Silver Knights front office stil in transition

Staff file photo by TOM KING Nashua Silver Knights owner Drew Weber, shown with manager B.J. Neverett last season, says he will likely name a new general manager in the near future.

NASHUA – It’s been fairly quiet on the Nashua Silver Knights/Futures Collegiate Baseball League off-season front, but that is likely to change soon.

Silver Knights owner Drew Weber has yet to name a general manager to replace Rick Muntean after one season, but says he will make a decision within the next 10 days or so.

“As soon as possible,” Weber said. “Very soon. … We’re still exploring how to handle it. That’s critical (to finalize the front office).”

Right now, the only staffer manning the Silver Knights office, according to Weber, is the team’s director of finance, Victoria Cookson.

Is she a candidate for the overall GM position?

“She will be in some way as we shape our future,” Weber said. “We’re still exploring if we want a Ronnie-Cheryl type of thing or go with someone to handle all the other little things.

We’re looking at a few possibilities.”

Weber was referring to the setup of previous seasons before last year when then-general manager Ronnie Wallace and assistant GM Cheryl Lindner acted more or less as co-GMs, Wallace handling a lot of the operational issues while Lindner handled community relationships and, just as important, team finances. The pair both left the franchise a year ago this time. Muntean wasn’t hired until January, which may have set things back a bit, which is why Weber wants to make a faster move.

Cookson has in fact contacted some selected season ticket holders to schedule a focus group meeting in the stadium suites for sometime next week.

Weber held his own focus group session with the summer staff/interns who were still in the area a few weeks ago.

“There were a lot of notes taken, it was great,” he said. “The kids were there to talk, and they were encouraged to talk and every one of them did. I didn’t want to hear the positive stuff. This is the kind of thing we should do every year, we did it in Lowell (when he owned the Class A Spinners).”

What’s Weber looking for a new general manager to do to improve the product, besides control spending?

“I want to see better entertainment,” he said, which certainly was a theme of his when he owned the Spinners. “What’s important is the fan experience.”

He reiterated he wasn’t happy with last season, especially the bottom line, despite a franchise best attendance.

“Look, it was my fault,” he said. “This will be my problem (to solve).”

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One of the first things Weber will tackle after hiring a general manager is to finalize a lease extension for the team. Earlier this week he received a proposal from the city, and expects a renewal for three years to be a formality. The lease/concessions agreement expires the end of the calendar year.

“I’m looking it over now,” he said. “I don’t see a problem.”

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For those who wonder how committed Weber is to the team and the league, he has been named Futures League treasurer.

“I don’t know if that’s a promotion or not,” he said with a chuckle.

League officials are scheduled to hold a conference call on Friday to discuss various important issues, which will likely be a prelude to a schedule being released.

But there are some important things on the horizon:

One, how many teams will there be? Rumors have been strong that co-champion and one of the original teams, Martha’s Vineyard, is looking to leave the FCBL and it’s “for profit” business model for the older New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL).

If that happens – the NECBL held its annual meeting last Sunday – then unless another team returns or is added the league will be down to six teams, which may raise a lot of eyebrows. Seacoast and Wachusett took last year off while still paying dues for last season, paving the way for a possible return.

Weber couldn’t comment on the Martha’s Vineyard situation, but said he’s not concerned

“We’re not able to discuss that, there are all kinds of stuff going on,” he said. “But, but, but – I think the league will be fine.

“The most important thing for me is that what we do have for sure are good teams with good ownership. There’s a lot of common sense in the group.”

If the Sharks do bolt for the NECBL and the Seacoast Mavericks franchise does not return or relocate, Nashua would be the only remaining team from the FCBL’s inaugural 2011 season. The fourth team, Torrington (Conn.) folded

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Another issue: The future of commissioner Chris Hall, who has been in charge of the league since its inception. There have been strong rumors that for family reasons Hall is considering stepping down from his role as league commissioner, while still aiding the league in player procurement.

Weber, again, refused to comment on Hall’s future. “You’d have to talk to Chris about that,” he said.

Hall, a former Nashua Pride general manager, was not able to be reached for comment, but a league source, who also would not confirm any change at the top, did say that if there was ever a change, “Hypothetically, we’d likely have Chris working for us in some capacity, he has certain talents.”