As someone who has played in the NBSA since I was five years old, I've always been proud to say that I was part of Northborough Baseball. From immaculate field conditions, competitive teams, a strong community support system, and a great developmental program that has laid a foundation for Algonquin's baseball success in recent years, there was a lot to be proud of being a baseball player in Northboro, and we all were proud to put on that 'N' cap year in and year out.
My pride died this week.
Growing up and going through the A, AA, AAA, and majors leagues, I did not get a chance to personally know Coach Durkin and Murph. But I knew how much they meant to the program and how it wouldn't be the same without them. Once I got to Babe Ruth and now Senior Babe on Memorial Field, their unmatched impact on the program has become a part of my everyday life.
I've played on a lot of fields around central Massachusetts, and none comes close matching to the perfect condition that Memorial Field is in. This can be attributed to one man: Craig Murphy. Murph has dedicated his entire life to that field, and anyone who has ever played there can see the spectacular results. From mowing to umpiring to his garden to giving pointers to players while taking a break from his field prep, Murph has positively impacted NBSA in every way, and he should be treated with only respect and appreciation for all he has done.
I've had many coaches in my time playing for NBSA, Melican, and Algonquin, and Sean Durkin is by far my favorite. As a coach, "Durk" combines competitiveness and fun like no other, and no player who has ever played for him has ever had a complaint. Durk does care about wins and losses, but what is truly important to him is playing the game the right way. It's not often to find a coach who sticks up for his players, supports them in every way, and keeps an extremely fun environment at all times, but Durk manages to do all of that while always teaching about the game we all love. In addition to this, Durk has helped NBSA out in countless other ways, from his famous barbeque at every Opening Day and other fundraiser, to helping restore the field batting cages after the hurricane, to helping with the construction of the new Memorial Field scoreboard. Sean Durkin is Northborough Baseball, and it is hard to find someone who can match his tremendous contributions.
The decisions made recently to remove these men from the Association is disgraceful and extremely disappointing. Even more appalling is the unprofessional way in which it has been done. Instead of removing Durk and Murph from the program, NBSA should be honoring and appreciating everything these men have done for the program.
When I think of dedication and all that is right with a baseball program, the work of Sean Durkin and Craig Murphy is the first thing to come to mind. It's an utter shame that a few seemingly power-hungry individuals fail to recognize the unparalleled contributions that the pair has made to the Assocation, and I can only hope at this point that these terrible decisions will be reversed.
For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to put on the "N."
I urge anyone who is reading this to help out by voicing your opinion to the Northboro Baseball Association on Facebook, on Twitter @NBSA, or by e-mail. If we all work together, we can get Northboro Baseball back to the way it should be.