On the Road: Sow Time in Montgomery

To see all posts from my August 1, 2015 visit to the Montgomery Biscuits (this is Part One) click HERE. To see all of the posts from my July/August 2015 trip through the Deep South, click HERE. To see ALL of my “On the Road” posts (going back to 2010), click HERE.

2015 “On the Road” landing page HERE!

Stop number #4 on my 2015 road trip through the Deep South was Montgomery, Alabama, home of the Biscuits. Though the team played its first season in 2004, the Biscuits remain a perennial source of amusement to individuals who’ve just found out that they exist. During the summer of 2015, one of those individuals was celebrity weather prognosticator Al Roker.

I visited Montgomery shortly after the Biscuits’ brief fling with Roker-mania, which included a follow-up segment in which Al and company wore team swag and ate biscuits on the air.

A visit from Ben’s Biz, niche blogger and third-person referrer, was nothing compared to the lavish attention of the Today Show. Still, the team rolled out the proverbial red carpet for me and I had a great time during my evening at Riverwalk Stadium. You butter believe it.

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Upon arriving in downtown  Montgomery, finding a parking spot was a burdensome task. But success was ultimately mine, as success always ultimately is. As I made the short walk from car to the ballpark, sights such as these were seen along the way.
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004In its previous incarnation, Riverwalk Stadium was a train shed. Much of the original exterior, extending along the first base line, has been preserved.

005

“Max Fireworks” would be a great band name

Before Riverwalk Stadium was a train shed, it was the site of a Confederate military prison. The plaque explains that the majority of the 700 Union soldiers housed there were captured at Shiloh. “They were imprisoned in a foul, vermin-abounding cotton depot…without blankets and only the hard earth of wood planks as a bed.”

006Riverwalk Stadium’s front entrance is spacious and airy, as befits a building that used to house locomotives. (The river in question, for the record, is the Alabama.)
025The interior of the stadium: Also spacious.

011CSX freight trains regularly run past the stadium.

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This has led to at least one classic Minor League broadcasting moment.

The view from center field highlights the stadium’s unique architecture: Half re-purposed train shed, half original structure.

017The Club Car Bar, located on the far end of the first base side concourse, features a bar made from timbers taken from the train shed.

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There are 20 suites in the stadium, six of which are train shed-side “historical suites.”

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024An “historic” view:

027Wrapping around to the other side, one finds the Locomotive Loft. Can you spot the texting chef?

030The Biscuits’ front office, located in what used to be railroad offices, are truly a sight to behold.

038Original signage abounds.

037A live pig resides within this atmosphere of opulence. Seriously. She has her own cubicle and everything.

039The pig’s name is Miss Gravy, Duchess of Pork, a micro-mini potbelly pig whom I had the pleasure of feeding a baby carrot.

The Biscuits acquired Miss Gravy at the start of the 2014 season, after partnering with Alabama’s department of agriculture. Following her rookie campaign, Auburn University sent out a press release announcing that Miss Gravy had undergone a successful ovariohysterectomy. You can’t make this stuff up.

Biscuits marketing director Staci Wilkenson, gracious provider of my pre-game stadium tour, told me that Miss Gravy is “definitely a diva” and that her favorite activities include running and sunbathing.

My visit with Miss Gravy was all-too-brief, for the game was about to begin. Field was on the field to catch a first pitch thrown by a servicewoman (Maxwell Air Force Base is located a half mile away).

044And, soon enough, the ballgame began.

046This concludes part one of my Montgomery Biscuits blog series; stay tuned for more. To paraphrase the team theme song, “I made this post out of pure ambition, if you can’t stand the heat get out of my kitchen.”

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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