Remembering 2014: Memories of 500 home games with Darrell Henry
The off-season is upon us, but we have plenty of content to keep you occupied here at BlogToBlogChamps. Each Monday, we’ll publish a feature from the 2014 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. The 2014 season marked the 500th home game in Santander Stadium history. The Times asked the only radio broadcaster in Revolution history about his favorite moments, and to reminisce about the milestone.
June 6 and a 3-2 win over Sugar Land at Santander Stadium marked the 500th regular season home game in the history of York’s eight-year-old downtown ballpark. To the best of our knowledge, there is only one person, other than man-of-few-words DownTown, who has witnessed every inning at home. York Revolution broadcaster and Sports Radio 1350 WOYK General Manager Darrell Henry reminisces on this latest Revs milestone:
On the validation of being successful and still a draw in season eight:
I can’t really remember what summers were like in York before we had this stadium. It’s become my life. It’s become life for a lot of people in this area during the summer. It’s been all good from my vantage point. The stadium looks just as good as it did from the start, and it’s really become the place to be on a summer night in York.
On being the only voice of the Revs thus far and having a career aspiration come to his hometown:
I was resigned to having to leave York to do this type of work. Hopefully my wife would’ve followed me wherever I went. Going back to my senior year of college, she was my girlfriend at the time, she had mailing packages all over the floor of her apartment. We were sending out to every team in minor league baseball. But the more and more I heard about the Revolution, and I got a sense of the excitement building, this is absolutely where I wanted to be, and couldn’t have been happier to get this job, and to still be here in 2014. I was around for all of the frustration throughout the years, when it looked like we were going to get a team and it didn’t happen. Just the number of things this stadium has created; the number of jobs it has created downtown, and now we have Codo next door, new businesses downtown near the ballpark, Sports Radio 1350 has blossomed with York Professional Baseball now owning it, that would’ve never happened. In that sense, the Revolution has created so many other things than just the game we see on the field every night.
On seeing all 500 games at Santander Stadium:
There’s nothing better than a game here. This place has charm, it’s very unique across all of professional baseball. One of the things I’ve gotten an appreciation of this season in having the opportunity to take a couple of innings off for the first time, is seeing the stadium from other vantage points. I’ve really gotten an appreciation of how much energy is in this ballpark. Sometimes I’m cooped up in my little seat here where I never stray from during the game, but I’ve gotten an appreciation for how much energy is in the ballpark every night. I wish the summer lasted all year.
On the lead-up to clinching the first playoff berth in 2008:
In 2008, the fans really identified with that team. They really got to know those guys. It was the first year we had a fully completed stadium. I remember looking out at the stadium during Fan Fest that year, and thinking “wow, we’ve arrived.” The home opener that year was great, the first time in the finished ballpark, and we had some great moments that season. Kennard Jones went 6-for-6 and had our first walk-off home run here, and that team was really firing on all cylinders in the second half. Chris Ashby set the Atlantic League hit streak record that season at 31 games, and finished it at home, so that was amazing stuff. But if I went back through all the moments, Keoni DeRenne hitting that home run off the clubhouse after the bench-clearing fight with Bridgeport would definitely be up there. That team had an attitude about them.
On hosting the Atlantic League All-Star Game in 2011:
Not just the game, but the night before, the dinner, the meet and greet with fans Downtown…you have people from all over the league coming in and seeing some of the best landmarks of our city. It was a neat experience, the way the front office put it together. Reed Gunderson was our All-Star Game Coordinator, who did an unbelievable job. The ballpark that night , 8,000-plus in here as our biggest crowd ever, I’ll never forget that. That was a night we were able to showcase to players around the league, they might come here anyway but I hear players talk about other ballparks and places they like to come to, and York is always at the top of the list. And then of course, we have guys in this league that want to change teams and come here and play when they have the opportunity, so efforts like hosting the All-Star Game really pay off. It’s whole package: Having fans that care and a nice place to play, and a lot of players here have made York there home at some point, or permanently.
On winning a championship in front of the home fans, in 2011:
My favorite moment: I immediately go to 2011 and winning it here. But another favorite memory after winning it in Bridgeport in 2010 in front of some of our fans is the celebration at the Strand-Capitol just a few blocks away, when all the fans could come and share in the championship. The whole series against Long Island in 2011 though, not just the day we clinched. To win both games at home, we hit a bunch of home runs, and the energy of the fans during that series is an all-time memory.
On all-time favorite celebrity guests at Santander Stadium:
Certainly Brooks Robinson who has been here many times, he’s a favorite for sure. When Roger Clemens came, that was wild and he was very gracious with us and with the media. We’ve had some good ones; I remember that first year we had Jayson Stark one night, we had Jared Fogle the Subway guy another night, they both came on the air with me so that was cool. We had a lot of former Orioles visit those first couple of seasons, I remember Billy Ripken was in the booth with me one night. The hot stove luncheon we had this year with Tim Kurkjian from ESPN was pretty cool. So we’ve had some good guests come through for sure.
On his all-time favorite Revolution player, other than Corey Thurman of course:
I love them all, I really do, but I became really close with Wayne Franklin from the first couple of years. He taught me a lot about getting into professional baseball even though my role is very different from the players. I was very young at the time, still growing into it, so he’s always been a favorite and to this day still one of my best friends.