Time to celebrate Derby Day with some tids and bits

After being consumed by all things NFL/Patriots draft a week ago, here’s the return of some tids and bits on Derby Day while hoping Holman Stadium will dry out so we can get the Nashua North-South baseball game in today at 1 p.m. as this spring of our discontent continues:

— We love the Battle of the Bridge, and one of the best things the Nashua athletic department has done over the past few years is have the kids from the city youth leagues take part in the festivities. The Nashua Youth Soccer League did it in the fall, having a game at halftime of the North-South soccer doubleheader, the Nashua Blast lacrosse had kids run out with the varsity players for the girls and boys soccer games this past Thursday, and during a lot of the winter Nashua Junior Biddy boys and girls were out playing at halftime of varsity hoop games. Great stuff, great community involvement and for the kids it’s a huge thrill.

—– You hope the Manchester Monarchs, which are currently up for sale, are back next season. You also hope that, down 3-1 in their ECHL playoff series to the Newfoundland Growlers heading into last (Friday) night, that their potential last game wouldn’t have been in the Rinks of Exeter. Nothing against that fine facility, but the Monarchs, who are up for sale, were once the top drawing minor league hockey team in the country some 15 years ago.

As the story goes, Friday night’s game had to be moved out of Manchester’s SNHU Arena due to an event already long booked by the facility, and with a 2-3-2 format for the series with Newfoundland due to the lengthy travel (St. John’s not the easiest place to get to), there evidently was no real way to switch cities without extensive travel. The worst case scenario for this franchise’s history would be for them to have lost, and then be sold to new owners who would move them out of the region.

But it’s obviously a sign of just how far things have fallen in over a decade , when it could basically move to a much smaller facility for a playoff game. Preseason games are different, they’ve played in rinks all over the area in exhibitions. This never would have happened in their AHL heyday. Let’s hope this isn’t their final run.

— Eyebrows were certainly raised this past week when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers extended a minicamp tryout to University of Albany QB Vincent Testaverde. He’s the son, as you may have guessed, of former Bucs/Jets/Patriots QB Vinny Testaverde. He threw for 1,714 yards, 11 TDs and completed just over 50 percent of his passes; he went from Texas Tech, to Miami, to one year at Albany. The name had to help, which is a shame when Nashua South/UNH QB Trevor Knight did not get that call, although anything can still happen.

—- The independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, the league the Nashua Pride were a member of from 1998-2005, may be returning to New England in two years. The object of league grand pubah Frank Boulton’s eye?Why Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium, of course. There’s also another group that wants to keep affiliated minor league ball there. Remember, the PawSox are moving to Worcester for the 2021 season.

The Atlantic League is also becoming a guinea pig for Major League baseball. MLB is trying out different ways to speed up the game in the ALPB. For example, radar tracking to assist umpires in balls and strikes; NO mound visits by anyone unless a pitching change is made or there’s an injury; first, second and third base size from 15 square inches to 18; NO shifts – two infielders have to be on each side of second; time between innings from 2:05 down to 1:45; and the distance from the mound rubber to home plate increased by two feet, but only for the second half. Let’s keep an eye on how this all works out.

— You see New England Patriot decals/signs on cars all the time. Well did you know that there is a Patriots decal you can now legally put on your license plate in New Hampshire? It’s actually due to a bill NH Governer Chris Sununu signed this past fall. Massachusetts (2005) and Rhode Island (2010) beat New Hampshire to it.

—- Yes, it’s Derby Day, and always a tradition in this space to pick the winner, eschewing the favorites for the best name. How can anyone go against Win, Win, Win? It’s running at 15-1 odds. And it’s supposed to be a mudbowl again at Churchill Downs.

See you in the winner’s circle.

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