Silver Knights owner Weber proving he’s anything but absentee
He’s all in.
The public perception of Nashua Silver Knights owner Drew Weber the past couple of years may not have fully indicated that.
Probably because there wasn’t much of one anyway.
Weber is always best known for his former ownership of the Lowell Spinners, which became one of the top minor league baseball draws in the country during his time there. It looked as if when he sold the Spinners that his time owning the Silver Knights would be numbered.
Living in New York city, he’s been perceived as basically absentee, perhaps more because of a great trust of the front office tandem of Ronnie Wallace and Cheryl Lindner before they left last November. He’d put in an appearance for the season opener and that would about be it.
But the decision not to retain general manager Rick Muntean for the 2019 season, made very quickly after the 2018 Silver Knights campaign, shows otherwise. Weber is a buisnessman, and goes by the numbers. And he didn’t like the numbers.
“I’m into it,” Weber said of his Silver Knights ownership. “This was a frustrating season for me. Year before, it was not frustrating for me. I enjoyed it. It should be fun for me.
“I think this one (2019 season) will be fun again, because I have seen the difficulties and I don’t want them again. I’m going to make sure to the best of my ability that they don’t happen again.”
There’s nothing absentee about that, is there.
Weber, who will no doubt be the point man in the expected lease renewal, is clearly more plugged in than perception may have shown. A lot is going on in the Futures Collegiate League. He knows that Seacoast Mavericks owner Dave Hoyt owns land in the Dover area that he hopes to build a stadium on, mainly because Weber has been involved in some way he wouldn’t elaborate on (likely financially).
“That (building a stadium) will take time,” he said. “But it will happen. And Dave is looking to field a team somewhere to keep himself going.”
Weber doesn’t say those things without knowledge and conviction. He said he wasn’t happy with having just seven teams this past season.
“I wasn’t happy with that number to begin the season with, it just fell into place that way,” he said. “It could change.”
He said he felt awful for Worcester owner John Creedon, Jr., who will have to contend with the Red Sox Triple A team moving there from Pawtucket in three years.
“It’s a couple of years away, let’s see what will happen,” Weber said. “We have time. John’s a very smart guy. …It takes a lot to make a Triple A team successful. It doesn’t take a lot to make a team in the Futures League successful.
“But (if revenues decline), you have to start cutting people’s salaries, all of those things start happening.”
Weber clearly missed the relationship he had with GM Wallace and assistant GM/financial director Lindner. It wasn’t the same with Muntean, whom he didn’t even meet in person until Opening Night (he was hired after an extensive phone interview). That won’t happen this time, you can be sure.
Weber wants to meet with the remaining staff in a luncheon setting in a couple of weeks.
“I want to get ther input on the season, the pros, the cons, suggestions,” he said. “Which we’ve never really done before.”
Weber said he is glad the fan experience wasn’t really, in his opinion, impacted by any of his front office dissatisfaction.
“That’s very important,” he said. “The fan experience is the most important. My business experience is one thing I know I can handle. I want the fan experience to be better. If was OK this year, it’s going to be better next year.”
That’s the thing he always made sure was the case with the Spinners, when he was an active participant.
Now remember, Weber may eventually still sell the Silver Knights down the road; the guess is if he does, it will be to some kind of local group.
“If it’s not me (as the owner), as I’ve always said, it’s going to be someone who will be great for Nashua. Better for Nashua than me.”
Still, Weber doesn’t anticipate that happening anytime soon, affirming that when the first pitch is thrown for the 2019 season, he will still be the owner of the Nashua Silver Knights.
“I’m sure that I will,” he said.
All is a reminder that the Silver Knights are still Drew Weber’s team, and he wants them to continue be Nashua’s team as well.
Tom King can be reached at 594-1251,firstname.lastname@example.org, or@Telegraph _TomK.