Neverett working the phones not just for players

So, you want to go out and put together a roster for a summer collegiate league baseball team?

It might help if you have a real estate license or work for a housing authority.

It’s the most unknown part of what goes into running a team like the Nashua Silver Knights, and can definitely impact what happens on the field.

Simply put, the team with the hosts may win the most.

Or at least get the best players.

“That’s the hardest part for me,” Nashua VP of Player Personnel/field manager B. J. Neverett said of finding families to host players.

It’s a fine line. A lot of the players are from the New England area, so there’s no need to house them. But if you look at the roster Neverett has put together so far, there’s maybe two-third from a driveable distance so they can live at home. The other third, well, you don’t want to tell them to pitch a tent but you always fear they may have to.

That’s what goes into it. A college coach will sometimes assume that a player’s housing is all taken care of. Until it’s not – and then there’s a problem.

The request to yours truly comes from the club every year. “Hey, we need host families, can you put something in the paper,” the front office will say and Neverett will second the motion.

Sure, yep, and it often slips past the now-declining memory bank until another couple of reminders.

Well this year, Neverett is doing more than reminding. What is now known is it can be the difference between getting those players who can make a difference and those who can’t. It’s a remarkable aspect of the player procurement world that most would not even think about.

“I’ve been calling Kentucky (as in Univesity of) on some kids,” Neverett said. “But I’m being honest with the guys. I can take them, I have (roster) room, but I don’t know where they’re going to live. What if May 28 rolls around and I don’t have a house for them? What do I do then? I’ve screwed them.

“Kentucky’s trying to give me a high school kid – I have one spot left (for 2019 high school grads, the limit is five), but I don’t have a place for him to live.”

So Neverett’s job now is almost as a housing agent.

“That’s all I’m doing now,” he said. “I was on the phone the day before with somebody. … I’ve even had people I know say they’ll take somebody and then it’s “Well, I don’t know. …”

Now don’t mistake this as trying to encourage you to house a college player for the summer, from Memorial day to the second week in August. That’s a personal decision anyone who is a die hard fan with the team would have to make, and certainly not everyone wants a stranger in their house. This is to show you another aspect of the player part of the whole summer college baseball business, and it is a business in the Futures Collegiate League, make no mistake.

Of the 11 host families from last year, Neverett has four back, and he’s gained one.

The ideal number is usually 15.

“It’s hard to believe,” he said, “we can find 15 families in Nashua to host players.”

New Silver Knights owner John Creedon is offering special incentives, such as complimentary season tickets, a couple of nights in the suites, etc., as an incentive. That you’ll have to check with the Silver Knights office.

Meanwhile, Neverett is working the phones.

“It’s taking up most of my time,” he said.

No word if a real estate book is on his desk.

Tom King may be reached at 594-1251,