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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It’ll be Silver Knights playing at Holman

NASHUA – The Nashua entry in the fledgling Futures Collegiate Baseball League now has a name, with a silver lining to go with it.

Introducing the Nashua Silver Knights, named thanks to a vote of Nashua fourth graders and a little tweaking on the part of the team.

The students actually voted for “Knights”, but to avoid confusion with a local AAU baseball team of the same name, the club added “Silver” to the name.

In any case, there’s now an identity, as well as a home date schedule, as the team, managed operationally by the Class A Lowell Spinners, will have its first Holman game on Saturday, June 11. But now that they have a name, the marketing will commence.

“It’s going to be great for us to market,” Lowell Spinners Vice President of Communications Jon Goode said. “There’s so many themes we can do. We’re drafting up a rough logo as we speak, we like the idea of being a gatekeeper in the theme of the Gate City.”

The name “Knights” won by an overwhelming tally, with 261 votes, followed by Fighting Pheasants (85), Milldogs (77), Fighting Fireflies (63), Newts (55) and Narwhals (22).

The city’s fourth grade class will be given two complimentary tickets each and will march in a parade around the stadium at a home date.

Also, two area residents who submitted the name for the vote, James Desjardins and Jeff Steiner, will be guests of the team for the June 11 home opener and have the opportunity to throw out a ceremonial first pitch.

The team was originally set to go with Knights, but word was leaking out late last week and it reached officials of the AAU team, who strongly urged the club to reconsider.

The team didn’t want to negate the vote of the fourth graders so the name was tweaked.

“We went with what we thought was a good compromise,” Goode said. “We each wanted our own identity.”

The league has not finalized a schedule but the Silver Knights have their home dates pretty much etched in stone.

They are still discussing game times, particularly whether to play Sunday day or night games.

The club is still working that out with the Park-Recreation Department, Goode said.

Meanwhile, the team has already begun reaching out to the community for ideas, holding a recent focus group meeting.

Goode said three key things came out of the focus group: One, that Holman Stadium is an important community site; two, that interaction with the community is important; and three, that the team keep ticket and concession prices low.

“Definitely they feel that Holman is their pride and joy,” Goode said. “There’s no doubt about it.

“The other thing is that community is very important. They want us to be part of the community. They want the team to listen to the community, not the team dictate to the community ‘This is how we’re doing things’

“They want us to do the things we say we’re going to do, and have the team adapt to the community and not the other way around.”

And, Goode added, keep ticket prices and concessions low, which is what he says the team intends to do.

“Affordability is a key issue,” he said.