Series 8: York @ Newark

Editor’s Note: This column originally ran in Monday’s edition of the York Dispatch.

Jason Aspito swings one of the heaviest bats on the York Revolution.

It turns out that he also carries a pretty heavy heart around too.

After Aspito was convinced he was going to retire after last season, a life-changing event brought the outfielder back to York this year. His father, Gerald Anthony Aspito, passed away from a heart attack suddenly on a plane ride to Arizona around Thanksgiving. He was 68 — not to mention the reason his second-eldest son starting playing baseball.

So after some heartfelt deliberation, Aspito, 29, decided to give pro baseball another year. For himself. For hope. For his dad.

And when Aspito doubled in his first at-bat of the season in Camden, N.J., he reached second base and the tears started to flow. For the first time, it set in that he wouldn’t be sharing a post-game phone conversation with his biggest supporter.

“Hitting the double in my first at-bat, it was the coolest thing I ever did,” Aspito said. “That’s all that I had in my mind. I just wanted to play well for him.”

Gerald Aspito never played professionally, but he did play left field for Notre Dame as a freshman in college. Unfortunately, he ended up as the team’s public address announcer after losing his position to a young man named Carl Yastrzemski.

But even though his playing career was cut short by a future Triple Crown winner, Gerald Aspito learned the importance of never pumping up his three sons too much. And he made sure all their chores were done before he let his boys engage in their usual games of pepper.

“I think he thought, just like most fathers, that their kid is the greatest, but he would never come out and say that,” Aspito said. “He would keep me grounded.”

Aspito is presently mired in an offensive slump. He’s hitting .208 and finished the Revs’ 2-4 homestand 2-for-15. But the Chicago native has found other ways to contribute. He has five of York’s six outfield assists and he’s tied for the club lead in home runs (3). But if not for his dad, none of it would be possible.

Gerald Aspito encouraged his son to attend a Northern League open tryout early last year. That led to a contract with Edmonton. And after things didn’t work out there, Aspito was signed by York and has quickly become a fan favorite.

The only problem now is that Gerald Aspito never got a chance to see his son play in the White Rose City. But that’s not really how Jason sees it.

His father is still watching him somewhere, proud as could be.

Newark Notes: Cory Aldridge continues his scalding pace. Newark’s No. 3 hitter is hitting .353 over his last 10 games and entered Sunday second in the Atlantic League with a ridiculous .385 average… Pat Stanley will pitch the first game of the series. Stanley had thoracic outlet syndrome last season and had part of his rib removed to correct the problem. No all the blood flows properly to his pitching hand when he raises his arm. Stanley is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA… Newark was hitting .268 as a team entering Sunday — not quite the blistering average from last season. But still good for fourth in the league… The Bears’ pitching staff has a 4.66 ERA, just barely in front of the Revolution (4.64)… Benito Baez is tied with former Barnstormer Zach Parker for the league lead in shutouts (1). Baez will pitch Game 4 of the series… Newark is 17-4 all-time against the Revs.

York Notes: York will try to improve on its 1-9 road record. Hopefully, the walk-off win from Sunday afternoon will light a fire under the team… Entering Sunday Matt Dryer was 11-for-33 with two homers and two doubles in his last 11 games. Dryer is also the only Rev hitting over .300 on the road at .313… 11 of the Revs’ 16 home runs have been solo shots this year. Tyler Von Schell is the king of the solo blast. He has three of them… The Pizza Hut Breadsticks K-Man was hitting an average .256 coming into Sunday, although that’s much improved from the beginning of the year… Jason Olson holds the Revs’ all-time mark for ejections from a player. He was tossed twice last year and once this season… Dave Gassner has been superb on the mound, but his pick-off move is also something special. He’s picked off three guys already this season.

*Aspito photo by John Pavoncello.

Pitching Probables: (York’s starters first)

Game 1: Aaron Rakers (1-2, 4.91 ERA) vs. Pat Stanley (1-0, 2.70 ERA)

Game 2: Wayne Franklin (3-0, 3.68 ERA) vs. Will Cunnane (1-0, 6.00 ERA)

Game 3: Aaron Myette (1-3, 7.56 ERA) vs. Mike Bumstead (2-3, 6.07 ERA)

Game 4: Corey Thurman (0-4, 10.35 ERA) vs. Benito Baez (2-1, 3.18 ERA)

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5 Responses

  1. Thanks for the nice article..Jason’s a great guy who deserves a lot of success. Hopefully this will be his year.

  2. Aspito does seem like a good guy.

    I’ve been sitting out in left field a lot this season, and there always seem to be some obnoxious kids (and sometimes adults) yelling at him for a ball or for some other reason. He’s pretty good about giving them a nod or a wave, at least, when it would be easy to just ignore them.

    I’m sure his hitting will come around, he was pretty hot to start the season but he may have been dragged down with the rest of the offense lately.

    I’m pretty optimistic about Rakers ability to start. He looked strong against Newark last week, so he might be getting used to starting. He’ll have to be great if Stanley pitches as well as he did last week.

    Wednesday will be a big day for Myette. After two disastrous starts in a row, following a couple good starts, he has to make sure that the downward trend doesn’t continue.

  3. Parents are always around – seen and unseen. Always there to root their sons on and give them support. A reason to do your best, no matter what!

  4. Ladies and gentleman, my father!

  5. Jaosn Aspito is a great guy and I hope that he has a sucessful season! My heart breaks for what he had to go through.

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