Thursday, September 27, 2012

His: Go Biscuits!

A few weeks ago I was sent to Alabama for 10 days for work. Part of this time was the Labor day weekend so I had 3 days to entertain myself. I was able to plan ahead for this and discovered that there were two minor league teams nearby and several disc golf courses. This essentially meant that I had plenty to do and wouldn't spend the whole weekend in a hotel room.

    The disc golf tour of Birmingham is another story and will likely be featured in a future post. This story is about me partaking in America's Favourite Pastime, Baseball. I strongly believe that no visit to America is complete without visiting a professional baseball game. No where else can you savour the experience of open air, sit with peanuts, hot dogs and a nice cold brew and listen to the crowd heckle the opposing team's batter. If you are looking to experience a true American pastime then a local baseball game is what you need. The major league games are an experience their own and should you get a chance to see one in person, I highly recommend it. The atmosphere can not be rivaled. However, the minor league games are still a great night out and are very affordable. A professional football or basketball ticket can set you back well over $100, but a good seat to a minor league game is no more than $10-12.
The Logo for the Montgomery Biscuits.
It's a little biscuit (which is what they call a
scone in Australia) with a pat of butter for a tongue

      There is a story behind why I chose to drive 80 miles (130km) to go watch a minor league game in Montogemery, AL. A few years ago during a quiet time at work, some workmates and I decided to look at up the strangest names in minor league baseball.  One of the team names that stuck out was the Montgomery Biscuits. I thought it was a cool name and would like to have seen a game but since it was 800 (1300km) miles from Virginia it was something that was never likely to happen. However, once I was sent to Birmingham for work I discovered that the Biscuits home field was just an hour away and they would be at home over Labor Day weekend. There was no question, I had to drive down to Montgomery and see the Biscuits in action.

Big Mo, the mascot for the Biscuits. 
     The field is built around an old railroad depot which is fairly unique. This alone was pretty cool plus it had an active railroad track just outside of the stadium so you could see trains go by during the game. Tickets were about $8-12 depending on where you chose to sit but I ended up getting tickets for free as a nice gentleman had some extras he wanted to give away. After entering the stadium I looked at the concession stands to see what I could have for dinner then headed to the team store (named the Biscuit Basket) to get some merchandise. The team had the coolest logo ever and I had to get a T-shirt if nothing else. I ended up with a T-shirt, fridge magnet, baseball and a coffee mug. Whoever in the marketing department came up with the idea of calling the team the Biscuits obviously knew they were on a good thing in regards to merchandise sales.

     Now that I had bought one of everything in the store it was time for dinner. The food at the stadium was actually well priced. They had a meal deal for $8.00 which included a entree, fries and a drink. This is by far the cheapest meal I have ever seen at a ballpark. The food was pretty tasty too. I went to find my seat and it was right behind home plate so I had a great view. Soon after I finished my dinner the game started and I found it hard not to laugh when the announcer called "and here are your Montgomery Biscuits!".

The Biscuit Bunch tossing buttered biscuits into the crowd.
    The game itself was quite entertaining as both teams played good baseball. The mid inning entertainment was just brilliant and quite varied to what I had seen at other parks. First up was the Biscuit's mascot Big Mo who is a creature who loves to eat biscuits. I am convinced that he is actually Mr Snuffleupagus' mutant cousin. The following inning was a baby race where two babies had to crawl along a sheet of plastic to win a prize. They also had various other contests which were cool but by far the most interesting thing was the biscuit toss. In many parks they toss T-shirts into the crowd but not here. They have a Biscuit toss where they toss buttered biscuits into the crowd but thankfully for the recipients they are wrapped. Having seen the biscuit toss I decided it was time to try a biscuit for myself. They sold them either buttered, strawberry shortcake or a chicken biscuit. I tried the chicken biscuits and they were tasty.

The first base side and the old railroad depot behind it.
The Biscuits ended up winning the game 10 runs to 4 and clinched the division title. There was a fireworks show and then it was time to head back to the car and start the journey back to Birmingham. I thought it was fitting that they played Sweet Home Alabama as the crowd left the stadium. As we left the management and office staff were at the gates and personally thanked everyone for attending, wished us safe travels and urged us to come back again. This was probably something they did after every game but something I thought was a nice touch and made me feel very welcome and a valued customer. I now understand the meaning of southern hospitality as well after being at the game as this does not happen at the games at home.

I am very glad that I decided to make the trip down to Montgomery for the game as it was one of the best baseball game experiences I had ever been to. I will return there again one day and take Amanda so she can watch the Biscuits. Thank you Montgomery for your hospitality and for the entertaining ball game. You definitely have gained another fan in Virginia!

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