Alabama,  ballparks

My night with the Montgomery Biscuits – Aug. 8, 2012

On my way back to Stillwater, Okla., for the school year I took a scenic route to watch some baseball games and see some sights. After seeing some National Park Service sites in Tuskegee, Ala., my first baseball game was a Montgomery Biscuits game at Riverwalk Stadium.

The ballpark is built into a former railroad building, which is clear from the signage at the corner of Coosa and Tallapoosa streets. The building still bears decorative signage dating from 1898 as home of the Western Railway of Alabama.

Main entrance to Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium incorporates part of a former train shed.

The view from home plate does not provide fans with a spectacular view.  There is a nice scoreboard in left center and fans get an open view of the field, but the backdrop isn’t one that has people bragging about the view.  The signage in the outfield isn’t excessive, so fans get to watch the game without being inundated with advertising.

Montgomery Biscuits right-handed pitcher Merrill Kelly delivers the first pitch of the game to Jackson Generals third baseman Francisco Martinez.

The crowd was almost nonexistent, and I’m not sure why.  It was a Wednesday night in August, so it’s not a prime game-night.  However, I expected the crowd to be better than what I saw.  Granted, August in Alabama is always humid, so maybe that’s why there were so few fans at the game.

Biscuits galore

With a team called the Biscuits and being in the South, I had to try the biscuits.  The biscuit stand is on the concourse immediately behind home plate, so you can’t miss it.  I had a few options for my biscuits, but settled on plain biscuits for two reasons:

  1. I didn’t want to eat JUST biscuits, so I couldn’t get chicken biscuits or biscuits and gravy and feel like I could eat something else.  Whenever possible, I try to sample a few noteworthy items at a ballpark.
  2. I almost opted for the strawberry shortcake biscuits, but passed when I learned that the strawberries were not fresh and came from a can.  By default that meant I had to order plain biscuits and top them with butter and either syrup or jelly.
Biscuits with butter and syrup.

Growing up in the South I’ve had biscuits with honey or jelly quite often, but I had never considered putting syrup on my biscuits until this night.  I faced a difficult decision: original Alaga syrup or Alaga Yellow Label syrup.  After taking into consideration some sage advice from the veteran biscuit seller and sampling the two varieties, I opted to mix and match.  I combined the Yellow Label and the original cane syrup for a delicious treat.

The meats…

For my sustenance I opted for a foot-long red hot sausage at the Sausage Shack.  I love encased meats, so I chose the locally-made sausage.  I’ve never heard of Conecuh before, but I was very pleased with their meat.  Yes, insert inappropriate meat joke.  I got my sausage topped with grilled peppers and onions and added sauerkraut before topping it with just a touch of yellow mustard.

A foot-long Conecuh red hot sausage.

I paired it with a beer from Back Forty Beer Co., which is based in Gadsden, Ala.  I drank their Truck Stop Honey previously (read my visit to Regions Park for more details), so I decided to stick with a local craft brew and tried their Naked Pig Pale Ale.  It was a good pairing with the spicy sausage, and I’m glad I stuck with a brand I knew.

I passed on Dreamland BBQ nachos because I ate them at Regions Park a few weeks prior to this trip.  So I didn’t feel the need to eat them again.  Many folks told me to try something from the South of the Border cart because it was the best bang for my buck.  Maybe next time I’ll experiment with Mexican food at an Alabama ballpark.

Mugging with the mascot

Food is always great, especially when it’s unique to the ballpark or region.  However, I think the best moment of the game was getting my photo taken with Biscuits mascot Big Mo – the biscuit lovin’ beast.  I don’t know how to describe him, but a friend said he looked like an anteater.  I guess it just goes to show you that some creatures are beyond description, and you just have to love them for what they are.

Me with Montgomery Biscuits Big Mo.

A wild finish

The game moved along fairly quickly as the Biscuits rallied in the 9th to claim a 2-1 victory over the stunned Jackson Generals.  A dribbler down the first base line left the pitcher and first baseman confused as to who should cover the bag and who should field the ball.  The runner on second raced around the bases as the batter dove head-first under the tag of the first baseman to give the home team the win.  It was a great finish to the game!

The nightly recap

I loved my experience at Riverwalk Stadium.  It is a great location in downtown with ample street parking nearby.  It wonderfully incorporates an old building into a newer structure.  To top it off, the Biscuits’ staff plays up the aspects that make people fall in love with Minor League Baseball: the food is unique, the prices give fans a good bang for their buck, and most importantly the staff is friendly.

Final: Jackson Generals 1, Montgomery Biscuits 2
Box Score

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