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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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New alternate uniform makes debut in Sunday’s win

Stripes

No, the York Revolution have not been purchased by the Houston Astros.  They have however given solace to anyone that misses the old-school Astros striped uniform, aside from the occasional throwback day in Houston.  Indeed, that classic design was the inspiration for the Revolution’s new alternate jerseys by New Balance, the team’s on-field outfitter.  It will be worn at home and on the road.

After being debuted at Fan Fest, the Revs wore the new tops during a game for the first time on June 1, a 4-0 win at Southern Maryland.  Corey Thurman parlayed the look into seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits in the process.  As we all know, baseball players are never superstitious, therefore I’m sure this jersey (with Corey Thurman in it) tossing a shutout in its first game won’t play any role in Thurm or the rest of the team wanting to wear it often the rest of the season.  The photo of a colorful high-five line after the game is courtesy of Darrell Henry.

If you haven’t been out to the stadium yet this season…well first of all buy tickets here and stop being the Fun Police, and here’s a stunning photo after the jump of a wind-blown DownTown with a close-up of the jersey if you haven’t seen it yet:

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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.

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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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Remembering 2013: West York wins another state title

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 the second straight state championship for West York High School Baseball in 2013, and York’s transformation into a “baseball town.”

West York Celebration

By Paul Braverman

They chanted “breadsticks, breadsticks!” not for just one opposing batter in the lineup, but for any batter with two strikes.  They would occasionally yell “hit the wall!” in unison with their team at bat.  If that sounds typical, consider this:

The game was in University Park, PA, and the York Revolution were about 240 miles away in Southern Maryland.

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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


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


Former Rev Chris Walker sets all-time Atlantic League triples record

Walker, Chris 1

While he will go down as one of the greatest Camden Riversharks ever, outfielder Chris Walker did spend one full season with the Revolution, helping them to their second consecutive championship in 2011.  That season he legged out four triples for York.  Last night, Walker tripled and drove in a run in the Sharks 6-0 win at home against Southern Maryland, his 37th in the Atlantic League.  That establishes a new league record, bumping aside fellow Riversharks legend Brad Strauss who played for Camden from 2001-2007 and another former Rev, Kennard Jones who had 36 each to share the all-time ALPB mark.

Walker is also currently fourth in league history in stolen bases, at 205.  That record is likely out of reach, as Billy Hall leads the way with 290 all-time, which is 59 more steals than second-place Rolando Avila’s 231.  A draftee of the Cubs out of Georgia Southern University in 2002, Walker reached Triple-A with both the Cubs and Angels.  He first played in the ALPB in 2008 with Camden, before finishing the year in the Angels organization.  After then spending all of 2009 and 2010 with Camden, his friend Corey Thurman recruited him to defect to York for the 2011 season.  Walker returned to Camden in 2012, and has spent this season going back and forth between Camden and the Mexican League twice.

And yes, he wore a championship belt on the field on opening day 2012 at Sovereign Bank Stadium when he recieved his 2011 championship ring as a member of the Riversharks.

-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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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


Several Revolution – Cleveland Cavaliers connections

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We’ve been in business almost two years here at BlogToBlogChamps, but we are just getting to our first ever NBA post!  However, now that the Revolution have three connections to the Cleveland Cavaliers, it was time to pad the post count.

Prior to the season, now former Sugar Land Skeeters Team President Matt O’Brien left that post after just one season to head up the Cavaliers corporate sales department, wrapping up several years in minor league baseball with the Kane County (IL) Cougars, West Michigan Whitecaps, Somerset Patriots, Long Island Ducks, Myrtle Beach Pelicans, York Revolution and Sugar Land.  O’Brien was Revolution General Manager from the team’s founding in 2007 through the 2010 season.

Now former Revolution Vice President of Business Development Neil Fortier has joined forces with O’Brien a third time, as the Cavs Director of Corporate Partnerships.  Fortier worked with O’Brien in both Myrtle Beach and York as an Assistant General Manager.  He concluded his 7-year tenure with the Revolution in June to move to Cleveland.

However, the Cleveland NBA franchise is the “Cavaliers” thanks to the father of Revolution pitcher and 14-year MLB veteran Brett Tomko.  Yeah, really.

Founded in 1970, Jerry Tomko’s submission of “Cavaliers” to a Cleveland Plain Dealer  contest to name the team was selected out of over 11,000 entries, besting other finalists “Jays”, “Foresters” and “Presidents.”  Brett Tomko was born in the eastern Cleveland suburb of Euclid, OH in 1973. According to Jerry Tomko “the name Cleveland Cavaliers represents a group of daring, fearless men whose life’s pact was never surrender, no matter what the odds.”

Good enough for me.  In their inaugural season the Cavs needed that attitude, as they posted an NBA-worst 15-67 record under the direction of Head Coach Bill Fitch, who had previously been the head coach at you guessed it, Bowling Green State University.

-Paul Braverman


Somerset third base coach Shane Spencer had no time for Jonny Tucker

We’ll post good ejection videos here from time to time.  Rome Braves manager Randy Ingle remains an all-time favorite.  This one comes  from the Atlantic League, featuring Somerset Patriots third base coach Shane Spencer.  You might remember Spencer as an outfielder with the Yankees World Series Championship teams in 1999 and 2000.  He also enjoyed big league time with the Indians, Rangers and Mets, playing in seven MLB seasons.

Before Spencer gets his money’s worth after being tossed by home plate umpire Marty Bauer, the real hook is how he gets into that position:


Spencer completely shoved Jonny Tucker out of the shot!  Who knows where he landed, but he did not appear in the camera shot again, so he must have flown pretty far.  That’s a big man running into a man who’s not so big.  While there was nothing too creative about Spencer getting his money’s worth nor did he make a big display, his method of getting in front of the umpire was a new one for me.

Spencer was suspended for Somerset’s series finale at Lancaster on Thursday for making contact with an umpire, just a one game suspension. Getting thrown out three times in a half when you’re not the manager is pretty rare.  The whole thing kind of reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when Kramer is playing golf with fictional former baseball player Steve Gendison, and he gives him a 2-stroke penalty for cleaning his ball on the green per the rules.  As Kramer said…he LOST IT!

-Paul Braverman


Notebook: Etch’s Birthday Edition

Etch

Andy Etchebarren is now 70 years old.  He’s in town after appearing at the Brooks Robinson Classic Golf Tournament in York on Monday, and is spending his birthday week at the ballpark with the Revolution.  The 2011 Atlantic League Manager of the year brought the Revolution their first two ALPB Championships in 2010 and 2011, and his number 8 sits alongside Brooks Robinson and Jackie Robinson as retired in center field at Sovereign Bank Stadium.  These miscellaneous musings are in his honor.

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Atlantic League Notebook: Loudoun (!), Losing Streaks, Sneaky Clemens

The National Spelling Bee finals just took place, so in honor of that, here a few “extemporaneous” goings on around the Atlantic League that caught our attention this week:

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Wrightsville Principal Don Gillett Sleeps on School Roof

This is a York Revolution baseball blog, focusing mainly on the on-field news, but I wanted to share this since it had an on-field tie-in.  One of the Revs’ main off-season community initiatives is Boomer’s Book Club, presented by Heritage Valley Federal Credit Union.  A Revs staffer, DownTown, and often times Boomer visit elementary schools around York and Adams counties, promoting reading outside of school.  This off-season, the program reached an all-time high of over 20,300 students. (more…)


Revs host open tryout

Tony Phillips takes time to speak with the media on his way out of the Revs' open tryout

Tony Phillips takes time to speak with the media on his way out of the Revs’ open tryout

Many professional baseball hopefuls and a handful of diehard Revolution fans braved the chilly weather on Friday evening as the ballclub hosted its annual open tryout.  There were no signings made by the Revs this season from an event that in previous years had led them to sign the likes of Salomon Manriquez, Colin Roberson, Brian Holliday, and later in 2009, Shawn Hedrick.  The big news this year was the presence of 18-year Major League veteran Tony Phillips, now 53 years old, who is pursuing a return to pro ball to win a bet that he made with a youngster back home. (more…)


Scott Rice appears on MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk”

Scott Rice week…continues!  On Tuesday, April 3 the former Revolution lefty joined Chris Rose and Kevin Millar on their daily baseball highlights and talk show, Intentional Talk.  You know the story by now; after 14 minor league seasons the 31-year-old reliever made his first MLB roster out of Mets spring training, and then made his MLB debut on Opening Day to boot.  Rice struck out two Padres in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to wrap up the Mets 11-2 victory.  He was the oldest rookie on any MLB Opening Day roster this season.

Here is video of Rice’s appearance…and yes it is a cell phone video recording the TV in my apartment.  Please forgive the crass nature of my video methods and/or address all hate mail to me on Twitter, @PaulBraverman.  At least I used my excercise bike as a stand so the video isn’t shaky.  He gives a great interview:


53-year-old Tony Phillips, an 18-year MLB vet, will try out for Revolution

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April 1 isn’t until Monday, and I assure you we are not fooling anybody.  Revolution Baseball Operations Manager Andrew Ball has received confirmation that infielder Tony Phillips, who played in 18 Major League seasons between 1982 (!) and 1999 predominately with the A’s and Tigers will attend the open tryout on Friday, April 5 with hopes to earn a spot on the spring camp roster.

While Phillips retired in ’99 at the age of 40 after 106 games with Oakland, apparently he is in pretty good shape.  He began this post-50s comeback in 2011 when he played in 24 games for Yuma in the North American League (hit .269 with an RBI), and then played in 16 more games in the same league with Edinburg last season. (Hit .231 with eight RBI.)

In his Major League career, Phillips played in 2,161 games and has over 2,000 hits.  He was a career .266 hitter with 160 home runs and 819 RBI.  Anyone remember another player on the other side of 50 that played in the Atlantic League last season?

If you’d like to see this story unfold in person, fans are welcome at the tryout, which begins at 5:45 p.m. on the 5th.

-Paul Braverman


Octavio Martinez hired by Washington Nationals as bullpen catcher

Martinez Octavio 37_Nats

Former Revolution catcher and Atlantic League veteran Octavio Martinez was like countless other players; he battled the odds through a long minor league career including time at Triple-A, but never received the call to the big leagues.  While his playing days may technically be over, Martinez will now get to live the big league lifestyle that eluded all of those other players.

After catching in 83 games last year for the Sugar Land Skeeters, Martinez has been hired by the Washington Nationals as their bullpen catcher.  If you go to a game, home or road involving the Nationals this season, you’ll see Octavio suited up and rubbing elbows with the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and oh, let’s say Roger Bernadina along with the rest of the defending National League East Champions.  In the Majors, the bullpen catcher is a signifcant part of a team’s coaching staff, and truly helps out in all areas in addition to catching bullpens pre-game and during the game.

Not to put words in Octavio’s mouth or anything, but it’s hard to imagine a better post-playing career job.  It’s hard to say he’s retired considering he’ll be breaking a sweat at the ballpark everyday, and his expertise after 14 professional seasons behind the plate will be of good use to the Nationals pitching staff.

Originally drafted by the Orioles out of Bakersfield College in 1999, Martinez was with the O’s through the 2005 season.  He spent 2006 with the Pirates and 2007 with the Dodgers, and garnered Triple-A time with Baltimore and L.A.  He played in the Atlantic League from 2009-on, spending a full season with Southern Maryland before being traded to Lancaster mid-way through 2010.  In 2011 he signed with York and spent the entire season with the Revolution, before being selected by the Sugar Land Skeeters in the 2012 expansion draft.  It’s been a pretty good 12 months for Octavio, who also had the opportunity to catch Roger Clemens on national TV with Sugar Land last August.

In 2011, Martinez was unfairly ridiculed by his York teammates for his lone home run of the season being wind-aided at Long Island.  Now would be a good time to point out that he has 23 career home runs.  And since the Nationals are probably going to win the World Series this year, he’ll have a big fat World Series ring to put next to his 2011 Atlantic League Championship ring.

In addition to your day-trip to D.C. to catch Octavio in the big leagues, here are Washington’s games in Philadelphia and Baltimore:

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Remembering 2012: Profile of Kris Regas

In this week’s edition, we celebrate reliever Kris Regas re-signing with the Revolution by sharing this column about him that ran in edition number 8 of the York Revolutionary Times in case you missed it at the ballpark last season. 

A Learning Experience
Middle reliever or professor?  For Kris Regas, there have always been more similarities than differences

Regas, Kris 2

By Paul Braverman

“To be honest, math was never that thing that just always clicked for me, it was somewhat of a struggle.”

Don’t let that quote by Revolution bullpen lefty Kris Regas fool you – he is a good college math teacher.  At least that’s what his students said when Darrell Henry stalked him on RateMyProfessors.com when putting together his bio for the 2012 media guide.

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