The dual Knights-Bravehearts ownership: A win-win?
Former Nashua Silver Knights and Worcester Bravehearts manager J.P. Pyne has never been at a loss for humor.
Therefore on Friday morning, after the Worcester Bravehearts collection of four pitchers no-hit the Silver Knights in their season opener at Holy Cross’s Fitton Field, Pyne texted John Creedon, Jr.
“Congratulations on your win,” he said.
Then, a few moments later, he texted Creedon again with this message:
“Sorry for your loss.”
Gotta love it. Creedon, Jr. and his family of course now own both the Knights and Bravehearts after buying the team from Silver Knights owner and founder Drew Weber in March. It just added a new wrinkle to what has been a storied relationship/rivalry between the two franchises since Worcester came into the Futures Collegiate League in 2014.
They of course faced each other in back-to-back FCBL Finals 2016-17) with Nashua winning both times. In March, Creedon was still gnashing his teeth over former and seemingly forever Silver Knight Ryan Sullivan doing damage to his team’s title chances.
Sunday the two teams were attempting to dodge thunderstorms at Holman Stadium in their second scheduled meeting, which Worcester first-year manager Alex Dion affectionately calling “The Creedon Bowl.” Now it really doesn’t impact the baseball end of things for either, but does feel strange. The other night in Worcester, Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett felt it when he saw Creedon and his father John wearing Bravehearts attire and shaking hands with all the players in the home dugout wishing them good luck.
“It was kind of weird,” Neverett said Sunday about how he was thinking then, “because they were doing that to us (Wednesday) night. So it was kind of weird. Then they came over. I told them it was really weird because ‘You’re not wearing red, you’re in your Worcester stuff.’ And they laughed.”
“Yeah, I’m flying the Silver Knights colors today, and Bravehearts players are looking at me funny on their way in, too,” Creedon said Sunday. “There’s awkwardness. But for me, owning two teams is a business decision and that’s what this is, it’s a business venture, and whatever it takes to make each of our teams the most successful organizations they can possibly be.”
Neverett knows it won’t impact the baseball end, except he did tell the Creedons and Worcester/Nashua team president Dave Peterson when he saw they had 40 players ready to go, “Hey, if you cut anybody, you can send them here, if we like them.”
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Many are feeling that the Creedons bought Nashua because Worcester in a couple of years will be fighting for the fan and sponsorship dollar with the Triple A Red Sox affiliate in town. But they’ve maintained they’ve been seeking cross ownership for awhile, modeling their methods after a group that owns multiple franchises in the Northwoods League.
Creedon grudginly admitted it was a little weird when the two teams played each other.
“A little bit,” he said. “Yeah, it does. It was simpler with one team, just rooting for one team.”
But, he’s a hands on owner, and during the game he’s working the game/stadium operations like any of his staffers, not really paying attention to the baseball end. “That’s my focus,” he said. “I understand each community wants to have a winning organizaion on the field, and we try to tee up both coaching staffs with all the tools they need.”
Imagine if these two teams are in the FCBL finals again this year.
“It’s actually a little different playing them,” Neverett said of the other night. “We have the same ownership, and it was a little more relaxing. It wasn’t like it was, when we’re going against J.P. It just felt a little different. It was different there, but it’s not different here. … It’s business as usual now for us, we’re just trying to play better.”
Now other night, an infield pop fell in without a Worcester fielder touching it, and the play was ruled an error.
“To us it was pretty controversial, we feel there was a hit,” Neverett said. “The fielder’s glove was two feet away from the ball.”
Maybe he should’ve complained to his owner. Oh, yeah, that’s right…
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251, or@Telegraph_TomK, or firstname.lastname@example.org