“The Den” continues to baffle Revs

NEWARK, N.J. — Consider the normal checklist of amenities that accompany typical home-field advantage.
 
First, there’s that cozy recliner in the corner that has your backside’s imprint ingrained in the fabric. Then there’s the comfort of sleeping in your own bed. And don’t forget the value of having your very own clubby around to carry out every desire and to serve as the butt end of a few good-natured jokes. 

The York Revolution enjoy all these luxuries when playing at Sovereign Bank Stadium. But the Newark Bears? Now there’s a team that takes the term home-field advantage to a new level.
 
Sure, the Bears regularly play in front of sparse crowds — about 150 people made Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium feel about as lively as a wake Monday night. But Newark enjoys plenty of perks playing on its home turf.
 
For starters, the Bears get to take shots at a ridiculous porch in left field — registered at 302 feet. The wall in right is measured at 323 feet. And both are two large reasons why Newark is hitting an absurd .319 at home as a team for the year and leads the Atlantic League with 820 runs in 134 games. That is more than 70 runs more than Bridgeport’s second-place offense.
 
“Our pitchers have also pitched much better here in a smaller ballpark than they have on the road,” said Newark manager Wayne Krenchicki (pictured above), whose club is a league-best 40-24 at home. “It’s more than a run a game difference (6.25 ERA road/4.64 ERA home). It’s unexplainable for sure.”
 
York has been dumbfounded by Riverfront Stadium’s quirky layout in its two-year history. The Revs are only 1-7 in Newark this year and 3-13 here all-time.
 
Pitching coach Tippy Martinez only had one word to offer when asked how his staff pitches in Newark — “carefully.”
 
“I don’t mean to rag on the umpires, but you have to throw more strikes,” Martinez (pictured) said. “You throw balls where you want to and it’s not called a strike. So, really, you have to be extra careful here. You have to be a guy who throws a lot of strikes and when you don’t get those called strikes, there’s no sense in giving in.”
 
If York manages to blow its 2 1/2-game lead in the Freedom Division over the next seven games, its troubles in Newark can be viewed as one of the top regrets of the season.
 
“You’ve got a short wall in left and the wind is blowing out 100 mph to right,” Revolution manager Chris Hoiles said. “It’s pick your poison.”

*Krenchicki photo courtesy of Atlantic League Baseball News.

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