When I went to a couple Nashua Pride games over Opening Weekend, I remember making a mental note that the team’s hitting coach was former major league slugger Richie Hebner, who also coached in Boston during my formative years as a fan.
Maybe a week or two later, I noticed that Pittsburgh was giving away a Hebner bobblehead and thought it might be cool to talk to Hebner and get his thoughts on the honor – you know, since he was practically in my backyard and all.
Imagine my surprise when the Pride Web site made no mention of Hebner as hitting coach. In fact, I’m not sure his name was mentioned anywhere www.nashuapride.com; I had to do a little digging to find out that he had accepted a minor league managerial position with the Baltimore Orioles.
So that was kind of uncool. Hebner had been the big name on Nashua’s coaching staff – former Red Sox outfielder Rick Miller is the manager and longtime Nashua presence John Roper is the pitching coach – and surely would have been an interview subject of this blog at some point. It was very disappointing.
They say that the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, however, and today, He did the former. Brian Daubach, the former Red Sox first baseman whose most perplexing and endearing qualities were his world-class mustache and maddeningly inconsistent consistency, ventured into town to lay claim to the position.
Yeah, that’s right folks: Dauber is the Nashua Pride’s new hitting coach.
I have no strong visual evidence to support my moustache claim – there’s an interview question right there: “Did you, in fact, sport a phenomenal moustache earlier in life?” – but Baseball-Reference.com has the skinny on Daubach’s consistency, mostly in the form of his homerun and RBI totals (21, 21, 22, 20 and 73, 76, 71, 78, respectively, from 1999-2002). It seemed like at least once a month, he’d go through a horrible slump, then rebound and go on a tear. I could never get over the fact that a player like that could produce such similar numbers, year after year after year after year.
Hopefully Daubach can help the Pride’s offense find its groove: the team currently ranks last in the Can-Am League in team batting average and next-to-last in runs scored. Whatever happens, though, I’m already looking forward to making my next trip over to Holman Stadium, and that’s the true value of an addition like this.
(Side note: how about a hand for the Pride, which is averaging 1,719 fans per game through 18 games this season? Rumors of the franchise’s death have sandbagged operations since I worked there in 2003, and this season, the third (?) under local owner John Stabile, was rumored to really really be the last unless fans started coming out in greater numbers. So far, unless someone’s cooking the books, it appears they are doing just that. Great job, Pride; great job, Nashua. Let’s keep this thing afloat for a few more years, shall we?)