Posts Tagged ‘Ken Cail’

Nashua Pride Opening Weekend Pictures

It only took a week, but I finally managed to get some pictures from last week’s Nashua Pride games that my wife and I attended.  Big props to Mrs. OMDQ, who downloads these from the camera because I’m too technologically illiterate to do it myself.

Looking at the field for the first time, Joey appeared a little unsure of what he was actually seeing.  One of my favorite parts of being a dad is watching him look at things for the first time and trying to imagine what is going on inside that little brain.

The first game we went to, Opening Night, featured a pregame ceremony in which members of the Pride team and staff received 2007 Can-Am League championship rings.  The first person introduced was former PA announcer Ken Cail, who served in that capacity for the team’s first ten seasons before moving down the highway to do radio broadcasts for the Lowell Spinners (A-Red Sox).

On hand to receive his ring was Olmo Rosario, the 2007 Can-Am League’s Most Valuable Player.  While he was standing in line, a fan in the next section raced around trying to set up an “Ol-mo” chant that seemed like it was left over from last season.  Didn’t really work out well.  Olmo is currently playing for the Connecticut Defenders in the Eastern League, hitting .319 with three homeruns, 17 RBI and 10 steals. 

After the ring ceremony was complete, they raised the championship banner on the flagpole in right field.  My wife managed to snap a picture just as the wind kicked up and made the banner wave, just like banners are supposed to do.

Game 2 of the season.  Joey hadn’t quite recovered from Opening Night.

Prior to the game, longtime manager had his number 17 retired by the team.  He was given a framed jersey and his number was hung on the wall below the press box.  As you can see, I got a picture of one of those things.

Problem was, I meant to get a picture on Opening Night and never did, so these were taken pregame, before Butch’s number was added.  Next time I go, I’ll get a shot of his number, which actually hangs directly over one of the tunnels. The numbers on this side, on the left of the press box if you’re standing with your back to home plate, belong to Joe Grahe, Milt Cuyler, Felix Jose, and Glenn Murray.  The first three used Nashua as a springboard back to the major leagues.  Murray was a longtime fan favorite who broke the Atlantic League record for homeruns with the Pride.

On this side: Mike Easler, the first manager in 1998; Curtis Pride, who used to spend about a month with the team every spring before some team realized they should have signed him already; and some guy named D’Avilia.  I wanna say his first name is Vic, but I’m not entirely sure, or why he’s up there.

And finally, we need to include a photo of the Pride mascot, Stitches…or, as I like to call him, Mr. Met North.

A Lovely Night For A Ballgame

Last night, my wife and I took our ten-month-son, Joey, to his first professional baseball game, a Can-Am League tilt between the Brockton Rox and the hometown Nashua Pride.  We weren’t sure if we’d make it, considering the rain showers that peppered the area during the afternoon, but things cleared up as game time approached and we were able to settle in for a nice (albeit cold) evening at the ballpark.

Watching my son look around Holman Stadium for the first time was both awesome and hilarious to see.  I’ll have pictures tomorrow, hopefully – you could just tell he was thinking, “Alright, what in the hell is this place, and why have they brought me here?”  I had high hopes of his first exposure to the crack of the bat – maybe he would instantly perk up, eyes totally focused on the field, and I would know at that moment that my boy was SUPPOSED to be a ballplayer – but alas, it was not to be.  Joey’s first reaction to the crack of the bat was to continue staring down the teenage girl sitting next to my wife.  A little ladies man, that one.

As shocking as it was for Joey to see Holman Stadium for the first time, it was twice as insane to enter the ballpark and not hear Ken Cail’s booming voice over the PA.  As noted here some time ago, Cail, the team’s longtime PA announcer, left the position during the offseason to pursue an opportunity as a radio announcer for the Lowell Spinners, Single A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.  Ken was on hand to receive a championship ring during a pregame ceremony to commemmorate the Pride’s 2007 Can-Am League championship, and I ran into him at one point before the game.  He sounded excited to be calling the Spinners games, acknowledging that it was a good opportunity for him, but it’s still sad to go to the ballpark and hear someone else’s voice. 

(That voice, by the way, now belongs to Woody Woodland, who I spoke with once or twice a few years ago and am probably treating unfairly by comparing him to Ken.  It’s not Woody’s fault he has to follow in the footsteps of the greatest PA announcer in minor league history.  And no, I’m not just saying that because I told Ken about this blog and he might read this.  Seriously, I’m not.)

One of the things I tried to keep an eye on through the night (well, through the six innings we stayed, anyway) was the promotional schedule, which was surprisingly light, even when you take into account that it was Opening Night.  The team only ran two on-field promos that I saw, a sponsored bicycle race and a pizza toss.  In all honesty, I didn’t see the pizza toss – I think I was in the team store at the time.  My wife actually texted me to ask if I had the camera because she knew I wanted pictures of stuff like that.  She’s a good woman, that one.  They also did another between-innings thing with the mascot dancing to a song on top of the dugout, which was sort of cliched and unimpressive.  I’ll be interested to watch throughout the season to see if the paucity of promotions was actually planned or if they plan on bumping their efforts up on nights when larger crowds are expected (about 1,500 announced last night, maybe 500 or so actually on hand).

I’ll have some pictures of the ballpark and festivities tomorrow, hopefully.  We’re going again tonight, when the Pride honor former longtime manager Butch Hobson by retiring his number 17 before the game.  Hobson left the team after last year’s championship and is back in the Atlantic League as manager of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.

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.