Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My First York Revolution Game

I went to college at York College of Pennsylvania in, well York, PA, but in the years before the independent Atlantic League York Revolution came into existence.  I think the team started up a year or two after I graduated, and I've always wished that the team was around during my time in York.  I've always loved baseball and feel like I would have really enjoyed working for the team in any capacity during my college years. 

Partially because it hasn't worked with my schedule and partially because they are about the 5th furthest professional baseball team from where I live, I hadn't made it to a York Rev game until this season, when I finally made it to a game on Sunday July 18th. 

If you're not familiar with the Atlantic League, it's an unaffiliated independent league and consists of 8 teams located in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland.  Fellow blogger Paul, who has been a trade partner and frequent commenter over the past few years, is the blogosphere's resident Atlantic League expert.  So click on his link if you are interested. 

Tim "Rock" Raines is the manager for the Newark Bears, who were in town to play the Revolution.  He is one of the main reasons that I chose that game to attend because I still needed his autograph on my Orioles card.  And as far as I know, this is his only O's card, so I didn't want to send it out in the mail.  Tim is a great TTM signer, but you have to send a $5 donation.

The funny thing about this card is that it's almost always listed as Rock's card on Beckett and other places that list such things. You can see the little RC (rookie card) designation under Fleer Platinum which obviously couldn't apply to Rock, but the stats on the back are from Rock's career; it seems like someone at Fleer was confused!   Both Tim and Tim Jr. played for the 2001 O's, so I can see where the confusion might come from, but this card obviously pictures the elder Tim.  Anyway, we waited down the third base line for Tim to come out to the dugout and Kalina shouted his name as soon as she saw him.  He came over and signed for a few fans, so it was really nice to get my card signed.

Tim was one of the greatest lead-off hitters and base-stealers in baseball history and his 808 steals ranks 4th on the all-time list.  He was also a 7 time All-Star and is a candidate to one day make the Hall of Fame; he received 30.4% of votes (of the 75% necessary for induction) in 2010. 

The York Revolution also have a few connections to the Orioles with their manager, Andy Etchebarren, and one of their starting pitchers, Matt Riley.  The Rev were holding a "Meet the Team" autograph & picture session at the game I went to, so I was able to get all of my Etchebarren and Riley cards signed, with some help from Kalina and my parents.

Andy Etchebarren had a 15 year career in the big leagues, 12 of those were with the Orioles in 1962 & 1965-75.  He was a two time All-Star and was a member of the '66 & '70 Baltimore World Series Championship teams.  Andy, who split time behind the dish with Elrod Hendricks for many of his years in Birdland, formed the battery with many of the best pitchers in Orioles history such as Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar, Milt Pappas and Steve Barber.  He must have been doing something right. 

Matt Riley will be remembered in Baltimore more for what could've been than what was.  He was the Orioles third round pick in 1997 and absolutely dominated every level of the Minor Leagues that he pitched in.  He was still only 19 years old when he was called up to the O's at the end of the 1999 season.

Matt was never able to match his success in the Minors at the Major League level and a combination of a cocky/entitled attitude and three Tommy John surgeries had knocked him completely out of affiliated baseball by the end of the 2008 season.  When I handed him this card to sign, he joked with a teammate about how he used to be someone worthy of being on a "Who to Watch" card. 

 I got a few extra autographs from Matt & Andy, so if anyone is interested in trading for these, just leave a comment.  It's funny to see an Oriole besides Cal wearing the number 8 like the card in the bottom right corner. 


Paul Hadsall said...

You timed your trip well. Matt Riley got released about a month after you went, and Tim Raines Sr. left the Bears to attend to family issues earlier this month -- I don't think he's expected to come back.

Orioles Magic said...

Wow, I hadn't heard about either of those transactions. I try to keep up with the Atlantic League but it's always hard to do. I like to leave it to the experts like you Paul.

I'm glad that I went when I did.