After last night’s American Defenders game, my friend Chris was moved to write down a few thoughts of his own on the current state of the team and its seemingly inevitable demise.
There comes a time in everyone’s life where their childhood memories eventually fade away. It may be something small and minuscule or it may be something significant. This is minuscule but it is still something that is hard to watch die right before your eyes. I am talking about Nashua minor league baseball. Last night I went to the American Defenders of New Hampshire game at Historic Holman Stadium and in front of a crowd of about 150 I saw former all star and major league record holder Eric Gagne pitch.
Gagne was someone who at one time was considered one of the best closers in the game, then injury struck and he was never the same. He pitched for the Red Sox for a short time as well, but those facts alone were not good enough to draw more people than an average night at the Olive Garden. I bought the cheapest seats in the house and had free roaming abilities to move all the way to the first row behind the visiting dugout.
This brought me back to a time when I used to work for this ball team. I was making minimum wage but loved every minute that I was able to work there. On a good night two to three thousand people would be there cheering on their beloved Nashua team, watching local legends like Butch Hobson and Glen Murray.
I am not going to compare Gagne’s appearance to Ricky Henderson’s… actually, I am. When Henderson came to town the house was packed, the energy was fantastic and it was the place to be. The scoreboard was working, and the reason why I start with this is because the scoreboard was turned on but it was like when your computer is on screensaver – it’s on but no one is there. The PA announcer had to keep announcing the score and if it wasn’t for the outfielders putting up their hands to show how many outs there were the game could have gone on all night.
To see a team that I once had the privilege to work for in the state that they are in now was tough to sit through. I heard the players swear when they made a mistake, a conversation from three sections away, and (worst of all) the cheers from the Little League game just outside the stadium completely overshadowed any cheering that took place for the Defenders baseball team. Unless there is some sort of miraculous marketing change in Nashua where they can convince people that they need baseball in that city, Holman Stadium will turn into another baseball memory that will be written about in a book or magazine that people will always say “whatever happened to…” It truly is the end of an era for Nashua minor league baseball.