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Awkward

Revolution suffer first 4-game sweep at home in franchise history, historical struggles vs. SOMD continue

When it comes to the ebb and flow of a long baseball season, this might be the most ebby and flowy first 17 games the Revolution have had in their history.  Just days after completing the first ever road sweep of Lancaster, a 5-1 loss to Southern Maryland on May 11 marked the first time York has been swept at home in a four-game series in their nine seasons. It’s pretty remarkable it took this long, not that that would come as any consolation at the moment. It is a familiar feeling of despair with the Blue Crabs involved however; despite the names changing over the years, facing that club has usually not yielded positive results for the Revolution.

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Revolution begin fundraising effort to try and trade for Ryan Howard

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Oh those nutty promotions.  However, I wouldn’t try to suggest to the official team Twitter account that the Revolution’s efforts to try and raise enough money to acquire Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard are anything less than genuine.  The official release from the team is below:

News broke on Wednesday, March 18 that the Philadelphia Phillies are willing to pay $50 million of the $60 million still owed to Ryan Howard over the final two years of his contract, in order to trade the first baseman.

After a quick look at the numbers, this left the York Revolution of the Atlantic League roughly $9,997,000 short of the funds required to put Howard in a Revolution uniform for the 2015 season.  An Atlantic League maximum salary is roughly $3,000 per month.

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Three Revolution pitchers bat in July 12 game

Vaughan, Beau 46

Despite the strikeout, Beau Vaughan has plenty reason to smile after finally getting his first professional at-bat in his 11th season.

The planets aligned for the Revolution to have a short bench for the July 12 game against Bridgeport, with Johan Limonta departing for the Mexican League the prior evening.  The team was also without shortstop Wilson Valdez on the 12th, an excused and expected absence, as he was honored at the Nationals-Phillies game as part of the Phillies’ “10 Years of Citizen’s Bank Park” series.

Valdez, who played the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the club, was brought back to commemorate the game where he pitched the 19th inning in on May 25, 2011 against the Reds.  Valdez started the game at second base, tossed a scoreless inning, and wound up the winning pitcher when a Raul Ibanez sac fly scored Jimmy Rollins in the bottom of the 19th for a 5-4 Phillies win.  It marked the first time a player started in the field, moved to pitcher and wound up with the winning decision since 1921- when Babe Ruth did it.

So Valdez threw out the first pitch tonight in Philadelphia and was honored for the achievement as they celebrate a decade of their ballpark.  He has been adamant about not pitching again, in order to keep his career ERA at 0.00, and his career record an un-blemished 1-0.  His absence had the blessing of Manager Mark Mason, especially so after the Revolution wrapped up a playoff spot by winning the first half.  This left York with the shortest of bench however, with the only extra player the second catcher, Alberto Espinosa.  When left fielder Jason Repko sustained an injury in the third inning, Mason’s hands were tied.

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Revolution to host final three games of division series

A major perk of winning your division in the first half is the option to choose which first round playoff games you are going to host, per Atlantic League rules.  The Revolution has decided to host games 3, 4 (if necessary) and 5 (if necessary) in the first round, September 26-28.  Games 1 and 2 will be played September 24-25.

This could get interesting if Sugar Land qualifies for the playoffs as either the second half Freedom Division winner or as a wild card.  Nine of the Revolution’s final 12 regular season games are already against the Skeeters.  York hosts Sugar Land for three September 9-11, before ending the regular season with six in Texas September 16-21.  (Every team in the league plays one six game series at Sugar Land during the season, to reduce travel.)

Should Skeeters-Revs be the first round match up, York would stay in the Houston area two extra days following the conclusion of the regular season, before starting the division series on the 24th, making the choice to host the conclusion of the series even more convenient, as to not have to fly down to Sugar Land more than once.  It also sets up a scenario where at minimum, a stretch of 12 of 15 games the Revolution will play could be against the Skeeters including playoffs, with as many as 14 of 17 games against Sugar Land if this hypothetical match-up in the playoffs were to go a full five games.

The full press release on the division series schedule is after the jump:

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Here’s a photo of Chris Cody pitching in Taiwan

Cody Elephants

Now that the jet-lag has worn off following Chris Cody’s 18-hour flight from New York to Taiwan, he has made his first start for his new club, the Brother Elephants.  The Elephants play their home games in Taipei City, the largest city on the Island of Taiwan.  They play at Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium, which has a capacity of 12,500.  In Cody’s first start, he went five innings and allowed two earned runs in a no-decision in a game the Elephants won.

Cody’s contract was purchased from the Revolution back on June 24.  It’s his first overseas experience in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, after pitching in the Dominican Republic in winter ball for the first time last year for Aguilas Cibaenas.

-Paul Braverman


Chris Cody leaving for Taiwan

Cody Cover

There were rumblings over the winter of Chris Cody pitching in the Chinese Professional Baseball League on the island of Taiwan this season, which delayed his official signing with the Revolution for 2014 until March 14.  Even after that, into York’s preseason camp, it still looked like he might depart for a potentially lucrative contract overseas, which didn’t happen.

As you can see above, Cody is gracing the cover of the next issue of the York Revolutionary Times, in which he talked about the situation in more detail.  (Read the upcoming issue at Santander Stadium the next eight home games, June 26 – July 3).  It’s now official though, Cody has a contract to pitch for the Brother Elephants through the end of August.  The season over there lasts into the fall through October however, so how long Cody will pitch in Taiwan remains to be seen.  He could return to York for the stretch-run of the regular season and hopefully playoffs in September, should he only pitch through August.

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Here’s a photo of Tracy McGrady throwing a bullpen while in York

Enjoy. Photo by Revolution team photographer Tom Moschella.

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Jason Repko returns to Revolution, Stantrel Smith released

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After making a brief 24-game cameo with the Revolution to begin last season, outfielder Jason Repko has returned to the organization.  Repko, 33, has Major League time in seven seasons between 2005 and 2012 with the Dodgers, Twins and Red Sox, 360 MLB games total.  He’s the owner of 16 big league home runs and 67 RBI.

Drafted by the Dodgers in the first round in 1999, Repko made his MLB debut in Los Angeles in 2005, appearing in a career-high 129 Major League games that season.  He hit .253 with a homer and 11 RBI with the Revolution last year.  2014 is Repko’s 15th professional season.

To make room on the roster and in a crowded Revs outfield group right now, Stantrel Smith was released.  He signed with York less than a week ago on May 19, appearing in just two games with six at-bats.  He recorded a walk and a run, but not a hit in that time.

The current active roster remains at 27 with six outfielders, with the league cut down to 25 active coming on June 1.

-Paul Braverman


Tracy McGrady to start against Revolution on Thursday

McGrady Skeeters

It’s official according to a press release sent out on Tuesday, May 20 by the Sugar Land Skeeters:  RHP Tracy McGrady will make his second regular season start for the Skeeters against the Revolution in the series finale from Sugar Land on Thursday night.  The game will air live on WatchESPN.com, set for an 8:05 (Eastern Time) first pitch, concluding the longest road trip of the season for York at 10 games.

Sugar Land is clearly bringing the 34-year-old along slowly, in his first year of professional baseball after a 16-year Hall-of-Fame worthy NBA career.  In his last action at home against the Somerset Patriots on May 10, he started, but faced just nine batters in 1.2 innings pitched.  He allowed two hits, two walks, two runs (both earned) and a solo homer to Somerset shortstop Edwin Maysonet.  Somerset prevailed 5-3, giving McGrady the loss in his professional debut.  However, an overflow crowd of 7,701 was on hand at Constellation Field.

The Skeeters will visit York for the first time in 2014 June 6-9, a four-game series.  It is expected McGrady will travel with Sugar Land for the series and be in York, although that still has to be confirmed.  It is unclear whether he will pitch in York.  McGrady hasn’t yet appeared in a road game.  Sugar Land’s other visits to York are August 6-8 and September 9-11.

It would be interesting if McGrady and Revolution reliever Mark Hendrickson ever found themselves in the same game…before embarking on a 10-year MLB career Hendrickson played in four NBA seasons from 1996 to 2000, and was on the court against McGrady three times.

The full release from Sugar Land is after the jump:

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Matt Neil, Mike Massaro off Revolution roster on eve of camp

A day before preseason camp is to begin at Santander Stadium, the York Revolution roster shrunk from 30 to 28, with the news that starting pitcher Matt Neil has been signed by the Tampa Bay Rays, and outfielder Mike Massaro will not report and has been placed on the inactive list.

The circumstances around each are good news…Neil’s offer from Tampa Bay came just two days after his signing with the Revolution was announced, marking the second time that’s happened to the Revs this preseason, after the same situation with starter Shawn Hill and Toronto in March.  Massaro is interviewing for scholastic coaching positions in his native Colorado.  Originally supposed to be the Revolution’s leadoff man and centerfielder, it’s not completely out of the question that Massaro could play for York this season.  If he does however, it will be later in the season, and he will not be joining the club for camp at this time.

Expect Neil to be assigned to either Triple-A Durham, or Double-A Montgomery in the Rays system, after splitting last season at each level with the Marlins.  Massaro, was set to enter his first Atlantic League season after spending the last five with Gary Southshore, where he hit .318 combined in that time establishing himself as one of the top hitters in the American Association.  His nine-year professional career may be coming to an end should he get into coaching; he ascended as high as Triple-A Sacramento with the Oakland A’s in 2008.

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Shawn Hill to Blue Jays two days after signing with York

Hill 9-12

While the York Revolution still retain his Atlantic League rights, and he and the organization have agreed to a contract, starting pitcher Shawn Hill has been signed by the Toronto Blue Jays for the third time in his career.  The transaction comes just two days after he agreed to a contract with York on March 21.

Hopefully Hill will at least make Toronto’s Triple-A club in Buffalo out of what’s left of spring training, but if there isn’t a spot for him when camp breaks, he very well could be back with the Revolution shortly.  Turning 33 on April 28, Hill has shown no indication he is leaning toward retirement yet.  Upon agreeing to a return to York, Hill had been throwing for MLB scouts, and as it turns out the Canadian’s home-Provence organization was intrigued enough to take a flyer on him.

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Chad Tracy signed by Orioles

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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.

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Remembering 2013: Can’t win ’em all

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, we look back at some eccentric General Manager hi-jinks in York and beyond.  Often, team struggles can be turned into a positive for an organization.

By Paul Braverman

The York Revolution front office staff awoke for their game day meeting on the morning of Saturday, May 24, 2008 to a sun-splashed York, PA.  Despite the recent struggles of the second-year Revolution, who were 8-19 at the time, at least this was one day where the staff wouldn’t have to worry about the tarp.  No rain was in the forecast.

Once all the details had been discussed for that night’s game, Matt O’Brien, then Revs General Manager proclaimed:  “We’re bad right now, we gotta do something.  What are we gonna do?” he said in challenge to the rest of the staff.

Knowing that nobody in the room had anything to do with assembling the team, the staff of minor league baseball veterans and quick-learning newbies immediately knew what O’Brien meant.  It was time to break up a losing streak.

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Jose Herrera hired by Nationals as minor league coach


(Hat tip to CBS 21 Sports Director Jason Bristol for first bringing this to our attention.)

Former Revolution outfielder/designated hitter Jose Herrera is the latest alum to pop up in a blitz of December, post-winter meeting moves.  Although Herrera retired as a Rev following the 2011 season, he is remaining in the game.

Herrera’s first stop in coaching will be as hitting instructor for the Washington Nationals entry in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League.  If you’re unfamiliar, it’s basically the same age-range and level of play as the Appalachian or Gulf Coast Leagues, but for Spanish-speaking players between the ages of 17 and 20 who have recently signed their first pro contract.  Like the other rookie leagues, they play between a 65 and 70 game season beginning in June.

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Atlantic League World Series connections

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Infamous super-agent Scott Boras advised his client Stephen Drew to reject the Diamondbacks offers in 2004 and start his professional career with the Camden Riversharks instead. It resulted in a four million dollar pay day for Drew, and now the Riversharks have an alum playing in the World Series.

Three former Atlantic League players have significant ties to this year’s World Series. The only active player participating who is an ALPB alum is Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew, who spent 19 games with the Camden Riversharks in 2005, where he hit a robust .427 with four homers and 18 RBI.  Drew was drafted 15th overall out of Florida State by Arizona in 2004, but came to a negotiating impasse with the organization on his signing bonus.  At that time, once a player was drafted, that organization retained his rights until a deal could be reached.  Now, there is a strict deadline just weeks after the draft.  If the player isn’t signed by August, he becomes eligible for the June draft again the following year.

After his 19 games in Camden in ’05, Drew did come to terms with the Diamondbacks and was awarded a $4 million dollar bonus, eventually making is Major League debut a season later in 2006.  Drew also played in last year’s playoffs with Oakland.  He’ll attempt to match his brother, the now retired J.D. Drew, who was part of a World Series champion his first season in Boston in 2007, where he was teammates with future Revolution outfielder Bobby Kielty.  You may remember Kielty hitting a somewhat important home run in that series against Colorado.  The eldest brother, pitcher Tim Drew, made 12 starts for Bridgeport in 2008 before retiring, after 35 appearances and 11 starts in the Majors.

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Watch Rommie Lewis and Nick Green pitch in Taiwan

We came across some interesting YouTube videos in the office.  Back in August, Revolution pitchers Rommie Lewis (Lamigo Monkeys) and Nick Green (EDA Rhinos) each had their contracts purchased by teams in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, located on the island of Taiwan.

First up, watch Rommie Lewis come out of the bullpen with his team ahead 2-1. (Skip ahead to the 2 hour, 41 minute mark):


Next, here are the EDA Rhinos closing out what was a win for Nick Green against the Brother Elephants:


Finally, here’s a highlight video, (with some low lights mixed in) of a game Green (#45) pitched for the Rhinos against the Monkeys, where he was the winner again:


Scott Rice upbeat after surgery

Current Mets, former Revolution pitcher Scott Rice is ending this season on the disabled list, after being shut down on September 6 with a hernia injury.  I’m a couple weeks late on this, but judging by a tweet he sent out, the surgery went fine and he’s in good spirits:

Rice Surgery

What are kind of cookies are those on the tray?  Those look good.

-Paul Braverman


Revolution flavor in first round of PCL playoffs

The Salt Lake Bees (Angels) are facing the Las Vegas 51s (Mets) in the first round of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League playoffs, a best of five series.  The series will feature three former Revolution players, two of which were plucked off the York roster earlier this season.

Starting pitcher Matt Fox is getting the Game 1 start on Wednesday 9/4 in Salt Lake City.  He’ll be facing former Revolution teammate Andy Marte, who finished the regular season with a flourish after joining the Angels organization, batting .362 with six home runs and 18 RBI in 26 games with the Bees.   Fox was picked up by the Mets in May and has made 20 starts for the 51s since, Marte went from York to the Angels in August.

Las Vegas also has former Revolution (2010) lefty reliever Justin Hampson.  All three players hope to return to the Majors with a September call-up once the PCL postseason has concluded.  Fox (Twins, Red Sox), Marte (Braves, Indians) and Hampson (Rockies, Padres, Mets) all have prior MLB time.

The series starts with two games at Salt Lake before shifting to Vegas for the final three if necessary. The winner will take on the victor of the Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals) and Oklahoma City RedHawks (Astros) series for the PCL Championship.

-Paul Braverman


Final 2013 War of The Roses series is “Battle of Palmito Ranch”

We don’t talk nearly enough Civil War history on this blog…until now!  As you know, the weekend of August 23-25, the Revolution are merely trying to run up the score on the Barnstormers in Lancaster in the 2013 War of The Roses, already having clinched the Community Cup by winning 11 of the first 17 games between the two this season.

Since I graduated high school, and to the best of my recollection, college, allow me to explain how this is parallel to the final, confusing battle of the Civil War:

Robert E. Lee surrendered his Confederate Army in Virginia in a meeting with Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, VA on April 9, 1865, effectively ending the war.  As news spread, each remaining Confederate army also surrendered wherever they were fighting once news of Lee’s surrender reached them.

The news reached the western-most front of the war last, as news traveled slow.  Over May 12-13 in Cameron County, Texas the Battle of Palmito Ranch took place nearly a month after the war ended, with each side still thinking it was going on.  Despite only having 300 soldiers to the Union’s 500, the battle is considered a resounding Confederate victory; 101 Union soldiers were captured (and shortly released thereafter), to go with four killed and 12 wounded.  The South only suffered five wounded and three captured.

So much like Palmito Ranch, any Lancaster victories this weekend in the 2013 War of The Roses wouldn’t change anything in the 2013 War of The Roses.  Hopefully the Revolution win this weekend anyway, although they’ve already won the “War.”

Either way, at least none of them will be captured.

-Paul Braverman


Somerset Patriots built their own replica cannon in dugout

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Finally, the opposing team has taken a liking to Cannonball Charlie and his weaponry.  The photo above is courtesy of Patriots pitcher Graham Taylor (@GrahamTaylor34), showing a homemade toy cannon, constructed from what appears to be paper cups, athletic tape and a Sharpie.  Looks like a couple cannonballs are there as well.

It’s hard to believe it took seven seasons for a team to make their own cannon, as of course Cannonball Charlie only fires for Revolution home runs and wins.   Unfortunately for York, the Somerset “mini-cannon” was first fired after Jeff Baisley’s 2-run homer in the sixth gave the Patriots a 3-2 lead enroute to a 4-3 victory on August 19.

On a related note, Cannonball Charlie is on Twitter now if you haven’t heard.  Follow him – @CannonBCharlie.

-Paul Braverman


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:  http://yr1.glitnirticketing.com/yrticket/web/ev_list.php?refresh=1264705453.

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!

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Brian Burgamy joins St. Paul Saints

Burgamy

Because it isn’t a day at the ballpark until we steal some of Jim Seip’s work:

The Revolution beat reporter for the York Daily Record has it over at his blog, Revs Inside Pitch, that not only did first baseman Brian Burgamy choose the St. Paul Saints of the American Association over a return to the Revolution where he played this season until going to the Mexican League on June 5, but that he also hit a walk-off homer in his first game back stateside.

After losing Brett Tomko, York’s roster is still one short at 24 active players.  While the hope was Burgamy would return, now the organization is in search of another position player or perhaps a starting pitcher for the final month of the season.

Color me surprised.  I thought he loved us.

-Paul Braverman


Corey Thurman got sweaty during a game

You’ll have to click the image to load in the large version (then click the little magnifying glass to get the really big version for full effect), but this is a very nice piece of photography by Revolution fan Chris Hall.  As any die-hard Revs fan knows, Corey Thurman works up a sweat during the pre-game “Movin’ Like Bernie” dance, and is able to maintain that sweat throughout the game.  Look at that perspiration fly out of his sleeve at each state of his delivery:

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-Paul Braverman


Octavio Martinez’s locker because yeah

I had the opportunity to catch up with former York Revolution catcher (’11) Octavio Martinez at Nationals Park before their July 2 game against the Brewers.  As faithful readers of the blog, you know he’s the bullpen catcher for the Washington Nationals, a.k.a. the best post-playing gig there is.

Look here for a video piece we shot with him next week, a Scott Youcheff production.  I’m sure a story in the York Revolutionary Times will be forthcoming as well. Until then, here’s a picture of his locker in the Nats clubhouse to hold you over:

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-Paul Braverman