Sunday, June 19, 2011

First ballgame of the year - why I enjoy the Atlantic League

Friday night I went out to York to watch the York Revolution take on the Lancaster Barnstormers in the third game of this year's War of the Roses. Here it is mid-June and outside of Little League, I hadn't seen any baseball. Last summer, of course, I was enjoying New York Collegiate Baseball League action almost every night. Unfortunately, this year is more exemplary of my typical summer with regards to ballpark visitations.

The Atlantic League is a lot of fun for me to watch. The players on the teams can largely be lumped as want-to-bes and once-weres. It is an independent minor league which means that they are not affiliated with major league teams like your typical "farm team". Guys who play in the Atlantic League may have been released from organized baseball, been overlooked, suffered an injury and are working back. Something happened that makes them unwanted by big league clubs and most of the players are trying to show they still have something to contribute. All of them, though, are there because they love baseball. There's not much money to be made in the Atlantic League.

York's designated hitter I have written about before. I follow him and he had been released from the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs a few weeks ago. York signed him and he hit a couple of singles Friday night.

There were other familiar names (at least to me). Liu Rodriguez, Val Majewski and Fernando Seguignol are all former major leaguers. The son of future Hall of Famer Tommy Herr, Aaron, also played.

The game was a lot of fun. Lancaster got off to a 5-1 lead with the help of a three-run homer by Ben Copeland. York exploded in the fifth, though. Majewski hit a grand slam and York added four more runs in the inning. Scott Grimes, last year's co-MVP and graduate of my high school's archrival, hit his second homer of the game later on and the Revolution won the game 11-5.

Despite my being a fan of pitchers duels, this was a fun game. All four home runs were mighty blows. Sovereign Stadium in York has some fun quirks. They have a replica of the Green Monster in left field which is even larger than the Green Monster and also contains a manually operated scoreboard. There is also a cannon in rightfield that fires whenever a Revolution player hits a home run. I thought that was really cool. And though I am not a fan of ballpark-induced cheering, they play a recording of someone yelling "REVOLUUUUTIONNNNNNN!!!!" which gets everyone yelling in response. I would almost make that my ringtone if I knew where it came from.

Concessions were outrageous for this level of competition as was parking. I thought ticket prices were a little high too. Checked out the gift shop and it was ridiculously priced as well. The food wasn't particularly good either. The bathrooms were the tiniest I've ever seen which shocked the heck out of me given it is a new stadium. While there were several restrooms, the one I was in had but one stall and two urinals.

Having had the experience of going to York for a ballgame, would I go again? Maybe. It was a fun environment. I enjoyed myself enough that it made me want to cease my blogging hiatus and write about it. But outside of the cannon, Jose Herrera, and the Revolution chant, it's not much different than catching a lower-level minor league game anywhere else except that maybe it costs a bit more.

As for my continued blogging, we'll see. I think I'm going to try and catch up on book reviews (I think I have ten to write) and we'll go from there. My laptop is in for repair (this is being written on a borrowed laptop) and I am anxious to have it back.

No comments: