Teacher and protégé square off

The fans present at Campbell’s Field on Friday night will be looking forward to some pretty intriguing matchups.

Former New York Met Jason Phillips could face Dave Veres in the late innings with the game on the line. L.J. Biernbaum will try his luck against opening night starter Aaron Myette. And the entire Riversharks’ lineup will face the tall order of trying to produce a few runs off the Revs’ bundle of former major league arms.

But maybe the most interesting matchup will take place between two men who won’t even set foot inside the lines at Campbell’s Field.

Friday night, teacher meets student. Master meets protégé. Adam Gladstone (right) and David Keller will face off against one another.

Wait, who? To clarify, these men are the respective directors of baseball operations for the Camden Riversharks (Keller) and York Revolution (Gladstone). They are the architects of the ‘Sharks and Revs and there’s some history here. When Baseball and Sports Associates was still around last year, Keller worked for Gladstone as his No. 2 man. When BASA was disbanded, Keller received his promotion to take over the Riversharks.

So this will be the first time the teams Gladstone and Keller have assembled will meet in a meaningful game. And you can bet there is some smack talk going on between these two.

“Most of it you can’t put in print, though,” Keller joked at spring training last week. “We’re both very competitive and it will be a good opportunity early in the season to see where our clubs are at.”

Keller (right) wasted no time shaking things up in Camden over the offseason. He made the decision not to offer Atlantic League veteran Dwight Maness a contract, instead opting to bring in some new blood. Maness has long been the face of the Riversharks’ franchise and the decision was extra difficult for Keller because he considers the outfielder “a friend.”

Gladstone will be judged this year not only on how many players he returns to affiliated baseball — which could be quite a few — but also for how he deals with the losses that build up due to injury, defections and affiliated signings. Last season, that was a difficult task because of a dried up talent pool, according to Gladstone. But this season, the market appears to be different — at least for now.

“It’s night and day,” Gladstone said of this year’s player market. “But once the season starts and I have to start making the phone calls to replace that type of player (that the Revs’ signed), it’s tough to know right now.”

But before Gladstone and Keller have to start slapping band-aids all over their respective rosters, the opening series in Camden should provide a little fun.

“Like any of the players in this league, I want this to be a stepping stone back to an (affiliated) organization for David,” Gladstone said. “It’s no different, and it should be fun to go up against a club that David has put a lot of time into.”

*Gladstone photo by Dispatch photo editor Randy Flaum; Keller photo by Dispatch photographer Bill Kalina.

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7 Responses

  1. It’s just on paper, of course, but I don’t find the Camden roster to be particularly impressive compared to some of the others in the AL this year.

    The decision to let Maness go is baffling. It seems like a case of being overeager to put a stamp on the team.

  2. That’s exactly what I said about Camden last year and they went out and won the first half.

    I like the idea of changing things up and making sure your roster doesn’t get stale. But you can certainly argue keeping Maness.

    I give Keller some credit, though. He admitted it’s all on him and he’ll be judged by how things go early on in the year. At least he’s not shying away from anything.

  3. I’ll give him credit for having the guts to make an unpopular decision with Maness.

    It just seems like a change-for-the-sake-of-change move. If I remember the Atlantic League Baseball News article right, Keller said (or Maness said he said) something to the effect of “we just wanted to go in a different direction”. It’s hard to see why one would go in a different direction from a popular 20-20 player.

  4. I agree with the stale comment. In fact I made this comment on another blog and got ripped for it. I am glad you said that. Unfortunately these kind of things happen…we all know that. As far as Maness and a few others who were on the side of these moves…they are good players and consistanly put up good stats in this league..not to mention good guys as well. As opponents I always enjoyed watching them play. BUT…teams need new names and faces..and at times Keller( and Gladstone and Lupton and whomever )NEED to make those tough decisions. It shows that they are willing to go in a direction other that a comfy one. And will also face the heat from fans when its a popular player. In this case David Keller took a risk…and you have to applaud the man for taking on that sort of decision. My guess is…production will come from someone else. It usually does…funny how that works sometimes. The names coming to the league this year are awesome. and truthfully I see a fresh new approach.

  5. I agree that you always have to make the best decision for your team, but the rationale for keeping Maness isn’t simply based on his popularity.

    He was among the league leaders in homers and steals and, unlike some of his replacements, a guy that you could count on to be with the team for the entire season.

    We’ll see the impact of this decision soon enough, one way or the other.

  6. So what is the opinion on Lancaster releasing Ambrosini then? Same kind of deal.

  7. It’s similar in the respect that both clubs cut a player who was coming off a way above-average season, but the situations are different.

    Ambrosini, as has been reported, wasn’t showing the right attitude and approach. I don’t think this was ever the case with Maness.

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