Allenson, Fisher Cats arrive in NH
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats landed Monday at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and when they felt the 50-degree New England air in their faces, they knew spring training was officially done.
"Don Zimmer use to tell me that 39 degrees in New England was a drizzle," laughed first-year Fisher Cats manager Gary Allenson. "Actually many of our players came through Lansing, Michigan (single-A. Lansing Lugnuts, Midwest League) and are used to this. Having played around here in April, I can say you never get used to it. But it's a mindset thing."
On Sunday, the team held an intra-squad game in Dunedin, Fla., before departing for Manchester Monday morning. The team had the day off Monday to settle into the area after arriving around 1 p.m.
"I was telling someone the last four days of spring training and the first four days here are going to be the most hectic," said Allenson. "This is my first year with the Blue Jays and other than a few people I've met before, I really don't know many people in the organization, especially around here in Manchester."
Allenson, who plans on residing in Manchester during the season, said he will get his first look at the field at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium today when the team holds a practice. The practice is open to fans from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. From 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. the team will hold a season ticket holder "meet and greet" session at the Sam Adams Bar & Grill.
"I've seen the infrastructure, but not the actual field," said Allenson. "I've never been to Manchester. Actually, the only times I've been in New Hampshire (prior to Monday) was just driving through on I-95 into Maine. That's it."
Nicknamed "Muggsy," Allenson played seven Major League seasons, the first six catching for the Red Sox from 1979 to 1984. In 1985, he played 14 games with the Blue Jays before retiring at age 30.
"Anyone who still remembers me as a Red Sox player will be over 50 years old," said Allenson, a native of Culver City, Calif., who played for Arizona State and was drafted by the Red Sox in the ninth round of the 1976 amateur draft.
The Yankees gave him his first coaching job in their farm system in 1987. He hooked up with Boston as a bullpen coach and third base coach for three seasons (1992-94) and served as a coach for the Milwaukee Brewers (2000-02) and Baltimore (2010) on the major league level.
Most of his minor league coaching career has been with the Orioles and, while managing the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, he earned his 1,000th career win.
Allenson called baseball in New England a "different breed" compared to the rest of the country.
"It didn't hit me until I got to Pawtucket as a player just how knowledgeable the baseball fans are in New England," he said. "They're also very passionate. I tell the young players that New England is the best place to play when things are going good and not so well when things are getting worse. So the object is to play good and definitely play hard."?On Wednesday, the Fisher Cats will hold their last pre-season workout at 6 p.m.
The Fightin Phils are in town for a four-game series. Games times are 6:35 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 1:35 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
On Monday, April 8, Trenton, affiliate of the New York Yankees, will visit Manchester for a three-game series. The Monday game is set for 6:35 p.m. Tuesday's game is at 5:05 p.m. and the series finale on April 10 is 10:35 a.m.
Individual game tickets for the upcoming season are on sale.
Fans can search online at newhampshire.fishercats.milb.com for seats for any home game. Tickets may also be purchased by calling the New Hampshire Fisher Cats ticket office at 641-2005.