A few Knights golden nuggets to get you thinking Silver
In another week, we’ll be thinking Silver.
Nashua Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett will be welcoming anywhere from 25-30 players. The interns are already back at Holman Stadium, the office is buzzing and was well lit with people doing work at the end of the Nashua North-Bishop Guertin game the other night. It’s that time.
So here are a few intersting anecdotes to get you in a Silver Knights mood:
–Holman could have some very interesting guests this summer. Bentley College first baseman Ryan Berardino is the grandson of both former Boston Red Sox right fielder Dwight Evans and former Lowell Spinners manager, Red Sox coach and player development guru Dick Berardino. Silver Knights/St. Mary pitcher Casey Candiotti is the son of former Major League knuckleballer (think Cleveland) Tom Candiotti. Evans, of course, was one of the best defensive outfielders of his era in the 1970s in into the 1980s; Candiotti was best known for his time with the Indians, but he also pitched for the Brewers, Dodgers, A’s, and Blue Jays. He’s currently a television and radio analyst for the Arizona Diamondbacks broadcasts. There’s a chance he could be around at some point, possibly for the FCBL All-Star Game at Holman on July 17. And of course Mets assistant GM (and former Toronto GM) J.P. Ricciardi has been to Holman a few times to see his sons play for Worcester. One is expected to be on the Bravehearts roster this summer.
—The June schedule stinks if you’re a team executive looking for big crowds. Thank goodness for the Friday June 1 Holman Opening Night and two Thursdays and Saturdays in back-to-back weeks to end the month.
The rest of June? Three Sundays, three Mondays, two Tuesdays (although one is the usual big 11 a.m. Education Day Game ) and two Wednesdays. Thank goodness for the Knights there are three Fridays in July . No wonder general manager Rick Muntean called it “the worst schedule I’ve ever had as a general manager.”
Over half the team’s home schedule – 15 dates – is in June. July and the first week of August has a combined 13.
Also, the Knights will be away from Holma for nearly a two week period. Their last home game before the All-Star break is Friday, July 13; afer the break they have an incredible six straight road games at all the other parks – at Pittsfield, Worcester, Brockton, Bristol, North Shore and Pittsfield, and aren’t back home until Thurday July 26. The ironic thing is they tended to play better on the road than at home last season.
—-Who won’t be at Holman this season?Well, it will be the first season in six years that Ryan Sullivan won’t be on the roster at some point. He’s been wrapping up his college career in the NCAA Division II tournament this weekend with Southern New Hampshire University. Because of the FCBL’s high school graduate rule, college redshirting, and transfers, he was able to play summer collegiate baseball for five years, and all but a couple of months of that was spent with Nashua. It couldn’t have ended any better for him than with a title at Holman last August.
The other player who will be missed actually was expected back at Holman this summer on the Silver Knights roster – outfielder/relief pitcher Cam Cruz. Cruz, who was a playoff hero with his bat two years ago and last year with his arm coming out of the bullpen, broke his ankle sliding into second in a game for Eastern Michigan against Ohio State. “He was good,” Neverett said.
Actually, Cruz was originally on the roster of Winnapasakee of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Neverett spotted that, called him during the winter and said, “Are you kidding me? You should think about that.” Cruz did, got his release, returned to the Silver Knights roster but now can’t play. The injury occurred just a week after he had re-upped with the Knights. Ouch.
“It wasn’t the broken ankle that put him out for the summer, it was the surgery,” Neverett said. “It was worse than they thought.” Too bad. Hard to forget Cruz’s homer vs. Seacoast in the 2016 semis and then his pitching out of the bullpen in last year’s playoffs. He was one of the big reasons the team went a perfect 5-0 in the postseason.
–Brockton will have a new field boss this year, manager Dan Gusovsky. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because he played for the Silver Knights in 2012. He had begun the year with Wachusett, but the Knights were desperate for catching help, and he had played previously with Nashua in 2011. Neverett asked the Dirt Dawgs when playing in Leominster one night that season what it would take to get Gusovsky. At first the Dawgs balked but then after some convincing the Andover, Mass.native, who played his collegiate career at Wheaton and is an assistant coach at Swarthmore (Pa.) College, was a member of the Knights. The price? Three dozen FCBL game balls – the Dawgs were running low – and a good post-game meal the next time the team played at Holman. “That was my first trade,” Neverett said with a grin.
Tom King can be reached at 594-1251, or@Telegraph_TomK.firstname.lastname@example.org