Archive for April 4th, 2008

Let The Bobbling Begin!

Because everyone loves bobbleheads, the crack Bus Leagues staff (okay, me) is currently compiling a list of scheduled bobblehead giveaways around the minor leagues this season. With a little luck and a lot of ambition, it will be done and posted by the end of the weekend.

Most teams offer bobbleheads later in the season, when weather is good and larger crowds can be expected. A few, however, are starting off early, with giveaways planned for April dates. Tonight, the Las Vegas 51s kick things off (as near as I can tell; if there are others out there, either from last night or tonight, let us know) with Russell Martin bobbleheads for the first 2,500 fans. The 51s play the Salt Lake Bees at 7:05 PM.

Las Vegas has two more bobblehead nights planned: Joe Torre on May 24 and Takashi Saito on July 11.

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Ken Cail Is Leaving Nashua; This Is The Saddest News Ever

Okay, so maybe it’s not the saddest news ever.  But for anyone who has ever attended a Nashua Pride game at Holman Stadium, the announcement in today’s Nashua Telegraph that Cail, the team’s play-by-play announcer since its inception in 1998, is leaving to broadcast Lowell Spinners games is upsetting.

The lede to Tom King’s story perfectly explains Cail’s importance to Nashua and its Pride:

One day, just prior to a Nashua Pride game a few years ago, then-team owner Chris English was mingling in the stands, and listened to the bellowing voice of Ken Cail over the Holman Stadium public address system.

“Listen to that voice,” English said. “Ken Cail is the Nashua Pride.”

That’s not hyperbole, folks: it’s fact.  Cail was the perfect PA announcer, with a deep, rich voice and the ability to think quickly on his feet.  I’ll never forget a night in 2004.  One of my daily tasks was to prepare the game script for that evening, detailing all the necessary promos and advertisements to be read throughout the evening.  Somehow, things got mixed up, and the copy of the script that Ken got was different from the one that the rest of us had – not the whole thing, but he had the Flying Rubber Chickens promotion scheduled for the seventh inning, we had it for the eighth, or something like that.

The inning break came, Ken announced it, and…nothing.  Nobody went on the field.  He caught it after about three seconds, made a swift acknowledgement of the mixup, and moved right into a different, unplanned promo.  He was always doing stuff like that, taking little mistakes that I might’ve made and smoothing over them until they were barely noticeable.  By the end of the season, I almost didn’t have to give him a script – he just knew what needed to be said, and when.

That story explains the real reason why Ken Cail was so phenomenal as a PA announcer: because he is so phenomenal as a person.  Most people would have been pretty upset about an incident like that because it puts them on the spot publicly.  Not Ken; he was probably the most professional person I’ve ever met, an incredibly decent person who could be forced into a situation like that, see that I was upset about it, and pick me right up with his “We’ll get ’em next time” attitude. 

After I left, Ken worked as the Media Relations Director for the Pride, and according to the Telegraph called road games on the Internet for the team.  His true love, however, is radio – he has a morning radio show in New Hampshire and does play-by-play for the Manchester Monarchs hockey team – which led to his decision to leave the team for the opportunity with the Spinners.  In all honesty, I feel sad because that job is probably beneath him.  As talented a voice as Ken Cail is, he belongs in the big leagues.

The Nashua Pride will have a new public address announcer when the 2008 season begins next month.  They will never have another Ken Cail.

Spotlight on AAA Ball – 4/4/2008

We get ready for the weekend by shifting our focus to AAA ball. By next week we should have enough games played to start tracking some of the top prospects as they advance through the ranks, but for now, we’ll just whet your appetite.

Here’s your triple-A news:

Ten Names to Know in the International League, headlined by likely suspects Jay Bruce, Evan Longoria, and Homer Bailey. The IL is celebrating its 125th anniversary, so if you live close enough to hit a game at one of these top Bus League teams, you should plan a trip and soak up the history.

A former PawSox (Red Sox) GM talks about his experiences with well-known Boston players like Manny Ramirez and Trot Nixon.

The Braves think they can actually somehow make money by moving the current Richmond Braves to an Atlanta suburb. Fuzzy math (third story down, after minor-league hockey, etc.)

Indianapolis is the home of the Indianapolis Indians (Pirates). This guy seems to like them OK, but would really prefer an MLB franchise, thank you very much. But they’ve been there since 1902!

While this blog post could use a few more paragraph breaks, it is still an interesting recap of how the Norfolk Tides came to sever their 38-year relationship with the New York Mets and switch to the geographically nearer Baltimore Orioles. As a side note, Harbor Park and Camden are also very similar in their well-appointed throwback architecture, courtesy of HOK Architects.

That’s Triple-A news for this week. Look forward to a more robust offering next week after a few games are in the books.