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Archive for January, 2014

Revs add righty Spottiswood, re-sign Paniagua and Castro

Ofilio Castro photo by Joe Doll

Ofilio Castro photo by Joe Doll

The Revs capped a busy first week of signings today, locking up two very dependable returning position players in Salvador Paniagua and Ofilio Castro, as well as the first new name of the 2014 season in RHP Billy Spottiswood. Read all of the details in the press release after the jump: (more…)

Diamondbacks sending coach Vince Harrison to Missoula, MT

Vince Harrison

When the Arizona Diamondbacks announced their minor league coaching staffs for the 2014 season on December 20, former Revolution third baseman Vince Harrison was ticketed for the rookie level Arizona Summer League as hitting coach.  Turns out, he’s been re-assigned to the D-backs affiliate in the Pioneer League, the Missoula (Montana) Osprey, also classified as rookie ball.

Harrison’s most recent professional coaching job was with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he spent the 2012 season on the staff of the Class A West Virginia Power in the South Atlantic League.  His brother Josh Harrison remains with the Pirates, mostly in a Major League capacity at third base.

Harrison, 34, retired as a player after being named the 2011 Atlantic League Playoffs MVP, batting over .500 in the four-game Championship Series win over Long Island, capping York’s second consecutive title.  He was drafted by Tampa Bay in 2001 following a collegiate career at Kentucky, where he was also a wide receiver on the football team in addition to baseball.


Chad Tracy signed by Orioles

Tracy, Chad 5

After much confusion yesterday (1/29) on Twitter, it is indeed true that first baseman Chad Tracy, the one who played in 59 games for the Revolution last season and NOT the Major League veteran who played in 92 games for the Washington Nationals in 2013, has signed with the Baltimore Orioles.  MASN Orioles reporter Roch Kubatko finally cleared things up, although we object to use of the phrase “other” Chad Tracy.  We liked our Chad Tracy best.

Once it came out that Baltimore had signed a first baseman named Chad Tracy, Twitter was flooded with reporters confirming it was the elder Tracy, who has 938 games of Major League experience dating back to 2004.  This was due to the fact most weren’t aware that our Chad Tracy is also a corner infielder, leading to the mix-up.  You know what they say about when you assume.


Thurman locked in for seventh season in York

Thurman, Corey 30

The ball is officially rolling.  With less than three months until Opening Day, the first piece of the 2014 Revolution roster is in place, and fittingly, it’s the man who has worn the uniform longer than anyone else.  Corey Thurman will return for a franchise record seventh season, determined to bounce back from a tough year last season.  The Revs could also have as many as three more player signings to announce before the end of the week, so stay tuned.  The press release on Thurman’s signing is after the jump. (more…)

Remembering 2013: “My first day in the big leagues”

The dreaded off-season…continues.  But fear not, despite news being a little slower this time of year, we have plenty of content to keep you occupied here at BlogToBlogChamps.  Each Monday, we’ll publish a feature from the 2013 York Revolutionary Times, the official game day magazine of the York Revolution for you to re-enjoy, or read for the first time in case you missed it at the ballpark.  For our final installment of the off-season, Ron Gardner spoke with each Revolution player who had played in the Majors as last season ended, and they each reminisced about their first day in the show.

By Ron Gardner

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when a young man first dreams about playing in the big leagues.

Perhaps it was when he received his first baseball glove or plastic wiffle ball bat.  Or when he got his first Little League hit or struck out his first batter. Maybe it was when he made the varsity team in high school or when a college coach first said he was good enough to keep playing at the next level.  But in every case, making it to the Major Leagues involves years of brutally hard work on dusty, scorching hot baseball diamonds and sweaty weight rooms and commitment measured not just in countless swings and throws, but also injuries and surgeries.  For nearly every player who makes it to “The Show,” it has truly been a lifetime effort.  Eight current members of the Revolution ultimately succeeded in making their Major League dreams come true.  The memories of that special day when each player made his big league debut remain truly powerful and compelling years later and for most, simply cannot be shared without a broad smile.

Anthony Slama (Minnesota Twins, MLB debut:  7/21/10)
Anthony Slama didn’t have much time to think about his big league debut.  After getting a late-night call that the Twins wanted him in Minneapolis for a game against the Cleveland Indians that evening, he spent most of the next day just trying to get from Rochester, NY to Target Field in Minnesota.  “I got a call at 2:30 in the morning on Friday night, it woke me up out of bed, saying that I was going to get called up,” Slama said.  “I was excited, of course.  I told my wife, who was my girlfriend at that time, she packed everything up and my flight was at 7 a.m. the next day.  We got a little bit of sleep and then got to the airport and I was ready to get on the plane, checked in and (found out) they didn’t have my flight.”  It turned out that Slama was mistakenly booked for 7 a.m. on Sunday, not Saturday.  With no other seats available and desperate not to miss his Major League debut, Slama had no choice other than to take his girlfriend’s seat on a different flight at 11 a.m. in hopes of making it by game time.  “I barely made it,” Slama said.  “I made it (in) at 5:30 (and) I was rushing through the airport trying to get to the stadium.”  It turned out to be a very good thing that he did, as Slama was called upon to pitch the ninth inning that night, with the Twins leading 6-0.  “The only thing I remember was giving up a base hit to my first batter (Matt LaPorta), but our second baseman (Orlando Hudson) came over and gave me the ball and put his ear to my chest to see how loud my heart was beating,” Slama said.  “He said “Welcome to the big leagues, now get your three outs.’  That kind of made me laugh a little bit and calm down.”  Slama then posted back-to-back strikeouts of Shelly Duncan and Trevor Crowe, and had a 0-2 count on Jason Donald looking to record the game’s final out.  “I was trying so hard to strike him out – the crowd was on (their) feet – I ended up getting him to ground out to third,” Slama said.  “It was a big deal.  My heart was pounding out of my chest after that.  It was cool.  Both his future wife and parents were able to make it to the game by the sixth inning, in plenty of time to see him work the ninth.  “I don’t remember being all that nervous.” Slama said.  “It was exciting – it wasn’t scary.  I was thrilled to warm up in a big league bullpen; I was thrilled to make that jog out there.  It was fear that I wasn’t going to make it (to the game), then it was just exhilaration while I was pitching.”


Remembering 2013: Patrick Arlis moves on to next career

The dreaded off-season…continues.  But fear not, despite news being a little slower this time of year, we have plenty of content to keep you occupied here at BlogToBlogChamps.  Each Monday, we’ll publish a feature from the 2013 York Revolutionary Times, the official game day magazine of the York Revolution for you to re-enjoy, or read for the first time in case you missed it at the ballpark.  This week, re-visit the decision Patrick Arlis had to make back in July, to cut his season short with the Revolution and retire in order to start his next career as a teacher.

Arlis, Patrick 3

By Paul Braverman

Forgive Patrick Arlis if he isn’t as emotional as you’d expect 20 minutes after his (first) career ended. It helps to know that Arlis, even in his 12th professional season, still seems somewhat surprised he was able to play professional baseball at all.

Arlis had to call it a career after the Revolution’s home game on July 28 against Sugar Land.  He holds a Master’s Degree in elementary education, and had his eye on a possible phys-ed teaching job for a while.  An offer to interview for this school year came unexpectedly in June, and once Arlis was approved by the school board on July 17, he decided he’d end his baseball career to teach fourth, fifth and sixth graders 10 minutes from where he lives in Bourbonnais, Illinois, 70 miles south of Chicago.  While he had planned to be with the Revolution all season, the timing of the school year in Illinois beginning on August 19 made that impossible.


Liu Rodriguez hired by Brewers as minor league coach

Rodriguez, Liu 71

Liubiemithz Rodriguez, whose four seasons in a Revolution uniform are eclipsed by only Corey Thurman, has retired as a player to join the Milwaukee Brewers organization as a minor league coach.

Rodriguez, 37, a native of Caracas, Venezuela had been transitioning into a career in coaching since the beginning of the 2012 season, when he returned for his final season in York as a player and infield coach on Andy Etchebarren’s staff.  Rodriguez is largely credited with helping second baseman Andres Perez that season after some early throwing error woes – so much so that Perez turned into one of the steadiest fielders in the league and was an MVP candidate in 2012 and 2013.

Rodriguez will begin with the Brewers Rookie level team in the Arizona Summer League in June following extended spring training.  The fact he’s bi-lingual and speaks very good English should benefit him in working with a variety of players.  Last season, Rodriguez played overseas in the Italian Baseball League.  Typically they play just twice a week there, easing him into his new role.  Despite his part-time player status and coaching responsibilities in 2012 however, Liu went out on a high note, batting .329 in 64 games with three homers and 39 RBI.

For Rodriguez getting into coaching was a goal he’d been shooting for dating a few years back; our Ron Gardner profiled his career and coaching aspirations in 2012.

Liu logged his only Major League time in 39 games for the White Sox in 1999, and has one MLB home run and 12 RBI to his credit.

-Paul Braverman

Ian Thomas invited to MLB spring training with Braves

Ian thomas braves

We’ve pontificated here for a while that former Revolution southpaw Ian Thomas has the best chance to be the next York alum to reach the Majors, which would make him the fifth former Rev to do so.  Thomas took a big step forward in accomplishing that today, when he was invited by the Atlanta Braves to Major League spring training.  We first saw the news reported on Twitter by The York Dispatch Revolution beat reporter John Walk.

While Thomas’s chances at making the 25-man roster out of camp are very remote after his first season at Double-A Mississippi in 2013, he will get his feet wet against big league competition in camp, and hopefully in Grapefruit League action.  That’s an accomplishment in itself for a player without Triple-A experience.  After two superb seasons in Atlanta’s system, he’ll likely be ticketed for a season at Triple-A Gwinnett.  After exclusively being a reliever as a pro, the Braves made him a starter for his final 13 appearances of last season plus playoffs, where he continued to find success.

They’ll probably want to see Thomas in a full Triple-A season to decide if he’s Major League material, and hopefully he continues to perform and doesn’t have to make a return-trip to Double-A.  However, if you perform in Triple-A, you’re of course always only the proverbial “one phone call away.”  His relative young age for an Atlantic League alum makes him an attractive option long-term for Atlanta, and his versatility to start or relieve only helps.

Thomas, who will turn 27 in April, was signed off York’s roster in May of 2012 by the Braves.  Should he reach the bigs he’d be just the second former Rev to make his MLB debut, joining fellow lefty hurler Scott Rice on last season’s Mets.

-Paul Braverman

Revolution hire Paul Fletcher as pitching coach

The York Revolution has hired Paul Fletcher as the team’s new pitching coach, it was announced today by manager Mark Mason.  Fletcher joins returning third base coach Enohel Polanco on Mason’s coaching staff for the 2014 season.

Fletcher brings a wealth of experience to the Revolution, having worked in baseball in many capacities throughout the course of his career, which has included roles as a player, pitching coach, manager, and for many years as an accomplished pitching instructor.

Fletcher’s professional career began in 1992 when he was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 24th round of the Major League draft, after a decorated college career at the University of Tennessee where he was an all-SEC selection in 1991, breaking school records for wins, strikeouts, and innings pitched.  After initially breaking into the pro ranks in the Royals farm system, the left-hander pitched for Ohio Valley of the Frontier League, earning a contract from there with the Chicago White Sox organization.  Fletcher later returned to the Frontier League where the former starter pitched for the Springfield Capitals as a closer to cap his five-year playing career, before making the transition to pitching coach with that team in 1997.

In three years as pitching coach in Springfield, Fletcher helped guide the Capitals to two league championships while producing future Major League pitchers Jason Simontacchi and Matt Duff.  Fletcher also spent one season as manager in Springfield in 2000, winning a first half title.


Remembering 2013: “Young Revolution” continues to grow

Young Revs 3

By Paul Braverman

A huge aspect of the York Revolution’s community outreach is to grow the game of baseball and softball in York County. That starts with having league nights for almost every youth baseball league in the county, and the annual “Girl’s Softball Night” event, one of the largest annual theme nights at Sovereign Bank Stadium. Through these nights and other special events, the Revs support youth players of every interest and ability.

At the elite level, the Revolution has taken it a step further by partnering with an independent non-profit organization to form the “Young” Revolution, the youth and teenage baseball program competing in high-level tournaments throughout the mid-Atlantic region.  Founded as the Revolution was also playing their inaugural season in 2007, the program now has teams beginning at eight and under, through 15 and under.  The long term goal is to provide players with a place to play during the summer months from ages eight to 18, and they’ve also expanded into girl’s softball, with 12 and under and 14 and under teams.

But if you think this is some type of intramural exercise to kill time until school starts…think again.


Revolution to acquire Sports Radio 1350 WOYK

woyk-baseballThe York Revolution announced today they are purchasing Sports Radio 1350 WOYK, the broadcast home of Revolution Baseball and York College Basketball.  The station also airs national NFL games on Westwood One.

Revolution/YCP hoops play-by-play announcer and all around radio aficionado Darrell Henry will become General Manager of WOYK once the transaction is complete this March.

The full press release from the Revolution is after the jump.

Eric Patterson signed by White Sox

Patterson, Eric 15

The news comes courtesy of Chicago Tribune White Sox writer Colleen Kane:

Patterson batted .275 with 13 home runs and 38 RBI in 62 games for the Revolution last season, earning him a spot on the Freedom Division All-Star team.  Immediately following the Atlantic League All-Star Game in Southern Maryland, Patterson was picked up by the Brewers on July 12.  Though playing everyday for York, he was in a super-utility role for the Revs, frequently playing either corner outfield position in addition to second and short.  Considering his versatility and past Major League experience, it should come as no surprise he found work quickly after he and the Brewers parted ways.

Out of spring training, Patterson could be ticketed for Triple-A Charlotte, who is opening a brand new uptown ballpark next to Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers, after years of playing in a suburb, Fort Mill, SC.  That’s right; the team was not only not playing in the city they claimed to be from, they weren’t even in the same state.  (Fort Mill is actually located in York County, South Carolina!)

A product of Georgia Tech, Patterson played in 226 MLB games between 2007 and and 2011 with the Cubs, A’s, Red Sox and Padres.  He’s the younger brother of outfielder and 12-year MLB veteran Corey Patterson.

-Paul Braverman

Remembering 2013: Andy Marte profile

The dreaded off-season has arrived.  But fear not, despite news being a little slower this time of year, we have plenty of content to keep you occupied here at BlogToBlogChamps.  Each Monday, we’ll publish a feature from the 2013 York Revolutionary Times, the official game day magazine of the York Revolution for you to re-enjoy, or read for the first time in case you missed it at the ballpark.  This week, re-visit the career of third baseman Andy Marte, who began last season in York but ended it in the Angels organization, and has signed with the Diamondbacks for 2014.  Previously, Marte had played in the Majors for the Braves and Indians, and discussed his career with Ron Gardner.

Marte, Andy 15

By Ron Gardner

There’s no getting around the fact that Revs’ third baseman Andy Marte has endured years of some downright awful commentary from people who write about Major League Baseball for a living.

To understand why that is, we first need to go back in time to the winter of 2005.  Marte, who the Atlanta Braves signed as an international free agent in 2000 as a precocious 16-year-old from Villa Tapia, Dominican Republic, was coming off a monster 2004 season with the Braves’ Double-A affiliate in Greenville, SC that simply wowed minor league talent evaluators.