Monday, August 25, 2008

Historic Holman Stadium

All photos of Historic Holman Stadium are available on Flickr.

As you may remember from my Toledo post, a month and a half ago I moved to New Hampshire. The area has a lot of minor league ball teams and I was hoping to attend a few games. Well, with just two weeks left in the minor league season I finally made it to one. The Nashua Pride are an independent team in the CanAm League. Last season Peter and I caught a CanAm League game in New Jersey and were not impressed. Fortunately, tonight's game was much crisper than the one we saw last summer, but it was still clear there was a reason these guys were playing independent league ball.

Some fun facts about the Pride and the CanAm Legue: Rich Garces, a former Red Sox reliever, has returned for his second season with the Pride. He is nicknamed El Guapo because of his weight and has his own bobble-belly doll. Also, former Tigers and Yankee slugger Cecil Fielder, estranged father of Brewers star Prince Field, is in his first season as manage of the Atlantic City Surf.

Also, tonight was cooler bag night. The giveaway was for the first 750 fans into Holman Stadium. Now, I know teams announce attendance based on how many tickets were sold, not how many people actually come to the game. But most times its still a realistic number. Tonight the Pride announced an attendance of over 1445, yet there were still two cases of cooler bags that the staff was trying to give away at the end of the night.

I got there quite early, hoping to take in a little late season bp, but was disappointed to discover that neither the Pride nor the Quebec Capitales were hitting this evening. So, I spent some time walking around the stadium, which took about 5 minutes, looking in the team store, and getting dinner. There was also a live two-man band entertaining the early arrivals down the right field line. Holman stadium is a newer stadium built in the retro style, all brick and painted steel. It is a very nice stadium for an independent league team. In the left field corner is an Applebee's aal-you-can-eat area, that sits just beyond a low brick wall. In center and right the wall jumps up significantly and is covered with advertisements. One unique feature of Holman Stadium is that there are two sets of retired numbers. Three numbers are embedded in the outfield wall, without names to go with them. Another 5 are displayed beneath the press box.

The game itself pitted the division leading team from Quebec and the Pride who have taken up residence near the bottom of the standings after winning the 2007 CanAm League title. My seat was four rows in front of the press box and i could clearly hear the Pride play-by-play man calling the entire game. Let me just say, he is no Bob Uecker, though he did use Uek's signature "Juuuuust a bit outside" line. The Pride jumped out to an early 2-0 in the bottom of the first on an RBI double by 3B Argenis Tevarez followed by a bit from 1B Brian Duplissie, but Quebec starter Karl Gelinas settled down and went 7 innings without surrendering another run.

park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 6
views from park - 7 (evergreen trees directly behind the outfield walls)
view to field - 7
surrounding area - 4 (Nashua is nicknamed Trashua by folks in NH)
food variety - 2 (nothing out of the ordinary, very limited selection)
nachos - 6 (good chips and the single serving cheese cup went a lot further than I thought)
beer - 6 (Bud and Heiniken on tap)
vendor price - 7
ticket price - 2 ($7 for independent ball, and no grass seating GA? Boo!)
atmosphere - 1 (Dead except for 1 Superfan)
walk to park - 5
parking proximity - 7 (adjacent lot for free but watch out your windows dont get hit by foul balls)
concourses - 5
team shop - 5 (limited selection but 40% off end of season clearance)

best food - nachos
most unique stadium feature - party deck that was clearly just a double-wide on stilts
best jumbotron feature - scoreboard says "Quit ya jibba-jabba during opposing team mound conference
best between-inning feature - Spike, one of two mascots helps to drag the field

starters - Karl Gelinas (QUE) v. Isaac Burkett (NAS)
opponent - Quebec Capitales
attendance - 1,445
score - 9-2 L
Brewers score that day - 10-4 W

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