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Around the Atlantic League, 8/16

Well, just 10 York Revolution home games remain this season as we post this.  Are you that guy (or girl) who goes to one game a season, and keeps saying, “I’ll go next week”  and hasn’t been to a game yet?  If so, stop procrastinating and get your tickets at this link before the clock runs out:

Although the playoffs appear out of reach, if the Revolution can finish with a winning record (are 56-56 on August 16) to go along with their decisive Community Cup victory, you would have to deem the season somewhat a success considering all the unexpected roster difficulty the organization went through this year.  That’s not an excuse however – the baseball operations staff and coaching staff expect to make the playoffs regardless of these challenges.  But overall, times are pretty good for the York Revolution franchise, as 2013 will mark the fourth consecutive season at least one of the following will happen:  Win the Atlantic League Championship, make the playoffs or win the Community Cup from Lancaster.  Not bad.  Now that that’s out of the way, here we go with some bullet points!

  • For the first time this season, the Atlantic League began naming a “Player of the Day,” which in their estimation is the individual who had the biggest game the night before.  For the first time, the Revolution have taken home Player of the Day honors in back to back days. On August 14 at home, lefty Chris Cody nearly tossed a complete game shutout, scattering just five hits over 8.2 innings in a 4-0 win over Camden.  The next night at Long Island, Wilson Batista went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two steals in a 10-5 win over the Ducks.
  • Depending on when you read this, Chris Cody either leads the league in strikeouts or is second, with 111.  At 12-6 this season, he tied Wayne Franklin (2008, 12-5) for the franchise mark for most wins in a season by a lefty.  Cody is two winning decisions away from matching Corey Thurman’s franchise record for wins in a single season. (2011, 14-3.)
  • The Long Island Ducks have won this year’s “Willis Otanez returns from Mexico” Sweepstakes. While I created the name, this is actually a real thing.  Otanez, a gigantic 1B/3B from the Dominican Republic, has spent the last 13 seasons playing for various teams in the Mexican League.  In the last 12 of those seasons, he has joined an Atlantic League team for the final month or so, depending on whether this team in Mexico made the playoffs as their regular season runs March to August.  For the first six years (2002-2007) Otanez went to Bridgeport, but starting in 2008 he expanded his horizons, playing for Newark in ’08 and ’09.  In 2010, he became a Long Island Duck for the first time.  In 2011 it was off to Camden, before a return to Bridgeport last season.  It appears Otanez chooses his August/September Atlantic League destination based on who is in contention as of late, as in most of those seasons from 2008-on the team he joined was playoff-bound.  Not a surprise he chose the Ducks this time around since they are currently in first place in the Liberty Division second half standings, with Bridgeport in second, Camden out of the race and Newark no longer in the league.  We’ll see how many more years this continues, as Otanez is now 40.  He made his MLB debut at age 25 in 1998, appearing in three games with the Orioles.  In 1999 he played in 29 more for Baltimore, before finishing that season in 42 games with the Toronto Blue Jays, his only big league time.  An original signee of the Dodgers as an 18-year-old in 1991, this is his 23rd professional season.
  • It’s still looking pretty favorable that there will be an Atlantic League franchise in Malden, Massachusetts in the near future.  However, according to the Boston Globe and Ballpark Digest, a ballpark in Boston suburb would open for the 2016 season at the earliest.
  • “The Diamond League,” which plans to be a developmental league in the Northeast similar to what the Frontier League is to the Midwest, has had it’s launch pushed back from 2014 to 2015.  Related to the Atlantic League because it’s a project of Frank Boulton, founder of both the Atlantic League and the Long Island Ducks.  Like the Frontier, this league will be more focused on player development and won’t feature the Triple-A and MLB veterans you see in the Atlantic League; making it more of a Short-Season Class A-type league.  Hopefully the Diamond League will return pro baseball to markets in the Northeast such as Atlantic City, Sussex, NJ and Worcester, Mass., all of which were in the Can-Am League at some point.

Willis Otanez

-Paul Braverman


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