Love for baseball driving Weber
Drew Weber remembers when he was a villain in Nashua, starting minor league Double A franchise in Manchester over a decade ago that would eventually spell the end of the Nashua Pride.
Then he remembers when he was the villain in Manchester with ownership partner issues, etc.
"And at the same time, I was the villain in Lowell," the soon-to-be former owner of the Class A Lowell Spinners said on Friday. "I was the villain everywhere."
But he’s no longer a villain at Holman Stadium. In fact, he’s a hero, he rescued baseball, gave the city back a form of summer baseball entertainment in the Futures Collegiate League franchise known as the Nashua Silver Knights.
They started Holman Year Six on Friday night, and Weber was on hand and looked happy and relaxed, chatting with city officials and Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett. He’s still the owner, even though he’s close to the sign of a pen away from no longer owning the Spinners after announcing in early September he was putting both clubs on the market.
"I’m having fun," he said. "I’m having more fun than I’ve had in a long time. I’m more involved, I have an opportunity to be involved in everything. Before if I didn’t like something, I’d just be shaking my head a little bit. If something comes up, I blame me now."
That’s been the word around the Silver Knights offices all spring, that Weber has been heard from much more than before. After all, his right hand men, former team president and vice president Tim Bawmann and Jon Goode have moved on. The buck stops with the owner, who’s right hand man now is general manager Ronnie Wallace.
Of course, how much longer will Weber be the owner?
"I’m playing it by ear," Weber said. "I’m having fun, that’s the important thing. Before I didn’t feel it was important for me to be in Nashua all the time, but I’m now communicating a lot with Cheryl (assistant GM Lindner) and Ronnie. That’s fun for me now."
Here’s the thing: Weber may eventually sell, but he has no sense of urgency to do so. If the right deal comes along, fine. If it doesn’t, he’s just as happy being the owner of the Nashua Silver Knights and continuing as one of the founding fathers of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.
You see, Weber likes the genuine good feelings that have been around the Nashua franchise, just as he enjoyed it in Lowell. That good feeling was continuing on Friday night as fans just kept coming in over an hour after the team’s game with North Shore had started. You get the feeling he was never really happy owning a Double A franchise in Manchester, which is why he got out a while ago.
He wasn’t even that happy being around Double A minor leaguers. He felt the younger players in Lowell, and the college players in Nashua, have a better, well, attitude.
"Those kids are happy, happy, happy," Weber said. "They enjoy being here, you can tell."
Weber was told once that players never forget their first experience in organized baseball. That’s one of the reasons that the Silver Knights players get treated like pros, even though they are college kids.
"The kids in Nashua may never play professional baseball," Weber said, "but they’ll always remember their experience in Nashua. I don’t care what kind of players they are, they’re helping us and the league."
Weber says his relationship with the city of Nashua has been great, but the fact remains the Knights do need some help. Are a new scoreboard with video capability and enhanced concession area luxury items? Maybe in some eyes, but it’s all about enhancing the fan/customer experience. Holman on big nights like Friday can be one big long line.
And what will become of the relationship between the Silver Knights and the Spinners? Weber has had a good relationship with new owner-to-be in Lowell David Heller. "I can’t tell you for sure that (it will continue) with David," Weber said. "But I think it will."
Weber has always been one for the fun, outside-the-box thing. A helicopter on Friday night dropped off the new on-field host, James Shaw, an 18-year-old college student from jolly ol’ England, complete with the accent.Welcome to Nashua, right?
Look, Weber won’t own the Silver Knights forever. Maybe not even beyond this year. But he’s got some great reasons to try to stay.
"No matter what happens in Nashua, baseball, as they used to say (on Saturday Night Live) has been berry, berry good to me," he said with a chuckle. "They (the Silver Knights) make me feel young."
And when you feel young, you’re supposed to have fun.
Tom King can be reached at 594-6468, firstname.lastname@example.org., or @Telegraph_TomK.