Friday, May 04, 2007

Newark the pick in the Atlantic League

The Dugout looks at the Atlantic League, which begins its season tonight.

Welcome: The York Revolution make their debut tonight in Bridgeport. Advance ticket sales for the new club have been outstanding, but fans will have to wait a while to see their new hometown boys. Stadium construction delays have forced the Revolution to play their first 10 "home" games in Camden.

See ya: Atlantic City left the Atlantic League to join the Can-Am League. The Surf's departure leaves the Atlantic League with only seven teams with a home presence. The Road Warriors, a league-operated team which plays all of its games on the road, balances out the league.

End of the road?: In theory, the Road Warriors will cease to exist next season when the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs join the league. But they were also supposed to disappear when Lancaster (2005) and York (2007) entered the league. Defections by Atlantic City and Nashua kept the Road Warriors around.

Prediction: York looked good in camp, but they will have trouble overcoming all the early road games. Long Island has the league's biggest name, Carl Everett, a major league pitching staff that includes Danny Graves, John Halama and Donovan Osborne, and Kevin Haverbusch hitting bombs following eye surgery. Newark, though, has fewer former major leaguers than normal, which will likely help team chemistry. That cohesiveness takes the Bears to the title.

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