Click here to check out the article featured in Monday’s York Dispatch morning newspaper about the 2014 attendance figures for the York Revolution. It’s complete with a pair of graphics (one focusing on attendance numbers for the Revolution going back to its first year of inception, and another focusing on attendance numbers for every Atlantic League franchise going back to 2011). Revs’ president, general manager and part-owner Eric Menzer also shares his thoughts on why the organization saw a jump in attendance this season.Read More
Below are some highlights from Game 5 of Sunday’s Atlantic League Freedom Division series (first the Chad Tracy two-run double, then the Bryant Nelson fielder’s choice RBI and third Sean Smith’s return to the field on crutches), followed by the the post-game Q&A with Revs’ manager Mark Mason. If you haven’t by now, you can check out the game story by clicking here.
York Revolution manager Mark Mason:
Q: On defensive play in bottom of the fourth inning with runner Bryant Nelson at first when Travis Garcia grounded to short stop Dominic Ramos, who flipped the ball to second baseman Michael Rockett to get the force-out at second base, who appeared to drop the ball, but umpires instead called Nelson out, arguing that Rocket was transferring the ball from his glove to his throwing hand when he dropped it, although Mason felt Rockett never had full possession of the ball to begin with:
A: “There was no catch. I thought that was a big call there. We had a 3-1 lead and we would’ve had first and second with nobody out. We had momentum at that point. Then the next inning we lost the momentum with the error.”
Q: That error in the top of the fifth inning on Battle in center field, did it appear to rattle Quijano?
A: “That’s a question you would have to ask him (Quijano). I can’t answer that. If your players make errors behind you, you still have to pitch. That can’t take you out of your game. I think that inning started off with a fly ball to center then a base-hit, then the fly ball to center that resulted in the error. And then Langerhans had the triple, and I think there was a hit before that, too. That’s just one of those things where we started off good. We got three runs in the first inning. And then we just kind of bottomed out trying to hit the ball.”
Q: After Friday night it felt you guys had all the momentum and it felt like this was your series. Is that fair to say?
A: “I would think so. We had a 2-1 (series) lead and we needed to win one out of two games. Yesterday (Saturday) we threw nine scoreless innings. If somebody would tell you before the game you’re gonna throw nine scoreless innings you would assume you were gonna win the game. By they threw nine scoreless innings and then threw a 10th.”
Q: Once again, pitching and defense appeared to be the difference in the playoffs?
A: “It always does. If you look at the playoffs in 2010. An error on Shanks’s bunt. When we played Butch (in 2011) we had a wild pitch to tie the game and then they made an error and we scored four runs in the 10th inning. Usually it’s errors. It’s an error here and an error there. Against Bridgeport when we won that game three they had an error on a double-play and we ended up tying the game. You gotta play great defense. You have to pitch. I thought we did both of those things for the most part. I just thought we didn’t do enough. We scored eight runs in the past four nights. We had two hits in the first inning (today) and what did we end up with five (for the game)? The series was pretty even. We won 5-0. Then they beat us 9-2. So we beat them by five, they beat us by seven. And then we beat them by one and they beat us by one. So the series was close. It was gonna be close. Both teams pitched really well. They played good defense.”
Q: On Sugar Land starter David Pauley…
A: “He’s a good pitcher. We got to him early. I thought he left some balls up in the zone. The ball we threw to Tracy that Tracy hit down the left-fied line is one of the higher pitches I’ve seen from him. He’s usually down or in the dirt. To his credit he stayed in there and kept making pitches. And their bullpen is really good, too. With them, if you don’t get to their starter it’s going to be tough to score runs. Kind of like us. I thought our bullpen did a good job again today. We matched it up a little bit more than I thought we would. We were just trying to keep it there to give ourselves a chance. I guess the biggest thing for me in the series is we had a tough time getting the lead-off guy on every inning. We didn’t get a lot of lead-off guys on to start the innings.”
Q: Well, Saturday you guys had a bunch of guys on but couldn’t score….
A: “We did but it’s a lot different with one out or two outs to try to get something that usually the innings that you score you get the lead-off guy on. You look at the first inning today (Sunday) Greene gets a base hit and scores. It seemed like a lot of one out, nobody on or two out, nobody on.”
Q: It seemed you had the momentum when Sean Smith came down to the dugout at the start of the fourth inning. And then Battle makes the error in the fifth inning…
A: “That was a tough play. He doesn’t play center field on a regular basis. And nobody else we have has played center field. Last night (Saturday) the ball that Tosoni hit is probably an out.”
Q: It’s tough. I know every team has injuries. Sean Smith goes down. You could’ve had Jason Repko there (Repko had season-ending injury earlier in the season)?
A: “Smitty played as good a center field as anyone in the league this eyar and defensively that’s a big hole out there. Infield-wise I thought we played great. Turned a lot of plays. Made a lot of plays.”
Q: So the obligatory end-of-season question…I really felt like this team had the best team chemistry since the 2011 squad…
A: “I would agree. We had a great clubhouse all year. And the guys we brought in (during the season) meshed really well. We didn’t have a lot of turnover position-player wise, which I think when that happens you have a chance to be successful. We lost a lot of pitching but we were able to replace it. The guys that we had did a good job all year. Quijano, Martinez, Williamson, Corey (Thurman) had a bounce-back year. When you lose Cody, Lerew and McClendon…
Q: I thought this is the best pitching job you guys (coaches) have done, and that’s saying a lot…
A: “If you look at the pedigree of the guys, yeah. If you look at the stats we were one or two all year, for the most part.”
Q: So what’s next then?
A: “It’ll be up to them when they want to go. Some guys will hang around for a day or two. Some guys might take off tonight. I have a lot of things I gotta do. One of the things I gotta do I gotta see my dad. So definitely gonna do that. Then just play October by ear. Then sometime in November I’ll get a hold of these guys. See what their thoughts are for next year. You start doing that until you get to the holidays. And then once you get to the holidays you start getting commitments from guys if they’re gonna come back.”
Q: Same coaching staff coming back?
A: “I’d love to have these guys back. It depends if they get another opportunity.”
Q: Any players that you know of possibly retiring?
A: “Chad Tracy may. He has a baby on the way. Quijano might. He’s getting married next week.”
Q: Do you know anyting on Mark Hendrickson?
A: “He hasn’t told me anything. I’d say he’s on the bubble being 41-years-old.”Read More
The York Revolution and Sugar Land Skeeters were scheduled to fly back to the northeast from Texas early Thursday. With the best-of-five Freedom Division series tied, 1-1, Game Three is slated for a 6:30 p.m. start Friday at Santander Stadium. To check out the results from the first two games, click here.
I chatted with Revolution president, general manager and part-owner Eric Menzer on Thursday afternoon in regards to an article about attendance being up for the 2014 season, which will likely run sometime next week in The York Dispatch morning newspaper, complete with attendance figures for all eight Atlantic League franchises and will focus on the up-and-down trend of year-to-year attendance for York and across the league. I’ll make sure to post a link to that article here when it’s up online. Until then, below is a taste from that conversation with Menzer. Also, we chatted about how playoff ticket sales are going thus far, including how the Revolution sales staff handles selling tickets for the “if necessary” playoff games that might not actually be played. That conversation, in Q&A format, is below.
As far as the remainder of this playoff series, game wraps from Games Three and Four on Friday and Saturday will be posted online here. If the series goes to Game Five on Sunday, I will be covering that contest. Also, this isn’t a sure bet just yet but it sounds like, if York makes it to next week, I’ll be covering the championship series, regardless if the opponent is Lancaster or Somerset. So if the Revs are still playing beyond this weekend, look for plenty of blog posts coming your way next week!
York Revolution president, general and part-owner Eric Menzer:
Q: How are things going on the playoff sales, how many tickets have you sold so far for Friday?
A: “Around 4,500 to 5,000. Traditionally in the playoffs we’ll get a big, last minute walk-up. I’m sure we’ll get a strong walk-up. It’s definitely going to be a good night.”
Q: How do you approach selling tickets for the “if necessary” playoff games that might not actually be played?
“What we do is we offer a plan where you give us a credit card number and only get charged for games that do happen. The season-ticket holders and plan holders go for that. We offered that plan back when we clinched (the first-half division title and playoff berth). People who signed up got a stadium blanket as a premium. And then if somebody who isn’t a season-ticket or plan holder wants to buy tickets to all the playoff games then they just five us a credit card number and we handle it the same way.”
Q: So we last talked about attendance back in late June, when you guys were averaging more than 4,100 fans through 24 openings. At the end of the year you guys finished a couple hundred fans less. Why is that?
A: “You gotta remember after that we played 15 home games in 18 days (and 16 games in 22 days).”
Q: Yeah, but the summer months is the time you want to play those stretches. Wasn’t it last year you had stretches like that in the months of April or September?
A: “I’m not saying that facetiously. We had a really good schedule this year. The bottom line is schedule maker maketh. You always have to pay the piper at some point. I’d rather pay the piper in June or August. Having said that I’m very pleased with where we ended up.”
Q: How much of a role did the new Diamond Deck play in attendance figures this year?
A: “When we built it we did it knowing or having heard from our customers specifically that they would like for us to have a smaller picnic-type area for those 25-50 person groups that can get lost if they’re by themselfves in a 500-people picnic area (in right field). In the hospitality business you have to continally re-invest in the product, specifically to meet the needs of what we’re hearing from customers. It worked. We had strong sales there.”
Q: Plus the schedule moving back a week helped…
A: “No doubt last year moving up a week hurt us in attendance. Moving back a week helped us but it wasn’t the only thing. If it had rained three out of 10 Saturdays, we may have been down in attendance. We’re like farmers. If mother nature is against us, no matter how much work we put in, we’ll be down in attendance. Say if we would’ve been rained out on softball night or a Saturday night game was rained out, that would’ve been huge. It has absolutely proved if you do everything right mother nature can hurt you. Losing two or three Saturday nights can put you down in attendance. We had the same number of openings last year as this year but this year every time we turned around the weather was beautiful.”Read More
Whoa! Finally, a new blog post. I know this your reaction to me finally reporting something about the York Revolution after weeks of silence as I have instead been busy covering high school football. So go ahead and get the shock and bewilderment out of you.
Done yet? Good. Now lets get down to business. As you likely know, York this week is in Sugar Land, where the Skeeters took four of the final six regular season games last week. The Revs stayed in Texas, as both clubs are set to begin the best-of-five Freedom Division Championship Series on Tuesday night at 8:05 p.m. (7:05 p.m. central time in Texas). I chatted by phone early Monday with Revs’ skipper Mark Mason about his preparations for the post-season. Click here to check out the article that resulted, which will be printed in Tuesday morning’s York Dispatch newspaper previewing the upcoming series.
Below, in Q&A format, is the rest of that conversation with Mason. You might be wondering what the plans are from me as far as covering the Revs in the playoffs. Well, I’ll be flying to Texas tonight. JUST KIDDING! I know your heart probably stopped for a second reading that. No. I’ll be staying right here in York, listening to and watching the first two games Tuesday and Wednesday night, then posting game wraps of the results you can read here. Ditto for Friday’s Game Three in York (yes, high school football is taking the priority this Friday). Should the series go to a Game Five on Sunday in York, I will be covering that. Should York advance to the league championship series next week (probably just jinxed them by writing that, sorry), the Revs will face either Lancaster or Somerset, with Games One and Two being played in York on Wednesday and Thursday, which I would cover if that happens. If the opponent is the Barnstormers, I would then cover the remainder of the series over the river in Lancaster. And if it’s Somerset? Well, I’m not really sure yet what would happen. But lets not get ahead of ourselves just yet. York has to make it through Sugar Land first….
(By the way, Lancaster Newspapers’ Barnstormers beat writer Burt Wilson chatted with Atlantic League president Rick White recently. His Q&A with White is definitely worth a read, touches on several topics, including future of league involving expansion locations and possible name change to the league)
York Revolution manager Mark Mason:
Q: Starting pitching staff, going with what got you here, and it’s been solid all year, sure guys have ups and downs but it seems like most starters have been doing pretty well coming into the playoffs. Still, has there been a part of you that has been looking around to improve the starting pitching staff but just haven’t found much available?
A: “The only chance to do anything with starting pitching basically maybe if (Chris) Cody or (Anthony) Lerew would come back. There really wasn’t a whole lot of starting pitching out there. Even the American Association there weren’t a lot of starting pitchers. And Mexico, a lot of those guys go home to get ready for winter ball. Our playoffs run into start of winter ball in other places.”
Q: What is it about Sugar Land that has presented troubles for you guys?
A: “I just think they’re a team that especially down here yesterday we lost a 3-2 game with three unearned runs. I think what you have to do you have play a clean game. Yesterday we gave up three unearned runs, the other night was another unearned run. Two of the four we lost here were on unearned runs. Was I playing my regular lineup? No, I wasn’t. But no matter who’s out there you can’t walk them and you gotta play clean. They play clean and their pitching is solid. It’s one of those things you made an error and you walked a guy before the error or whatever it is. It’s a little thing here and there. The other thing down here, we left eight or nine guys on base every game. That’s just kind of the way the week went for us.”
Q: Because, for the most part, your team didn’t go in the tank after winning the first-half title. They still kept coming and showing up, until this past week in Sugar Land. Do you think it is because Sugar Land has your number this year or was it the lineups you were throwing out there so you weren’t at full strength?
A: “It’s hard to say. We were resting a lot of guys this week. I’m not gonna make excuses for that. We had good enough lineups out there to win games. When you lose 2-1 or 3-2 without your best lineup out there…it’s just one of those things for us against Sugar Land it’s the same thing it was against Southern Maryland. For whatever reason it was for those particular games we made an error or a walk or didn’t get productive hit.” “I think it’ll be a fun series. The fact we’ve already been here for six or seven days it’s not a factor. It actually gives us a chance to get more acclimated and settled into here. If we would’ve finished the season up north then that would’ve meant we would’ve flown here today. We’re gonna go over and have a little workout today and get the party started tomorrow.”
Q: What exactly will you guys be working on at practice today?
A: “Some pitchers will go out and get their regular throwing program in. It’s 95 degrees today with the field 101 (degrees). We took batting practice on the field like two days ago. We did have batting practice Saturday. I may just hit in cages today. Tomorrow it’ll be a little cooler. Today is basically treatments. Bunch of guys that need treatments.”
Q: I saw Ricardo Gomez came back recently. Is he your closer now or are you sticking with Mark Hendrickson?
A: “Hendrickson is still gonna close.”
Q: What is it about Hendrickson you like as being a closer (Hendrickson took over the role when Rommie Lewis left to pitch overseas last month and has since converted on all nine save opportunities. Since Aug. 4, Hendrickson has allowed just two earned runs over 18.2 innings, a 0.98 ERA. For the year, he has a 1.53 ERA in 55 games)
A: “One thing he does is he throws strikes on both sides of the plate, keeps the ball down and has good movement. He has a lot of experience. That role, he’s been terrific all year. Home or away, right or left.”
Q: What’s the plan for the eighth inning pitching? Will you have a designated set-up guy or will it vary depending on who is at the plate?
A: “Eighth inning will depend on where other team is in the lineup, either Beau Vaughan or Mike DeMark (will likely pitch the eighth inning). Probably Joe Harris, Edward Paredes, Ricardo Gomez and Ian Durham, those guys are gonna be more matching up in sixth, seventh innings somewhere in there. The starters obviously will have a little shorter leash, especially when you’re playing teams with really good pitching. I think three of the four playoff teams are the best pitching teams in the league“
Q: What happened to Stephen Penney (inactive since Aug. 30)?
A: “He’s just been dealing with a little of an arm thing. He’s sore, for lack of a better word. He’s gonna be inactive for this series but could pitch for us next week if we make it that far.”
Q: What happened to Ofilio Castro (inactive since Aug. 18)?
A: “We lost Ofilio to the knee surgery. That’s why his season ended. Four or five weeks ago he had knee surgery. So when he went down we had to get another infielder (Omar Luna) so that way we’d be able to rest some guys. He (Luna) was in the American Association playing.”
Here’s a look at what York has done to the roster since mid-August:
–Reliever Ricardo Gomez (four scoreless outings since being added Sept. 13)
–Reliever Mike DeMark (six scoreless outing since being added early September)
–Reliever Joe Harris (2.84 ERA, seven relief appearances)
–First baseman/DH/OF Johan Limonta (18-for-63, .286 in 17 games since return in late August)
–Infielder Omar Luna (.265 in 17 games, 1 SB)
Put on inactive list:
–Reliever Greg Miler (5.72 ERA in seven relief appearances)
–Reliever Dan Cortes (13.50 ERA in eight relief appearances)
–Reliever Stephen Penney (2.31 ERA, 45 relief appearances)
–Catcher Steve Sulcoski (batted .176 in six games, was cut once Salvador Paniagua returned to the roster after injury)
–Infielder Ofilio Castro (.247 in 95 games, 1 SB)
Sold: Closer Rommie Lewis (3-1, 2.15 ERA, 28 saves, 45 games) to EDA Rhinos (Taiwan) in mid-AugustRead More
In case you missed it, Johan Limonta and relief pitcher Ricardo Gomez returned to the York Revolution in recent days. Limonta, who can play first base, third base and outfield, began this season with the Revs, batting .295 in 71 games, before leaving the club in mid-July to play in Mexico.
Gomez pitched for York in 2011 and 2012 and has since been pitching in the Mexican League. The Revs put him on the inactive list immediately after signing him.
In other moves, catcher Salvador Paniagua was activated after going on the inactive list about a month ago with a separated shoulder. With Paniagua back, York released catcher Steve Sulcoski.
- Starting pitcher Matt DeSalvo returned for one game a couple weeks ago to give York six innings of work in a start at Camden on Aug. 24. He held the Riversharks to four runs on four hits with three strikeouts and three walks. The Revs released him the next day.
- Reliever Mark Hendrickson has turned into quite a closer for York with six saves through Sunday night for York. He took over the role when closer Rommie Lewis left Aug. 17 to play overseas. The five saves thus far for Hendrickson are already a single-season career high and surpassed the total of four saves he’s recorded over his entire career stretching back to 1998. He previously recorded two saves last season with the Baltimore Orioles’ triple-A Norfolk affiliate, one save for the O’s big league club in 2009 and one save in his first year as a pro back in 1998 playing for the Toronto Blue Jays’ High Class A Dunedin affiliate.
- Infield Omar Luna, added to the York roster a couple weeks ago, has been good thus far. Through Sunday, batting .333 in seven games.
-York lead-off man Justin Greene is hitting .366 through Sunday. So he has some work to do if he hopes to break the Atlantic League batting average record of .371, set by Vic Rodriguez of Someret in 2004. Through Sunday, Greene is on a seven-game hitting streak, with multiple hits in four of the games, batting .429 (12-for-28) on the stretch.
Personal note: As you may have noticed, I stopped covering the Revolution a few weeks ago, thus being unable to provide much on this blog in the way of news related to the current team. This is a result of The York Dispatch suffering layoffs of eight staffers back in May. One of them was longtime sports reporter Dick VanO’Linda, who retired. However, the Dispatch did not replace VanO’Linda, leaving me as the only full-time sports reporter. Since about the second week of August, I’ve had to focus all of my efforts on the high school football beat. Where does that leave this blog moving forward? Well, for now I’ll attempt to put up blog posts whenever news comes about with Revs alumni in the minors or majors. And I’m not sure yet how we’re going to go about covering the team come playoff time at the end of this month. I’ll continue in this way through the baseball off-season, as I’ll then be tasked with covering high school boys’ basketball in the winter and high school baseball in the spring. Hopefully when spring training rolls around next April, I can return to covering the team from the start of the year through mid-August. As much as it pains me to say all of this since I love covering the Revs, this is just how things are working now due to the layoffs and cutbacks. If you have any questions or concerns with how the York Dispatch is covering the York Revolution, contact management at York Newspaper Company at 717-767-4663 or email at email@example.com
In the meantime, game wraps from every York Revolution game will always be posted here: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/yorkrev
Also, I will always continue to track players signed out of the Atlantic League by major league organizations or foreign ball clubs. Click here to check out that list, as there have been a few players signed in recent weeks.
Finally, sometime in the next week or two, check back here as I will post links to a longform feature story I wrote on former York Revolution pitcher Matthew Neil, who tossed a complete game gem for York in early June, has since undergone season-ending surgery on his arm. Neil is recovering and plans to be back next season. He has one heck of a back story and, as I’ve come to find while working on this story in the last couple months, is one of those people that will make you a better person the more you come to know him. For several reasons, I’ve been working on this story on my own free time outside of my responsibilities at the Dispatch since early June, with the goal of getting it published as a freelance piece somewhere outside of York. This goal appears to have finally come to fruition.Read More
The Los Angeles Dodgers late last week signed former York Revolution right-hander Anthony Slama to a minor league deal, picking him up off of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs’ roster. The Dodgers assigned Slama to double-A Chattanooga, where he has allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits in two relief appearances thus far through Monday (10.12 ERA).
Slama posted a 1.03 ERA in 17 relief appearances this season for the Crabs, striking out 19 and walking eight over 17.1 innings of work. Slama, 30, appeared in seven combined games out of the bullpen for the Minnesota Twins in 2010 and 2011, allowing four runs on six hits over seven innings (5.14 ERA). Although those numbers aren’t great, it should be noted it was quite an accomplishment for Slama to even get to the majors in the first place. Of the 300 players drafted in rounds 29 to 38 back in 2006, only 10 (3.3 percent) have reached the big leagues, and Slama is one of them, having been drafted in the 38th round that years by the Twins.
He’s been working to get back to the majors since 2011. Released by the Twins’ triple-A Rochester affiliate midway through the 2013 season, Slama soon joined the York Revolution in the second week of July and went on to finish out the year with the Revs. The California native put up a 3.71 ERA in 13 relief appearances for York.
Slama is the 32nd Atlantic Leaguer picked up by a major league organization this season. And there are now 13 former Revs currently competing in minor league affiliated ball (this still includes pitchers Brett Tomko and Ian Thomas, both of whom haven’t pitched since the final days of July when they were put on the disabled list by their respective minor league clubs, but excludes pitcher Scott Rice, who underwent season-ending surgery earlier this year).
By the way, special shout out to Blue Crabs’ organization for just putting Slama on the inactive list and failing to actually mention anything about him getting picked up by the Dodgers.Read More
For the second year in a row, reliever Rommie Lewis is leaving the York Revolution for a deal to pitch in a foreign league. The ex-big leaguer has signed a contract to compete for the EDA Rhinos in Taiwan. He left York on Saturday. Now 31-years-old and three years removed from last playing in the majors, Lewis had said earlier this year his goal at this point in his 13-year pro career is to find a deal overseas, where he can make a decent earning.
Lewis leaves York after putting up the best performance the Revs have ever gotten out of a closer in a season. A scoreless ninth inning at Somerset on July 25 set the new single-season club record in saves (23), surpassing the 22 saves Juan Rincon recorded in 2013. In his final appearance for York on Aug. 10, Lewis tossed a perfect ninth inning against Long Island to get his 32nd career save in a Revs’ uniform (five in 2013, 27 in 2014) to become the Revs’ all-time career leader in saves, moving past the previous record set by R.J. Rodriguez from 2010 to 2012.
For the season, Lewis collected 27 saves and went 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA over 44 appearances striking out 34 and walking 13 in 45 innings of work. Last year, Lewis came to York in a trade from Bridgeport, where he went 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA in 47 appearances in 2012. The 6-foot-6 left-hander did so well with the Revs in 2013 he ended up getting signed last September by the Lamigo Monkeys of the Chinese Professional Baseball League. At the time, he left York leading the team in ERA (1.51) to go along with 35 strikeouts and 12 walks in 41.2 innings of work (47 appearances). He didn’t give up an earned run in his last 12 appearances for the Revs and held opponents scoreless in 20 of his last 22 games.
The ex-big leaguer then played winter ball in the Dominican Republic over the off-season, allowed seven runs on 14 hits in 15.1 innings (4.11) over a total of 20 relief appearances, striking out 10 and walking eight.
Lewis has 20 career appearances in the majors, posting a 7.12 ERA there over 2010 and 2011 with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Lewis has a career 7.12 ERA in 20 major league games, last pitching there in 2011 with the Toronto Blue Jays.Read More