FROM THE NASHUA TELEGRAPH:
NASHUA – The Nashua Pride are certainly coming back for the 2008 season, but Butch won't be. Speaking from his Bakersfield, Calif., home on Wednesday, longtime Pride manager Butch Hobson acknowledged that he will not be back for his ninth season in Nashua. Instead he will be taking over as manager of an undisclosed team in the Atlantic League, a league the Pride played in before joining the Can-Am League in 2006.
Despite all his success here – Hobson has an overall record of 514-458 (.529) with two championships, six playoff appearances and four finals appearances in eight years – his status has always been in doubt for various reasons. He had officially resigned following the 2003 season before changing his mind and returning after a few weeks later.
He had to reach an agreement with new ownership groups in both 2005 and 2006. When the Pride announced they were joining the young player-oriented Can-Am League two years ago, Hobson initially balked before signing a three-year deal. But this time, it's for real. The 56-year-old Hobson, 63 days shy of attaining a full major-league pension, feels managing in the Atlantic League will get him back on a major league coaching staff someday. Because of the previous uncertain future of the franchise after it swept the now-defunct North Shore Spirit for the Can-Am crown in mid-September, Pride owner John Stabile allowed Hobson to field offers from other or organizations despite having a year remaining on his contract.
Teams came calling, and Hobson is being offered a package that Stabile – who is trying to make the Pride fiscally viable after announcing last week the franchise would return – can't match. But that may not matter.
"It's time to move on," Hobson said. "I've decided that (getting back to the majors) is what I want. I've been dickering here and there, but (managing) is all I know, it's what I do and I think I'm pretty good at it. I think I'm going to have to go back to the Atlantic League to get back with an (affiliated) organization in some capacity."
The Pride have held off on any official announcement in deference to Hobson's negotiations with his new team. "Butch and I are working out the details of the final year remaining on his contract," Stabile said. "There are some details to be ironed out, and we're hoping to announce something in the near future."
Hobson said the move was bittersweet. As a former Red Sox third baseman and manager, he immediately became the face of the franchise when hired by then-Pride owner Chris English in December 1999. After living in Vermont, he eventually moved to Nashua, where he lived until his family moved to California in July 2006. A few days ago he sat down to write a good-bye to the fans of Nashua, something the Pride are expected to include in a release or newspaper advertisement.
"It's very, very tough," Hobson said of his expected job change. "When I sat down to write what I wanted to say, it was real tough." The team had conversations with Hobson about putting together a day in his honor and for him to officially say good-bye to Pride fans, but nothing's been worked out.
"I hope I could do that, but I really don't know," Hobson said. When he took the steps of City Hall in celebration of his second championship earlier in the fall, Hobson seemed to sense the end was near. He said he didn't know what to expect when he first took the job, but he also didn't expect to be here through eight seasons. "No, I didn't," he said. "But it was a wonderful eight years."
You gotta admit,as crazy as he was he was a damn good manager. Nashua could possibly have a hard time finding a manger as good & dedicated as Butch. As we read this let's remember the good times we had with Butch....