Somehow, FCBL finds way to play
They’re back. Yes, in these pandemic-dominated days, we have a Silver lining.
The Futures Collegiate Baseball League, including the Nashua Silver Knights, actually pulled it off.
On Thursday at 6 p.m., Holman Stadium will actually be the site of a game.
It certainly wasn’t easy. But the league’s owners, including Nashua’s and Worcester’s John Creedon, Jr., and FCBL commissioner Joe Paolucci wouldn’t give up.
Summer college wooden bat leagues were folding up the summer tents all around them, including the prestigious Cape Cod League and the FCBL’s chief rival, the twice as big and more established New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL).
There were days when it didn’t look like it would happen. But the message to the public was the always the same:
Where there’s a will, there had to be a way. And a way to do it safely.
Good for them.
It was probably the busiest three months Paolucci has had.
“It was such a roller coaster,” he said. “You talk to an owner one day and everything was great. You talk to them a day later, and everything they said was going to happen wasn’t happening. And two weeks later it changed again.
“I don’t think this is over by any stretch of the imagination.”
No, probably not. You’d have to figure (but hopefully not) that some team will have players with positive tests. Or a community will change its mind.
But as the plan was set to launch, time was running out. If the FCBL was to play, it needed to do it by early July.
A week ago Friday, the day the league wanted to make an announcement, everything was going in different directions. Massachusetts delayed the phase which would allow games.
But New Hampshire finally allowed Massachusetts teams to come into the state, which was a huge roadblock earlier for the Silver Knights.
There was one casualty – Pittsfield. Ownership there didn’t think it could pull off all the safety protocols.
They followed the advice of “better safe than sorry,” which we all should. No outrageous gambles.
So the Silver Knights should temper their joy by doing all the right things, and they certainly will try. You can bet a guy like first-year manager Kyle Jackson is on cloud nine.
The full contingent of players is expected sometime this weekend.
“No more Zooms,” Jackson said with a big smile. “No more texting. Now it’s communication (in person). It’s putting faces to names. You can see all the names and know what they’ve done, but to get to know them personally, how they field or hit, and just have a good feel of being on the ball field with the team.”
The fans will feel the same way.
The safety protocols are thorough and complicated for what Creedon calls “pandemic baseball.” Fans should check with the Silver Knights but remember this key thing: If you’re not in your seat, you must wear a mask.
Nashua Park-Recreation Superintendent was super impressed by the cleaning protocols and safety plan put together by Creedon and general manager Cam Cook.
The walkthrough 10 days ago they had with city officials was a deal maker, not breaker.
“I think they’re going to pull it off,” Caggiano said. “Creedon’s got it down. A great job. … Two months ago I was ‘No way.’ But it’s going to go.”
Yes it is. Persistence paid off.
“There was never a time where everybody was doom and gloom,” Paolucci said. “We just kept plugging away at it.
“We think we made the right decision. Time will tell.”
Time, and the diligence and attention to safety details for all involved.
But for now? Fans, see you Thursday. Safely, we all hope.
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251,firstname.lastname@example.org, or@Telegraph _TomK.