Howard Herman: A happy return to Wahconah Park for former Colonials
It was Pittsfield Colonials alumni weekend at Wahconah Park this past weekend, and one of the alumni laughed at the first question -- did he go to the wrong locker room?
"We did actually," said Chris Torres. "I kept walking and said ... that's not my locker room."
Torres, who played for the Colonials in their two seasons at the old ballpark on Wahconah Street, is the manager of the Futures League's Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide, and he brought his team to town Friday night. Joining him in the locker room was coach Quentin Davis, one of Torres' former Colonials teammates.
The day before, Nashua Silver Knights hitting coach Billy Mottram, a 2011 Colonial, completed the alumni weekend.
Torres and Davis played for both Brian Daubach and Jamie Keefe in the Can-Am League, while Mottram was part of Keefe's team. All three have fond memories of their two years in Pittsfield and at Wahconah.
"It's like deja vu," said Davis. "It's like we just played here. It's like our last game was yesterday."
A fourth former Colonial, pitcher David Qualben, made the trek from New York City Friday night to see his former mates.
It's the closeness of sharing that summertime fox hole that Davis said he and Torres are trying to share with the team in Old Orchard Beach.
"We talk about it all the time," said Davis. "We try to tell these boys that's how you play baseball. We didn't have the best facilities. We didn't have the best of anything. We came out here, played and had fun. We're trying to get these boys to do the same thing."
By managing, Torres is getting into the family business. His father Victor, who passed away in the spring, was a coach and scout with the San Francisco Giants organization.
"It's different," Torres said of managing. "We can't go out there and change something if we want to, do something about it. We just have to talk to these guys and hope they listen to us and do things the right way.
"It's been a little bit of a transition, but we've got a good group of guys. These guys are like us when we played here, but just junior guys -- little guys -- but the same group of characters. If this is what Jamie saw from us, it's what we're seeing from them."
Torres said that when the Futures League season ends, he'll be rejoining Keefe, who is managing the Rockland team in the Can-Am League. There are a good six or seven former Colonials playing with Keefe in Rockland.
Mottram isn't going to be one of them. Unlike his former teammates, Mottram didn't start the season with the Silver Knights. He stepped away from the game last year and has been running an indoor baseball facility in Nashua, N.H. Mottram joined the Knights three weeks ago because one of the original coaches had a player from his school join the team, and college coaches can't coach their players in the summer.
"We just had a great group of guys" in 2011, Mottram said. "We were kind of on the same page. Everyone was in there with the same goal.
"It brings back a lot of good memories. Just walking into the park, seeing the field, it brings back a lot of good stuff."
To reach Howard Herman:
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman
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