Thursday, February 21, 2013
February 21- Montgomery Biscuits
It’s not often that complain about starting trends, but with this one I had a little bit of beef. When I started my hat quest back in late 2010 I made sure pick this little guy up first. The Montgomery Biscuits, an AA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, came to be at the start of the 2004 season. This particular hat is not of the original specifications. This style is the alternate hat which was released at the start of the 2009 season; however, it is a re-release of the original road cap which was used from 2004-2008 and featured a much lighter shade of blue for the panels. Not light blue, but a darker shade of royal. This one is actually navy blue. Getting back to trend setting though, I used to wear this cap most Thursday and Sunday nights when I bartended at Max’s Tavern in Eugene, Oregon. Much in the same light of people asking about my beard or calling me Brian Wilson, younger guys would always ask me about this hat: What it is, where I got it, etc. As my collection started to build I took this cap out of the rotation as to not overindulge. It was also around this time in May of 2011 that I started noticing this hat on the heads of random customers I had met over the last few months. Needless to say, I was a bit dumbfounded.
If you don’t follow me on Instagram (you should first off) then you probably would know anything about my large assortment of Champion brand NBA jerseys. I’ve been collecting those since I scooped up a rookie Grant Hill Detroit Pistons back in 1995 when I was 12-years-old. From 1995-2000 I practically wore those jerseys every day of my life.
It became such a regular occurrence that my friends began calling me by whomever’s last name was printed on my back. It was around 2000 that I started noticing another trend within the music world, most specifically in the rap/hip-hop genre. More and more old school NBA jerseys began popping up in music videos, much to my chagrin. While I am totally aware that some white kid from Bakersfield, California more than likely didn’t start that trend, it became a bit of a nuisance when others, who didn’t know me personally, began assuming that I was copying their trend. Many arguments were had, and rather than continue to try to defend myself on a daily basis, I moved on and created a new style.
Going back to May of 2011, all of those feelings I had when I was younger came rushing back as I did not want to be labeled as one of those guys biting another persons’ style, despite the fact that I may have actually created the trend. As time pressed on and my candidacy for the MLB Fan Cave became a reality, I stopped thinking about that issue as much since I was now in front of a national audience.
During my campaign on up through my last day in the Fan Cave I was known as: the New Era guy, the hats guy, the tattoo guy OR the Hats and Tats guy. It was a very interesting distinction as I had never really gotten much of a coin like that since my jersey days, but then again it probably also helped that I used my #HatsandTats hashtag so regularly that my friend Brad Jeffers had come up with back in February of 2012. Either way, it became more of a point of pride. I became an inadvertent spokesperson for New Era, letting people know where to get the hats I had and the meanings behind each of the numbers written on the panels. You know, kind of like what I’ve been doing for the last 52 days. But hey, if I can help sell a few more hats for the guys who make them as a result of this blog, I’m totally cool with that. I just hope I can educate at the same time.
Sorry for the long tangent, back to the hat! In 2006 and 2007 the Biscuits won their division, as well as the Southern League title in both of those years. What was even more surprising is that they did it without the help of ANY future MLB stars. Well, unless you consider Reid Brignac, Justin Ruggiano, Elliot Johnson, Andy Sonnanstine, Jeff Nieman, John Jaso and Evan Longoria stars. Kidding of course.
Since this particular cap did not feature any of those players, I was lucky enough to find a stellar amount of talent since 2008 to mark this bad boy up with.
#15- It’s kind of ridiculous (in a good way) how amazing the general management and scouting crew for the Rays are. Take this guy for example; an original 18th round pick by the Cleveland Indians in 2005 and later 10th round pick by the Rays in 2006 who went .316/8/45 and stole 37 bases as a leadoff hitter in 100 games in 2009. That year he won the Southern League MVP without much competition and was the third Biscuits player to do so in a six year time frame. With the loss of B.J. Upton to the Atlanta Braves, there is no doubt that DESMOND JENNINGS will be one of the new leaders and faces of the franchise for years to come.
#18- In 2009 this cat made 11 appearances for the Biscuits, going 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA and 62 strikeouts. Pretty amazing considering that he averaged just shy of 10 (9.8) strikeouts per nine innings. He made his MLB debut in 2010 and ended up winning the Rookie of the Year award in 2011. Not too bad for a fourth round pick in 2005. Well done Jeremy “Hell Boy” Hellickson.
#36- In 2011 this kid drubbed all of Hellickson’s numbers. In 18 games he went 8-3 with a 2.20 ERA and a team leading 131 strikeouts. That’s roughly 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings. He made his debut in 2011, primarily as a reliever, and was projected to be the Rookie of the Year in 2012. He put up noble numbers: 11-11 with a 3.81 ERA and 175 strikeouts. There is no doubt that Matt Moore has a bright future ahead of him in the Show.