The first-season American Defenders of New Hampshire were locked out of historic Nashua Stadium last night after failing to pay the city some $45,000 in rent and police bills.
The first-season American Defenders of New Hampshire (independent; Can-Am Association) were locked out of historic Nashua Stadium last night after failing to pay the city some $45,000 in rent and police bills.
It's no surprise the team was in financial peril; season-ending games had already been shifted to Skylands Park in a move announced by the Sussex Skyhawks last week. But the lockout was a dramatic end to a steadily deteriorating financing situation for the Defenders, the latest in a string of teams failing to make it in Nashua.
Players were allowed into the ballpark to pick up their belongings after the scheduled game was canceled. Attendance was low — a reported 1,109 fans per game — as the local populace failed to embrace the pro-America and pro-military marketing of the team; uniforms were designed to look like military issue, a by-product of the ownership's other more successful touring teams that regularly scored big crowds in summer-collegiate venues. The ownership also ran a summer-collegiate team in Pittsfield; perhaps the smarter play in Nashua would have been to throw a summer-collegiate team at Holman Stadium rather than a pro team with its considerably higher overhead.
We don't expect the Defenders to return to Nashua; there's some bad feelings between the city and the ownership, made evident by the eviction from the ballpark — a dramatic move you rarely see in pro baseball. Holman Stadium is a lovely facility, and it would be a shame if no baseball is played there next season. A year ago we wrote the best solution for the facility and market would be the installation of a summer-collegiate team, and it appears we were correct.
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