniel Querecuto was also promoted, his replacement is Pat Blair but it still leaves the Biscuits roster at just 24 men.

And how are the Bulls doing? Terrible. Barely able to manage a .400 win-loss percentage, half of their losses are of the shutout variety, yet they can not be left without an extra reliever. But Montgomery, fighting for a playoff berth, is deemed acceptable to roster just 24 men. Such a move effectively handcuffs a manager, unable to play matchups with a shorthanded pitching staff.

That shortage showed on Wednesday when each Skitz reliever was asked to pitch more than one inning and a huge lead was squandered. The fault is not Schrieber's to bear, though his is the ERA that took the hit. The fault should be laid squarely at the feet of the Tampa Bay Rays front office if this team falls a game short at the end of the first half from lack of bullpen.

Every year, the same thing. No matter how good the Skitz team is, we see players sent any direction but to the Southern League playoffs. Durham is toast, eight games under .500 but they get the preferred players and Gumpskitz get left short. Port Charlotte? Fifth place, but with a tight grip on their rostered players.

Why do the Rays not want to teach their players to win as a team? How long will they leave the Biscuits short-handed this time? Twelve days and counting...
Okay, hug it out and move on

The series in Bham will be big but not as huge as the games last August, the Biscuits are currently trying to tread water until the Generals come to Riverwalk for a six-game set.

The Barons will look for a little revenge on the Skitz after the drubbing they received at Montgomery. It is tough to predict what will happen, one would suppose that the Biscuits will take this series as they did the last but with a short bullpen easy wins quickly become heartbreaking losses (see above).

The Biscuits commute to the Barons home park every day, the rest for players is eschewed in favor of saving on hotel rooms. It means the Biscuits will spend over 18 hours on the road this week, five hours back from Jacksonville and an hour + each way, each day for five days.

For the first time in Biscuits history, no game will be played on Memorial Day. Not sure why, it would seem to be a prime ticket night, but I'm sure Bradys Boys will enjoy having the day off.

I was asked to help out with the upcoming Montgomery Biscuits history promotional nights, and I am more than a little excited about what is coming. I can't say what will be on tap, but I am sure Trible & Co have much up their sleeves. But certainly a nod to the past will be a fun experience at the park. 

Guys like Mark Fidrych, Trammell and Whitaker, Jack Morris went on to greatness and are remembered as local products with the Rebels of the 1970's dynasty. They will be included, many long time fans of the city's great teams proudly recall their exploits on the diamond at Paterson Field.

But we will also hear about Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig playing at Cramton Bowl, the amazing seasons Steve Grilli, Dick Egan and Dick Greco had in Montgomery and some of the barnstorming MLB teams that played here on the way north for Opening Days gone by.

I expect we will see former Rebel Ted Brazell, a six year Montgomery player as well as the last manager of the Rebs. Also his son Craig, who won the 2006 SL Home Run Derby at Riverwalk, should be on hand. Hopefully they bring their fantastic collection of Rebels memorabilia, including three League Championship trophies.

Its a two-night promotion, a brilliant idea since our baseball history is essentially shattered by a twenty-four year gap. Starting in 1980 when the Rebels were sold and moved to Bham, the no-baseball era runs through 2004 when the beloved Biscuits arrived to save baseball fans in our area.

The first night covers the "Old Days" from 1880s-1980, the second night dedicated to Biscuits-history. You can be sure that Gabby Martinez will be mentioned!


Gantt, right, with Dayon Varona, Sept 2015
Last week a familiar face was on the bench for the Biscuits, Marty Gantt was in town sparking rumors that he would be the player added to fill out the roster. Marty played for the Biscuits last fall, appearing in a few late season games and getting into left field part-time in the playoffs after Johnny Fields injury.

In fact Gantt is now a roving instructor with the Rays, having concluded his playing career he was added to the college of coaches. Marty was in town with the other roving instructors, learning the ropes of the gig.

He was being schooled by a pro, Skeeter Barnes was the first Biscuits hitting coach and one of the finest gents to grace the first base coaches box.
Ariaza? No, thats Skeeter Barnes!

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