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Etch on Shanks: “I love him like he’s one of my kids”

The release of James Shanks is a Catch 22 for sure – while fans should be happy the organization is doing everything it can to put a team on the field that will make a run at a third straight championship, and hasn’t gotten too comfortable with the two they’ve won already – there’s no denying it sucks to see a fan favorite like Shanks go.

He immediately signed with Southern Maryland after being let go by York, and long-term fans will remember he played there for two full seasons, ’08 and ’09 before following Etch to York in 2010.  (The two first crossed paths while Etchebarren was Butch Hobson’s bench coach with the Blue Crabs.)

It’s a little awkward to say the least to have to release the newly-minted all-time franchise hit leader while he’s still on the active roster, but the opportunity to add a bat like Johan Limonta was too precious to pass up.  While Shanks heading back to Southern Maryland was an amicable parting of ways to begin with, Etch’s on the record quote immediately following the transaction left no doubt:

“That was one of the most difficult moves I’ve ever had to make,” said Andy Etchebarren.  “I love him like he’s one of my kids.  We’ve been together for five years, and he’s been a part of two championships here in York.  But he’ll have the opportunity to sign elsewhere and get more at-bats than he would have gotten here.  He’s excited about that.”

With Shanks no longer with the club, his franchise record of 367 hits will likely fall soon.  At the time of this post Scott Grimes has 350 hits.  Not far off pace is franchise doubles leader Ramon Castro (335).

We’ll see what the future holds for James Shanks.  While a return to York next season doesn’t appear to be in the cards after this latest transaction, perhaps Shanks, who will be 34 next season, will find a place to play in Southern Maryland again or elsewhere in the league.

-Paul Braverman


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