That Nashua Pride connection still alive and well with Rox

Todd Marlin makes the commute from his Nashua area home to Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, Mass.just about every day.

The Brockton Rox general manager has been doing it since 2014. It’s a lot longer commute than when he was the Nashua Pride GM, sometimes even walking over to Holman Stadium.

Sometimes he stays overnight, understandably.

“But not too often,” he said. “Not with kids. Being away as much as I am during the summer, I want to be seen around home in the morning.”

Oh life certainly changes. Back in the early years of the Nashua Silver Knights, former Pride owner Chris English would make a visit or two to Holman, and we all figured he was just being Chris, lover of baseball. Turns out he was scoping out the league and bought the Rox some five years ago. Then he brought in Marlin to be the GM starting with the 2014 season.

“I told him no four times,” Marlin said Monday with chuckle a few hours before the Rox and Silver Knights were to tangle in the FCBL’s one-and-done first round playoff game at Campanelli. “But he kept coming.”

English doesn’t take no for an answer very often. He did everything he could to keep from losing money with the Pride, but in 2004 he finally had to raise the white flag and other league owners came in and took over. Meanwhile, in Brockton, he cleaned up Campanelli a bit with a paint job and a new brick wall behind home plate. He also had to clean up things outside the stadium – “scorched earth” – as Marlin referred to it, left over from indepenedent baseball’s ill effects. The Silver Knights had to do the same after The American Defenders left things defenseless at Holman.

“We went out and got involved in the community, etc.,” Marlin said. “Same things we did in Nashua.”

Monday marked the first time the Silver Knights and Rox met in the playoffs since 2013, when Nashua swept Brockton 2-0 in a best-of-three semis prior to losing to Martha’s Vineyard in the FCBL finals.

The Rox got stunned in the first round one-and-done last year by Worcester, and were hoping to avoid that same fate on Monday night. It’s been good for Nashua to have the Rox as a nearby rival, same as it has been to have Worcester and North Shore (Lynn, Mass.).

The Rox actually finished fourth in average paid attendance at an average of 1,393 a game, while Nashua finished second at a franchise best 1,525. It’s been a slow process for Brockton to make the switch from independent pro baseball to the summer college game, but it’s getting there. The team’s lease had about three more years to go but there are options for almost a decade more. And remember, it’s the town FCBL commissioner Chris Hall grew up in.

Marlin gets excited this time of year. “You have the chance for a championship, or when you get to the point when you get to where you want to be (off the field),” he said. “That makes all the hard work worth it, it all pays off.”

He’s the Rox only real full-time employee. It’s a lot different from the Pride days. It’s still ironic the Nashua connections with the Rox. Remember, Marlin’s assistant GM in Nashua was Andy Crossley, who late became the Rox GM when they were in the independent Can-Am League. Crossley stayed on in an advisory role after English and Marlin took over, helping in the transition.

“I see him every once in a while,” Marlin said. “He has kids now too and he comes to a few games.”

And, says Marlin, English still comes in once in awhile to take batting practice with the team. “Still the same,” he said with another chuckle.

It’s funny, there were whispers Marlin might try for the Silver Knights GM job last winter that went to Rick Muntean, as a return to Holman made sense. But he never really pursued it out of loyalty to English and the desire to continue the job in Brockton.

“This is the hardest job I’ve ever had in baseball,” he said. “Everything is so condensed. With the Pride, they would go on a 10-day road trip and you’d get a little break. Here it’s like three or four games a week (at home). Not really much of a break at all.”

Someone was going to have a break after Monday for the season. Marlin’s car could probably use a break, don’t you think?

Tom King can be reached at 594-1251,tking@nashuatelegraph.com, or@Telegraph _TomK.