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Archive for December, 2012

Mike Benacka signs with Blue Jays, Skeeters’ Scott Kazmir to Indians, Adam Greenberg to Orioles

Relief pitcher Mike Benacka, who ended the 2012 season with the Revolution, has been signed by the Toronto Blue Jays to a minor league contract.  Benacka joined York on September 11 for the rest of the regular season and playoffs after his season concluded with the Laredo Lemurs of the American Association.  Benacka, 30, pitched in 43 games for Laredo last season, notching 12 saves.  He picked up a save in one of the five regular season games he appeared in with York.

Meanwhile, after starting 13 games for the Sugar Land Skeeters last season,  Scott Kazmir has inked a minor league deal with the Cleveland Indians, which includes an invite to Major League spring training.  Kazmir of course pitched in eight MLB seasons with the (Devil) Rays and Angels between 2004 and 2011, making 179 big league starts.  If Kazmir can at least make the Triple-A club in Columbus, hopefully Cleveland is the ultimate destination for his comeback, and the Atlantic League will be able to boast another alumnus in the Majors.  Kazmir, who had to be one of the more notable names on an Atlantic League roster in the circuit’s first 15 seasons, ended up not even being the biggest name on his own team after Roger Clemens made two starts in Sugar Land in August and September.  Clemens also took one road trip with the Skeeters…anyone remember where?

These two transactions came on the heels of the news that media darling and former Bridgeport Bluefish outfielder Adam Greenberg has signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles.  The contract does not include an invite to MLB spring training, so it will be an uphill climb for Greenberg to make the club at either Double-A Bowie or Triple-A Norfolk.  But at least he’s been able to parlay the attention he got last year with his one at-bat with the Marlins into an opportunity.  Greenberg was one of the trickier players to keep in check while with Bridgeport, a real headache for opposing pitchers on the basepaths.

-Paul Braverman

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2013 home game times finalized

You can check out the start times for all 70 Revolution home games at Sovereign Bank Stadium this season, by visiting the schedule page on our website.  Since 2011, the standard Monday through Saturday start time has been 6:30 p.m., and that will remain true for a third season in 2013.  Please make note of these exceptions:

  • All Sunday games will begin at 5 p.m., with the exception of the first Sunday game, 4/21 vs. Bridgeport, and the final Sunday game of the regular season, 9/8 vs. Bridgeport.  Those two games will begin at 2 p.m.  
  • The following games will begin at 11 a.m. – 4/22 vs. Southern Maryland, 5/6 vs. Somerset and 7/31 vs. Camden.  And yes, we serve coffee at the ballpark.  Come enjoy a breakfast hot dog with us on those mornings.
  • On 8/10 the Revs will play a day-night doubleheader vs. Lancaster at Sovereign Bank Stadium.  Game 1 will begin at Noon, Game 2 will be the usual time of 6:30.

More upcoming events:  The close-to-complete promotional schedule is slated to be released mid-January, and individual single-game tickets are scheduled to go on sale Saturday, February 9 online and in-person at the Apple Chevrolet Ticket Office at Sovereign Bank Stadium.


Potential expansion notebook

Rumors continue to swirl about potential Atlantic League expansion, and the potential addition of a feeder league being introduced in the future, which for now has a working title of “ALPB2” according to Long Island Ducks CEO Frank Boulton.  If that league should come to fruition, it would be introduced no earlier than 2014.  Here are links with some of the latest news:

  • It appears things are moving forward for a potential new Atlantic League franchise in Malden, Massachusetts.  It would be the first league franchise located in that state, and would be as north as the league has gone since there was a franchise in Nashua, New Hampshire.  Ballpark Digest is reporting on progress toward building a new ballpark in Malden.
  • There are a handful of ballparks in the Northeast currently without tenants, (Sussex, NJ, Atlantic City, Worcester to name a few) that have been rumored to be candidates for the potential “ALPB2” feeder circuit, which would provide its best players to Atlantic League teams in a quasi-farm system.  Perhaps such a league would play a shorter-season schedule Ala the Can-Am Association (100) games, or the Short-Season Class A leagues like the New York-Penn League or Northwest League, which only play a 76-game schedule from late June to early September, to accommodate players turning pro after their final collegiate season and younger players who spend April and May in extended spring training.  Ballpark Digest is reporting on potential activity with Skylands Park in Sussex, with some interest from the Atlantic League.  That facility has hosted the two aforementioned leagues; the departed New Jersey Cardinals of the New York-Penn League moved across the street from Beaver Stadium at Penn State after the 2005 season and became the State College Spikes in a new ballpark,  and then the Sussex Skyhawks moved in, formerly of the Can-Am League.  Similarly, Ballpark Digest is reporting the ballpark in Worcester may be in play after the 2013 season now that the Worcester Tornadoes of the Can-Am League are no longer on that circuit.
  • In case you missed it this fall, here is York Daily Record Revolution beat reporter Jim Seip’s story on the plentiful expansion plans and options for the Atlantic League.
  • Speaking of Jim Seip, on his Revolution blog, Revs’ Inside Pitch,  he has some information on the Loudoun (VA) Hounds latest quest to join the Atlantic League.  They’ve shifted the location of the ballpark site, and could potentially share the facility with a professional minor league soccer franchise.  Their new target is for opening day 2014.
  • No links to share here in the final bullet point, but it’s safe to say the Sugar Land Skeeters won’t be the only franchise in the league to call Texas home forever.  Expansion options continue to be looked at in that part of the country.

Happy Holidays to all Revolution, Atlantic League and minor league baseball fans alike!

-Paul Braverman


Remembering 2012: Profile of Liubiemithz Rodriguez

Rodriguez, Liu 10

It may be the slowest time of the year for Revolution news, but we still have plenty to post here in case you missed it during the season.  As we did last year, we’ll be posting a different column at the beginning of each week from the past season of the York Revolutionary Times in case you missed an issue at the ballpark.

Not Yet, But Pretty Soon
Revs’ Rodriguez preparing himself for a second act to his baseball career

By Ron Gardner

At age 35, Revs second baseman Liubiemithz Rodriguez knows his days as an active player are dwindling all too quickly.

“Not yet, but pretty soon,” says Rodriguez with an easy smile, an uncommon reaction from most baseball players facing their fate in this same circumstance.  “It’s really hard for players to quit this game – to retire.”

So after 16 professional seasons playing a game he passionately loves, how can Rodriguez seem content, even relaxed, when discussing his life after baseball?  Maybe it’s because Rodriguez has already begun full-fledged work on what he hopes will be a decades-long second act to his baseball career, first as a coach, and hopefully one day, as a manager. 

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Why is life so hard? Because you are not Chris Nowak.

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When it comes to evaluating baseball talent, sabermetrics is the wave of the future.  When it comes to evaluating Bryce Harper, saBROmetrics puts him #1.  HA!  But I digress.

One of the best think tanks out there for advanced metrics, FanGraphs, has started to notice and take a liking to Revolution first baseman Chris Nowak.  In fact, FanGraphs’ Carston Cistulli has pegged Nowak as the best hitter in baseball currently not under contract with an MLB organization.  For Nowak’s sake, let’s hope that’s not true for much longer.  For the Revolution’s sake, having Nowak back in 2014 certainly would make York’s lineup among the most formidable in the league, regardless of who may be around him.

Some interesting stuff in that link. Among the best nuggets include the projection that Nowak would’ve hit .271 in the big leagues last season based on his Atlantic League numbers, according to a complex formula that’s way over my head.

Once you’re done with that, check this link out which is a 38-minute interview with Nowak done by Cistulli.

If this tickles your fancy, follow Carson Cistulli on Twitter, @cistulli.

-Paul Braverman


Remembering 2012: Polanco The American

Copy of Polanco, Enohel 3

It may be the slowest time of the year for Revolution news, but we still have plenty to post here in case you missed it during the season.  As we did last year, we’ll be posting a different column at the beginning of each week from the past season of the York Revolutionary Times in case you missed an issue at the ballpark. 

Enohel Polanco’s “First” Fourth of July
Now a United States citizen, this holiday will be a little different for the Revs coach

By Paul Braverman

In 14 seasons of minor league baseball, Enohel Polanco played for 20 different teams in the United States, and one in Canada.  In all, he suited up for teams located in 17 different U.S. States.  Each season, the native of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic was treated to a 4th of July fireworks show in a ballpark somewhere.  But as the colors explode over Sovereign Bank Stadium on this July 4, the Revolution bench coach will no longer be a guest.

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Winter Ball Update

 

Estadio Jose Bernardo Perez, winter home of Chris Nowak and Navegantes del Magallanes.

Estadio Jose Bernardo Perez, winter home of Chris Nowak and Navegantes del Magallanes.

 

It’s time for another Winter League update on this Friday afternoon as we’re right in the middle of the four Caribbean seasons.  Once again, there’s a ton of Atlantic League representation and recognizable names on these rosters.  We’ll focus mainly on those with York ties as always. (more…)