York, Pa. - Referring to York's Sovereign Bank Ballpark as a ballpark was a bit of a stretch last season.
Atlantic League players' batting helmets doubled as hard hats. The construction site didn't offer locker rooms. Instead of tubs, players iced in large garbage cans. Only one concession stand was open and many of the seating areas weren’t complete.
"It was a tough situation being in trailers and stuff," York catcher Sandy Aracena said. "We we’re just trying to make the best of the situation."
A year later the Revolution still don’t have their permanent occupancy license – they need to finish the fire lanes – but the ballpark looks and feels complete.
York’s ballpark mixes old school charm and new school convenience. Located in the middle of downtown, the ballpark is shoehorned into a 10-acre piece of land. The small confines necessitated the Fenway-like leftfield wall (top photo), which is only 300 feet from the plate. New school marketing, however, necessitated that it be 38-feet tall, six inches higher than Boston’s Green Monster. The marketing ploy got the ballpark national play, including a mention in the Red Sox media guide.
Arch Ave. runs only a few feet beyond the wall, leading York staffers to dub the wall the “Arch Nemesis.” Will the name stick?
The upper level skyboxes, not available last year, are all sold out. The outfield merry-go-round stays busy throughout the night, and scoreboard operator Brad Daugherty may have had the best view of anyone in the ballpark (middle photo).
“I love this ballpark,” Aracena said. “You cant get any better than this.”
Despite the nicer amenities, York hasn’t played well this year. Their five-game losing streak prompted the front office to take action. There was no rain in the area, but the crew pulled the tarp before the game because the last game the Revolution won was delayed by rain.
All staffers wore their hats inside-out to spark a rally. They even placed pieces of plywood around the ballpark, inviting fans to knock on wood for good luck. None of that worked, as Camden’s 2-1 victory dropped York to 8-20.
The Revolution didn’t use most of their in-game promotions on Saturday, devoting that time to a battle of the bands promotion. The Mark DeRose Band won the opportunity to open for Blues Traveler at a ballpark concert in June.
York did manage to make time for Stu-pendous and the Big Hitters, a dancing group that’s one part Rockettes and many parts Fred Flintstone (bottom photo). They danced to Soul Man, with Stu actually singing the song. Pretty impressive.
Prior to the game The Dugout caught up with Camden’s Brett Bonvechio, who has two stories in The Funniest Thing I’ve Ever Seen: More than 100 crazy stories from minor league baseball. His latest story, which details odd man-icuring, will appear on this blog in the coming days. It’s worth waiting for.