Knights hope to see more fans in stands
NASHUA – Jon Good, the Nashua Silver Knights vice president in charge of marketing, stood on the catwalk just outside the press box last Wednesday, a beautiful night at Holman Stadium.
"I like watching from here," he said. "I can see how fast the parking lot fills up.
"I know it’s a bad feeling for people driving around the parking lot looking for a spot, but it feels good that on a Wednesday that they have to go out on to the street to find a place to park."
The Silver Knights drew just over 800 last Wednesday night, and the park felt vibrant. And the Silver Knights, after a strong first three games that included an Opening Night fireworks show, a Saturday night appearance by New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, and a Tuesday Education Day matinee that featured local schools, hit the early mid-week wall with two Tuesday night games and one Wednesday. They also suffered through a small Sunday crowd a couple of weeks ago on a day when both Nashua high schools were graduating.
But, despite all that, they are fifth in the 10-team league in attendance, averaging 1,246 fans a night. Worcester is killing it once again averaging 2,128, while Pittsfield is third at 1,638 and Brockton fourth at 1,374. The surprise may be North Shore (Lynn, Mass.), which barely drew over 1,000 a year ago but this year is averaging 1,854 for seven dates.
But here’s the thing: After their traditional big crowds early, the Silver Knights should make hay in July and August, with four Thursdays, four Fridays, and three Saturdays left.
"We finish up stronger at the end, which we’re not disappointed with because (last year) we finished stronger in attendance," Goode said. "You’re never going through a whole season Thursday, Friday, Saturday. You’re never going to do that."
One of the Silver Knights’ big nights has always been their Thursday Dollar Drink nights (for beer and soda). Last year, with a couple in June, attendance started slow – until July. This year the team’s first Thursday isn’t until July 16. Fridays are always huge because of fireworks, and Saturdays are always usually four-figure crowds – they drew 1,380 this past Saturday with a threat of rain. So the average should go up, which would show an improvement over last year.
"The start we’ve gotten off is very promising, because we can finish strong with all those," Goode said. "And the fact we have a Wednesday like this, we’ll take this on a Wednesday anytime.
"You hope to hit with the big ones, and you can put on some strong nights during the week. This (last Wednesday) was a strong night for us. Very happy."
Nashua’s next goal will be to solve the Sunday riddle, never a strong day for most minor league clubs, let alone a summer collegiate wooden bat league. Sunday’s 4 p.m. twinbill with Brockton was rained out, although with a Nashua Police Athletic League/San Diego Chargers’ Kendall Reyes promotion, the crowd may have been good with decent weather. One promotion the team is using is asking fans to bring in canned goods on Sundays in return for discounted tickets.
The Knights have three more Sunday home games left – two in July, one in August. They have two more Tuesdays and one Wednesday left as well.
"We got off to a good three-game start right out of the gate," Goode said. "So we’re really happy. We’ve gotten off to the start we’ve wanted to. We’ve had bad weather on two Tuesdays, and if you’re going to choose for bad weather, we’d rather have bad weather on a Tuesday."
On the wall
The Silver Knights have been trying to cater more to their season ticket holders this season, and one of the things was a plaque posted on the wall of one of the concourse entrances with season ticket holders names on them. It’s called "Season Ticket Holders Wall of Fame."
"We were at a minor league convention in Oklahoma City late last September," Silver Knights general manager Ron Wallace said, "and we were talking about new ways we could serve season ticket holders. And this was one of the ideas we came up with. It looks great."
The team also had a preseason night/cookout for season ticket holders to meet the players the night before the season opener in early June.
End of the bullpen
One of the on-field questions manager Ted Currle and pitching coach Kyle Jackson are looking to answer is who will be the team’s permanent closer?
Right now, Ryan Campbell has two saves, but he has struggled with a 12.46 earned run average.
Brandon Walsh (1-0, 0.00) seems to have the best makeup for a closer, as he throws hard, closed for North Shore a couple of years ago and already has a save this year. But he’s now in the Silver Knights rotation; in fact he starts Tuesday on the road against his old Navigator team. Perhaps it could be Lucas Olen, who saved a game in Worcester last week? Five different Silver Knight pitchers have saves right now.
"It’s closer by committee," Currle said. "We’ll just have to see. Who knows, if we can’t settle on anybody, it just might have to be Walsh. We’ll see."
Nashuan Ryan Gendron of Seacoast is having quite a summer so far. He leads the FCBL at last look with seven homers and 20 RBIs. Gendron, of course, played for Nashua three years ago but with the talent the Silver Knights had at the time he was more of a role player. Since then he’s become a Silver Knights killer. …
The Silver Knights’ Tyler Schwanz is second in homers behind Gendron with a team-high four.
Every Saturday night the Silver Knights wear a colorful camouflage-type jersey in honor of the armed forces, and those jerseys are being auctioned off via silent auction every Saturday with the results known at the end of the year. …
The Silver Knights next home game is Friday, the annual July 3 Fireworks Night game, with North Shore again the opponent.