Silver Knights GM has lofty future goal for franchise

Telegraph file photo New Nashua Silver Knights general manager Rick Muntean has set a goal for the franchise to be the top drawing summer collegiate baseball team in the country in the coming years.

NASHUA – It wasn’t just the taste of spring the last couple of days that has new Nashua Silver Knights general manager Rick Muntean feeling optimistic about the future.

It’s the local market in general, one after five weeks on the job Muntean is enamored with.

“There’s a lot of very encouraging things,” Muntean said on Wednesday. “One is the size. I had no idea (the area) was this huge.”

And that has led Muntean to setting a very huge goal for at some point during his tenure running the Silver Knights: National prominence.

“There’s potential to lead the country in summer collegiate baseball in attendance,” he said. “That’s going to be my goal. We have the perfect market for it. I’m really encouraged. I’m going to go all out to do it, at some point during my time here as general manager, which I hope is a long time.”

Realistic or not, Muntean sees the potential for the Silver Knights to better even what they did last year, which was a record nightly attendance average of 1,460 in yet another championship season. Part of Muntean’s optimism is also based on past practice, as he’s discovered after his five weeks on the job.

“One of the things that’s really evident is the great job done before me by the guys like Ronnie Wallace to Jon Goode,” Muntean said. “They all did a helluva job. My job right now is not to screw it up.”

Muntean has tried to acclimate himself as quickly as possible. He tries to attend as many local events as possible, and has had several meetings with key people, including city officials, business leaders, etc. He has met with Park Recreation Superintendent Nick Caggiano and Nashua Mayor James Donchess.

“When I met the mayor I found out his father is from my hometown of Youngstown, Ohio,” Muntean said. “This is going to be a beautiful marriage.”

He’s also met with Wallace, spoke with former assistant general manager Cheryl Lindner, and, as one would assume, had a sit down with Silver Knights VP of Player Personnel and field manager B.J. Neverett.

“He and I had a meeting that was supposed to be brief,” Muntean said. “It ended up being four hours, because we’re both baseball nuts. It wasn’t all storytelling, we talked about a lot of baseball related things. We’re going to get along great.”

Muntean has a few other thoughts on what he wants to do during what, as he reiterated, is a long tenure in the Silver Knights front office.

First, he wants to develop group sales into more of an asset.

“We need to clearly define and shore up the group area,” he said. “That’s one thing I clearly want to focus on. We want to sell the picnic area and the suites, want to get pushing through and sell the heck out of them. We’ll do it with a lot of interns.”

Muntean, like Wallace did before him, feels there’s still untapped potential at Holman Stadium, especially out in left field. It’s just a matter of working it out with the city, fans, etc.

Here’s why: Muntean tells the story of a franchise in Madison, Wisconsin, that failed in professional baseball but enjoyed a sudden collegiate league turnaround as the Madison Mallards.

“They were in the Midwest League, and went right into the tank,” he said. “They tried independent baseball, and were drawing 100 a game. Last summer they led collegiate summer baseball with about 6,000 fans a game.

“How? They built a deck out in right field, and they’ve added to it. They have a capacity of 1,100 people and they get it every night. That kind of stuff works.”

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The Silver Knights are still looking for host families for the 2018 season. Those interested in housing a player from Memorial Day to mid-August should call the club at 718-8883….

The team has several fan-type promotions going on its website, including championship ring purchase, baseball camp (July 9-13) registration, Kids Club membership, etc….

Reminder: The season opens up with road games at Worcester (Wednesday, May 30) and Brockton (Thursday, May 31) before the home opener vs. North Shore on Friday, June 1. The FCBL is down to seven teams this year with Seacoast taking a year hiatus while working on getting a new stadium in Dover and Wachusett has folded.