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.