It’s a banner day: Nashua, New Hampshire made Deadspin. Wheee.
For those who don’t like clicking links, the city of Nashua locked the American Defenders of New Hampshire out of Holman Stadium yesterday afternoon due to a number of unpaid bills. The team and city could not reach an agreement on an acceptable payment plan, so the few remaining home dates have been rescheduled as road games.
As the title suggests, the situation calls to mind the old Pennsylvania Road Warriors from the Atlantic League, who played entire seasons on the road in the early 2000s. I don’t recall the exact problem with the Road Warriors – lack of funding to build a stadium, maybe – but that’s not the point. The point is that I remember what those teams were like: full of young guys who were willing to play for next to nothing, managed by one of the nicest guys in the game, and they almost never won.
You’d think I would be sad about what appears to be the death of professional baseball in Nashua, but I’m really not. Dan Duquette can blame it on the people of the city all he wants – the fact of the matter is that the ownership did an extremely poor job of a) selling the team to potential fans and b) understanding the situation they were getting themselves into. They wanted a quick, easy buck, and when it didn’t work that way (because people in the city have been burned often in recent years and needed to be won over), they threw in the towel and refused to pay, hoping to make the mayor and the people of the city the bad guys who just wouldn’t support their team.
It was inevitable that we would get to this point. For at least two, maybe three years now, Nashua baseball has been an exercise in futility, with owners who seemed to think that insulting potential fans was the best way to draw them to the ballpark. Surprisingly, it didn’t work. The newest group, Duquette and Company, wanted us to believe that they weren’t like the rest, that they meant what they said and said what they meant. But in the end, as WGAM’s Rich Keefe pointed out yesterday, “It was just lipstick on a pig.”
The only thing that really bothers me is that this will renew the chorus of the idiotic minority who claim that professional baseball “stole Holman Stadium from the kids,” because they used to play high school football and baseball there before the Pride arrived. Never mind the fact that the presence of the Pride resulted directly in renovations being made to refurbish and somewhat modernize the ballpark, or that a beautiful new football stadium, Stellos Stadium, was built down the street from Nashua High School South, or that in the years I worked there (2003 and 2004) there were over 130 non-Pride events at Holman. Why worry about facts?
Oh well. Professional baseball in Nashua is finally gone, probably never to return (unless they can further improve the stadium, pay off the Red Sox to waive territory rights, and lure a low-level affiliated team to the city; oh yeah, it’s that easy). Sure, the NECBL might drop a franchise in there, and there will be plenty of high school baseball to be seen, but if you want to see the pros play (and say what you will about the quality of the Defenders, they WERE professionals; probably in the A range, but professionals nonetheless), I don’t know what to tell you.
Oh,wait, yes I do…
There’s a game in Manchester tonight.