Tuesday, November 13, 2007

NECBL: Fun is Good.

I've already given my take on the NECBL coming to Lynn in the comments, but I'd like to discuss it further here on the front page.

You won't find many people who were as emotionally attached the Spirit as I was, and thus, you won't find many people who will miss them as much as I will next year. I'll miss the familiar players and familiar opponents, I'll miss the length of the season, and I'll miss all the roster quirks of independent baseball.

I can't imagine for one minute that I will ever care about this new team as much as I cared about the Spirit.

But with that said, I am very pleased that the NECBL is coming to Lynn, for several reasons.

First of all, here's something we can all be happy about: the presence of the NECBL will help keep Fraser Field the beautiful park that it is. I was afraid that it would go to ruin when only the city held games there. Now that the field is held by a group that needs to appeal to paying customers, they will keep it at least close to the glistening condition the Spirit had it in, and for that, I am grateful.

Secondly, many people have mentioned the quality of play. I do think that the quality of play will be much spottier than Can-Am League ball, but we will also see players in the NECBL that are better than CanAm guys, younger than CanAm guys, and with way, way more upside. We'll also see many worse players. But it won't be too bad.

Remember, many people wouldn't come support the Spirit - they would rather drive to Manchester or Pawtucket, or just stay in and watch the Sox on TV - because they scoffed at the idea of going to see low-quality independent baseball, refusing to believe that entertainment could be derived from watching the 'riff raff' of the Can-Am League. We know that that wasn't true at all.

As far as the league being 'small-time,' well, it is, but so was the Can-Am; average attendance isn't that much lower than the Can-Am's, save for Brockton and Quebec.

Additionally, I am approaching this season the way I approached the Spirit's first season early on in 2003. I never expected that I would wind up going to every home game, taking road trips all over, making a blog, etc. etc. etc. I was just pleased that not only would I have something to do 20-30 times during the summer, I'd be able to see affordable, live baseball in a nice ballpark. What could be better than that?

Who knows, maybe I will develop the same affinity for this group that I did for the Spirit, but even if I don't, I'll enjoy having baseball to watch close from home.

Also, the fact that an NECBL team filled the vacuum right away proves that people still view this as a viable baseball market - meaning that some owner might plunk down here with an independent team in a few years if we adequately support this team.

Finally, remember how we felt when the final out was made against Nashua? We felt awful for a number of reasons. Obviously, I was upset that we lost, and upset that the team was going out of business, but as much as anything, I was upset that I probably wouldn't see all of the people who comprised my 'Fraser family' ever again.

I can't speak for everyone, but it seems like we all had that same reaction. Who didn't get emotional when reading the story about our group in the Globe? I was going to miss the experience of going to Fraser with some great people. Fortunately, this won't be the case - not even one dormant summer will pass at Fraser Field.

I just can't wait to get back to Fraser and watch baseball.

Won't you join me?


DaveCo said...

Joe,you get a standing oovationf rom me. Great post.

Like you and some others that post on here, you won't find a whle lot of people as emotionally attatched as us. I'll alsomiss everything the Spirit had,but I'm also estatic that this new team is comign in.
I'm also happy the owner of the team seems like a nice guy and is already looking at us for some input and values our opinion.

I agree with your reasons on why to be happy....
--The field being kept nice....which,as a Lynner, I KNOW won't happen otherwise.
--This team won't play Spirit-esque,but they'll play damn good (judging by their last season)
--We get to see people that were like another family again. Maybe not ALL,but a good majority.

I'm also approachign this season like i did with the Spirit,in that I also don't expect to do what i did with the Spirit with this team. If that happens then great,but I'm not expecting it yet.

Yes,I'll join you. And hopefully so will everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Hello to everyone,

I stumbled across this blog yesterday after hearing about the rumors of the Holyoke Giants relocating to Lynn and Fraser Field. I played for the Holyoke Giants last summer, and will again play for them this summer. All I can say is how pleased I am at the potential opportunity to play in front of the Lynn community.

I want to try and dispel some myths I've been reading by other posters. First, I disagree with the assessment of the talent level in the NECBL. This is very good baseball that is consistent night in and night out. Check out the colleges of the players on each teams roster. This is top D1 baseball from players all over the country, many of whom will get drafted and will play at the next level. All I ask is that you come and see for yourself, and hopefully be pleasantly surprised.

Secondly, I've read a lot about the Spirit's approachability with the fans. That is one thing I can tell you that the NECBL is known for. The highlight of my nights last year would be the kids and family members coming onto the field or bench after a win and asking for autographs or pictures or baseballs. It's great for the fans, and it's great for us too. The greatest compliment anyone can give you is to pay to come watch you play, and trust me when I say we appreciate that.

Lastly, I just want to ask the Lynn community to give us college kids a chance. We are the highest form of amateur baseball you will find. We don't get paid, there are not many perks, we just love to play the game of baseball. Come out and watch, and you will see what I'm talking about.

Thank you

Jillie said...

Hey Guys!

Here's the scoop; I'd go see the Shriner's Mini cars if I knew you all would be there with me. YOU are the best part of the Fraser experience, all of you who gave your hearts to the team. I am very excited about being able to be together with those of you who have become like a family to me. (DaveCo, my gutters are still waiting...)

But I have to make one comment and that is I'd like to see the nasty, unnecessary comments that come from Wooden to stop! I won't voice my own opinions about this fan because I won't add fuel to the fire, but please, his comments and immaturity make it difficult for me to take anything he has to say seriously.

I love the level of intimacy we have formed during our nights at Fraser and the other ball parks, and it is unsettling to have to read him attack one of our own. Am I alone in this thought? I hope not. I plan to be at Fraser as soon as it opens, and I plan to enjoy another season with the group of people I have come to love. I won't let off-the-cuff, negative comments come between what I know is a genuine family. But I want it noted that he has pissed me off and I am putting my foot down, in hopes that he cuts out the cheap shots and remains silent if he is unable to control himself.

Anonymous said...

Victoria is still in school so she doesn't know it yet but Andy Thierault (#9 Bullpen Catcher) is coming down from NH to ride on the float on Christmas Eve. THANKS ANDY! I'm sure she has already told you BJ Weed has also agreed to ride on it. THANKS BJ! We're still trying to get in touch with other players & employees.
I checked the city website and didn't see anything about the parade posted yet. My understanding is permit is NOT required but I'll confirm that.
I'm still hoping we can get someone to donate use of a flatbed-- from the responses we're getting we may need two :)
Right now or theme is obviously the North Shore Spirit and Baseball. Cathy (email me) what we were thinking of is some type of backdrop of Fraser Field or even a huge silhouette of a baseball player in a Spirit uniform. Someone dresses as Santa wearing a Spirit jersey. Lots of people in Spirit gear, a Christmas tree decorated in Spirit colors and big Spirit banners (Thanks Bob). Victoria suggested a PA system so everyone can sing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" and she was also hoping John Leahy would hope onboard and work his announcer magic along the parade route. Victoria also suggested a big replica of the Commonwealth Cup- anyone interested in trying to make one? Victoria also suggested we make cards for all the players like they had in the Sox Victory Parade to hang on the float. We'd love to hear any other suggestions.
Everyone is welcome to help out & to ride. If anyone has a particular project they'd like to tackle- making posters with players names, finding a PA system, getting decorations or donations let us know. This is a first for us & we need all the help we can get! You can read updates on her blog & feel free to email me directly. djglidden (at)
AKA Anon #1

Anonymous said...

You said you'd go see the Shriner's Mini Cars with this crew so does this mean we can count you in to ride on the float with us? Email us we miss hearing from you! Despite what she says now I'm sure come baseball season Victoria will be Fraser Field with everybody-- she loves you guys!

DaveCo said...

And Jill........I loved the experiences we had as well and you were nice to have along at the games. Cya next year =]
ALSO: I'll get to the gutters next season XD

icesk8ingtrezzafan said...

YEAH! BJ WEED is staying in the CanAm league. He got signed by the Alantic City Surf.

Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

Jillie, all I can say is this: How many times have I made racist, homophobic, and/or bigoted statements -- or threatened physical violence?

Now, compare that to the ranting, raving, and clearly self-loathing tirades that Sparky's directed at me, most of which are clearly projections of his own issues and insecurities.

Anonymous said...

You will come to love it.

Other aspects of the NECBL are: Every franchise gives you consistent player stats, every franchise has video of games available (not of Dave's quality, usually just a single camera in a fixed location), and every franchise is a welcoming place.

It will be great to have an excuse to return to Lynn frequently.


Anonymous said...

Joe, on a previous post, you listed "Mid City" as a defunct NECBL franchise. They were "Mill City" and live on as the Lowell All-Americans with the same management. I am assured they are returning in 2008. Here's to a good rivalry with Lynn!


DaveCo said...

I look forward to seeing yu for yet another season Spike--and thank you for the compliments. Phil said he'd like to try to broadcast games on LynnCAM,so we may see some more videos like I made before.

I still look forward to watching a game or two in Nashua next season,ride pending......and I do expect that the NECBL will be a great league with great baseball played,as you said.

I will say this,you are one of the people whose opinion on baseball I'll trust.

Anonymous said...

Wooden you asshole: Joe allows you to get away with it so you are responsible for ruining it for all the rest.
Go back to your own blog (big fish) where comments aren't allowed, just your self-serving rants and raves about how wonderful you are.
As for the other anonymous (and not) assholes out there who I once considered my friends, you can all go to hell. Enjoy Wooden, you all deserve him.

Joe Grav said...

I deleted Wooden's comments on that last post too. Please, remember that we have several kids under 12 who read and post to this blog regularly - I don't care if you guys all want to argue and bash one another but try not to use such harsh language.

Anonymous said...

Lynn board OKs lease for new team

By Steve Krause / The Daily Item

LYNN - The city moved a step closer to having a new baseball team occupy Fraser Field Tuesday when the Stadium Commission unanimously approved the lease for a New England College Baseball League team from Holyoke to play in Lynn next summer.

The city, and team owner Phil Rosenfield, was expected to make it official today.

The wood-bat league team, which would play 21 games at Fraser Field, features some of the top college players the country. There are several teams in Massachusetts, including one in Lowell and one in Pittsfield, owned by former Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette.

"This team fits the flavor of Lynn baseball," said Mayor Edward "Chip" Clancy after the board approved the lease.

"From the moment that the (North Shore) Spirit announced their intention to leave, we heard from several organizations," he said.

Clancy also said that "even if (Spirit owner) Nick Lopardo didn't consider the Spirit a success financially, they were what you could call an artistic success. "And," he said, "it says a lot about Fraser Field that people are clamoring to play here."

The terms of the lease are similar to those of the Spirit. The $1-per-year lease between the city and the new team - known simply as "Draper Road Baseball" in the lease - is for two years, with a two-year option to renew. While lease is in operation (between June 1 and Sept. 30), the team would have exclusive and priority use of the playing field, seating areas, press box and restrooms in the Howie Grob Clubhouse for its games and practices.

However, according to the lease, the team and the city will work to allow for "reasonable scheduling" of other potential city events around the NECBL team, if possible.

The city will be responsible for paying water, sewer and electrical service for the Grob building, playing field, and on-site team offices during the period the lease is in action. The team will be responsible for telecommunications, waste cleanup and maintenance during the period of the lease.

Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

Question for the anon that posted about NECBL video feeds:

Is the audio strictly game noise? I'm guessing it would be, but if anyone was smart, they'd be looking for JComm-majors to cut their teeth as unpaid interns.

Jillie said...

Wooden, it makes me feel sad for you that the only way you can feel "bigger than the rest of us" (due to your own insecurities) is to bash and criticize on a website; someone you couldn't say a word to (when standing next to him) in person. Come on, really now, why do you feel the need to act like this? You, AND YOU ALONE have taken a great blog and thrown it into the mud with the other swine with your immature outbursts. Do you really think you're a better person when you stick needles into people, with the sole intention of inciting anger? Don't you see that something that childish doesn't make you appear to be more than you are? None of us have fallen for that, you're still an excuse and a failure among the rest of us who do not need to stoop to such low levels in order to feel good about ourselves.

Please, grow up.

You are not a part of what makes the family that I have grown to love at Fraser and I truly wish you would just stay away, I'm really getting bored with your comments.

Sparky is a hundred times the man you could ever hope to be.

That said, I look forward to Christmas Eve! Deb and Vic, I'll email you guys to get more info but unless my children are in a church Christmas Eve performance, you can count us all in! The three of us that is, I can't speak for anyone else...who is probably feeling a little disappointed in all that's been posted here.

Fraser Faithful stands for something really important; friendship, being able to see past one another's quirks with a wink and a smile, the tears we all shed in September -- don't try to deny it, I was there!!! I wish I could express what it was like for me, a newbie to your family-like group, to be accepted and welcomed at every game I attended. Some of you are not old enough to realize that, meaningful relationships like that are not that easy to come across and what you have together is special. I'm sure Deb and I and even Sparky would be able to give examples where, what we thought was a friendship turned out to be nothing...don't mistake the Fraser Faithful for something that is nothing more than fluff. I know for a fact that given the opportunity, Sparky would be at your side with little less than a call or a smoke signal. You won't get that from many -- don't let it go this time.

I adore you guys and I also recognize that I wouldn't know a single one of you if it weren't for the love and affection that Sparky has for each and everyone of you -- quirks and all.

We will have a limited number of times that we will be able to enjoy one another's company next Summer, let's make the most of it. There will be far fewer games that we can cheer at, so let's make them the BEST TIMES!

I can't help but look to the example that the man we have all grown to respect has set; Nick Lopardo. Let's get back to what it means to be a team...and more than a team to being the family that we've become. Thank you Nick, for your example of what a leader looks like. I will never forget the pride I felt during the last game at Fraser when, after your expression of thanks to the fans, by giving those two chairs away...when we all stood, addressed our attention to you and cheered your name. THAT is what a leader deserves and only when he is worthy of being hailed the leader.

We could all learn a ton from that man. Let's do that, and not let ridiculous idiosyncracies get in our way.

Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

Jillie, I respect your opinion and passionate defense, but the fact still remains: Sparky is the one that has used tools of the weak-minded -- bigotry, homophobia, and threats of violence, not to mention accusations of pedophilia and incest -- in his diatribes.

I've been defending the reasons to be excited about a new team in Fraser, not because I get to see them, but because you guys won't be left high and dry. I still have friends & family in the area (obviously, I lived there for 10 years) and would like to see another game there someday when I visit because, like you alluded, the times I spent at Fraser were some of the best of my life.

Sparky, on the other hand, has been nothing but negative about the new team -- that's what I've been railing against. I can't help it if he's too thin-skinned to realize otherwise.

Whether you like it or not, I was a Spirit season-ticket holder for three of the five years they were in existence; the two years I wasn't, I was living 500 miles away. But I spent hundreds of dollars to the past two summers to see them sporadically, including the last two nights in Nashua and Lynn.

Anonymous said...

Each team in the NECBL has a play by play announcer which travels with the team...home team announcer is play by for innings 1-3, 7-9...and color for 4-6...All games are broadcast FREE over the web. TO get the video stream you must pay.

DaveCo said...

Everyone.....I am not asking this, I am now demanding....

Jill,Sparky,Wooden....this goes out to all three. Stop fueling fire. I know Spraky stopped,now can you two stop?

I want this to be a good forum for local sports and Lynn's newest baseball team. What this has turned into is more of a jerry springer meets hardball type of thing.

Please,stp this behavir and get back to talking kindly,friendly,and

Frankly,I'm tired of this and ashamed to call myself a poster on this blog. Stop this now

Jillie said...

With any luck none of this bad 'mojo' will be happening next year, cause it sure feels like crap.

You know where we are guys, you know how to get hold of us...

See you soon maybe?

icesk8ingtrezzafan said...

Hey Guys-
I don't about anyone else but I'm excited aboout the Christmas Even parade in Lynn & seeing all you guys again. BJ & Andy #9 are coming. John Leahy sent me a nice letter and he's going to try to come. Jill, Dave, Joe G., Bob K., Cathy and Jack Suslack said they will all help. Has anyone heard from Jordan or the Kummins? This is going to be a lot of fun. I'm psyched. Christmas, Baseball and all my friends from Fraser, It's going to be the best! I can't wait to see you guys!

Soon2BMrs.Weed said...

Yes BJ is playing for Atlantic City in 2008. He is really excited but he will miss playing for the Spirit. He loved playing at Fraser Field and REALLY wanted to win a championship!

icesk8ingtrezzafan said...

We love BJ & I want to see him on one of our road trips this summer because we want to go see Worecester play. Maybe we'll catch the Worester game when they play the Surf. Are you coming Christmas Eve with BJ? PLEASE. You can bring you Built For Speed sign you brought to the games :)

Soon2BMrs.Weed said...

What time is the parade, I'll try to make it!

icesk8ingtrezzafan said...

soon 2 be mrs. weed
The parade is at 6pm on Christmas Eve. Email me 7 I'll give you my phone number.