LA CROSSE, Wis. - The wins are piling up for Loggers first-year Manager Jason Nell.
Nell began his coaching career after playing at UW-River Falls. He trails former Loggers skipper Andy McKay by eight games on the Northwoods League All-Time Regular Season Wins List.
"No kidding," Nell said. "That kind of brightens my day up a little bit, I guess. The longer you've been in this, for what, six, seven years, you're going to get some wins but you're also going to get some losses."
Nell, the Iowa Lakes Community College baseball coach, has coached in the Northwoods League at Waterloo and Mankato. He said neither compares to La Crosse.
"La Crosse, it's God's country. It just feels like home, and the atmosphere we had the other night, 3,500 people, even though we lost, was phenomenal," Nell said. "Second to none. I truly believe that."
Before attending UW-River Falls, Nell grew up in inner-city Milwaukee.
"65th and Hampton," he said. "It's not the projects by any means, but it's not 'Leave it to Beaver,' either. It was rough, but it was inner-city."
Nell's wife is from Hudson, Wis. He refers to her as, "the boss." But when it came time to interview for the Loggers managerial job, he waited until the last minute to tell her.
"I didn't think there was a great opportunity to do this, until when I came over for the interview, I said, hey just a heads up, I'm going to probably go for an interview. When? Tomorrow. Oh, OK," Nell recalled. "She approved of everything and I can tell you this. What I do here, no matter where I've gone, this is a piece of cake. She's got her hands full and I'm truly appreciative of that."20891342
Nell's wife, along with his two daughters, are at batting practice before every home game. For Nell, it helps put everything in perspective.
"Baseball, it's a game. With the kids being here, it kind of puts a smile on my face and says, slow down. Breathe. Don't take yourself too seriously and that's what it's all about."