While we’re not big sports fans, there’s nothing like the excitement of a ball game on summer night and a local crowd cheering the home team — especially when the tickets are low or no cost. In recent weeks we’ve seen baseball games in New Hampshire and Maryland.
We watched the Silver Knights play the Dirt Dawgs at Holman Stadium in Nashua, New Hampshire. What’s NOT to like about team names like that?
Holman Stadium was built by the City of Nashua in 1937 as a multi-purpose stadium; it’s named for Charles Frank Holman, a major benefactor for the project. Holman Stadium was dedicated to the youth and people of Nashua in memory of Holman's parents.
Holman is the home of the Nashua Silver Knights of the Future Collegiate Baseball league. This wood bat league has a 44-game regular season; its league includes 9-team collegiate summer baseball league from southern Maine to western Connecticut. The Silver Knights are a Single A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. Their name was selected by a vote of Nashua school kids. In their inaugural 2011 season, the Silver Knights led the league in attendance, with an average of 869 spectators per game, double initial expectations of 300-500 fans.
Several major league teams have had farm teams based in Holman, including the California Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1946, the stadium hosted what is considered the first integrated US baseball team, when Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe played for the then Nashua Dodgers.
A few weeks after the Nashua baseball game, we went to a baseball game closer to home in Salisbury, Maryland at the Arthur W. Perdue Stadium, home of the Delmarva Shorebirds. Yes, it was a rainy Sunday afternoon but it did stop (eventually).
Dubbed the “chicken bowl” by local folks, the Arthur W. Perdue Stadium was named for the founder of Perdue Farms, a major business here on the VA eastern shore. The stadium opened in 1996 and seats 5,200 fans. It’s the second largest seating venue in Salisbury and sometimes hosts concerts and other events.
Sherman is the Shorebirds mascots and goes through the stands at every game greeting young (and older) fans and posing for photos. He’s always the most popular non-player!
Sherman is 7 feet tall; his favorite foods are hot dogs, chicken tenders, and cracker jacks. Favorite color is orange (couldn’t you tell?). His favorite song is The Chicken Dance, of course.
The Shorebirds started in April of 1996 as a Montreal Expos affiliate, but that lasted only season. In 1997, the team became an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. As a member of the South Atlantic League, the Shorebirds play 140 games each season, half at home. They were South Atlantic League championships in 1997 and 2000.
Did I mention that another great feature of these summer games is their low cost? The Silver Knights tickets were $5; Shorebirds tickets were free, courtesy of our local library.