The winning formula

Editor’s Note: This column ran in Monday’s York Dispatch.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve tried to put the York Revolution’s thrilling second-half turnaround into words.

I’ve tried to explain it by pointing out the mid-season roster moves the Revs made — chiefly, the acquisitions of Kennard Jones and Chris Ashby.

I’ve tried to make sense of it with the realization that York’s big hitters and pitchers simply started playing up to their potential.

And then there’s the law of averages — York had to make the playoffs sooner or later in a league where four of eight teams qualify for the postseason each year, right?

Well, yes.

But here’s a theory that hasn’t received much credence yet — team unity. And I’m not necessarily talking about the great team chemistry this club found late in the season.

Seven of the starting nine that led York in the playoffs were with the Revolution in spring training. That’s Matt Esquivel and Jason Aspito in the outfield and Kenny Perez (3b), Keoni De Renne (ss), Jose Enrique Cruz (2b), Sandy Aracena (c) and Matt Padgett (dh). Matt Dryer (dh/1b) and Luis Taveras (c), who were both with the club in the spring, were also there on the bench.

Basically, the Revs had the luxury of keeping the same team intact the whole year. There were very few defections to Mexico or Taiwan, although some Revs were very close to leaving. And York only had four players purchased by affiliated organizations — one being Perez, who returned in September.

Other teams were not this lucky. Somerset lost Aaron Fultz, its probable top starter in the playoffs, to Taiwan only a week prior to the postseason in a move that seriously ticked off Patriots’ manager Sparky Lyle.

“That really sticks in my craw because I think this league has to do something to prevent that from happening,” Lyle said. “Really, it’s not only us, but it happens to every team in this league.”

Lyle is right on here. The Atlantic League has to create some sort of incentive to keep players from chasing bigger paychecks. Lye suggested a two-year ban for those who defect mid-season.

And his suggestion makes sense because York was a definitive example of how a team can benefit from spending an entire season together. The club grows. Its players have a bond with each other and the fans.

And then great things, like a city’s first pro baseball playoff berth since 1969, can happen.

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16 Responses

  1. Just a thought- how about paying the players more than 2000 a month. For many players when you have a choice of making anywhere from 8000 to 90000 a month it becomes about individual situations and what they are. You can’t knock someone for that- that’s a huge difference in salary.

  2. meant 9000.00 not 90000.00 obviously!!

  3. He’s right. These guys do have families to take care of, with or without baseball. If the option is there to make that much more money, they really have no choice but to go.

  4. The Atlantic League salary has been the same since the league’s inception. Is it fair? No. But it’s not going to change, so the “these guys have families” explanation is kind of tired, in my opinion. You wouldn’t take a job at McDonald’s and then complain about your minimum wage, would you?

    If there’s a concern about money, the Atlantic League is not the best place to play. It’s that simple. It’s a league where a player who’s serious about making it back to an affiliated organization should play for one year — maybe two. It’s not the place to make a living.

  5. I don’t blame the guys who take the big bucks in Mexico and Taiwan. I’d probably go the same route.

    My point was that these players should make a choice between more exposure and more bucks and stick to it. Give the Atlantic League a chance to work.

    Don’t join the league for a month, then make a rash decision that ultimately lowers the quality of baseball in the league.

  6. So Sparky gets upset because Fultz left — How did Somerset pitchers feel about the signing of a ‘new pitcher’ Sept 15 and pitching the playoff game against the Revs? What management does to win is ok, but what players do to earn more, get a break isn’t? Something is wrong! I don’t think situations like that are fair or even ethical.

  7. So after reading posts, I thought I would look up salaries for minor league baseball. Looks to me that the players have nothing to complain about. The AL seems to pay at a similar rate as affiliated

    Minor League Baseball – Set Up
    The Minor Leagues are divided into three levels.
    # Triple-A – This is the highest level of baseball under the MLB. Typically an MLB team is comprised of 40 players, though only 25 of those players can dress. The remaining 15 players usually play on the Triple-A team until they get called up. Triple-A teams are also based in big cities such as Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Nashville. Salary – $2150 US a month.
    # Double-A – Technically, Double-A is a step down from Triple-A, but the competition can be just as tough. There are plenty of players in Double-A who are on big league rosters by the end of the season. Double-A teams are based in medium-sized cities such as Akron, OH; Portland, Oregon and San Antonio, Texas. Salary – $1500 US a month.
    # Single-A – Is a league for players who still need to develop their overall skills. Typically the players in Single-A are new draft picks, undrafted free-agents and younger international prospects. Single-A teams are based in medium-sized cities such as Ashville, NC or suburbs like Salem, VA. Salary – $850-$1050 US a month.

  8. The point is — players LOVE THE GAME & PLAYING. Tha is why they are playing. The money is in the majors, until then players struggle financially. Living in hotels, being away from families or trying to have families with them isn’t easy. While they are playing in the summer, their bills at home continue. Players don’t even break even with all the expenses. They have to save all winter, unless they have made it and have a nest egg. When given the opportunity – they have to make the choice. We have no right to be critical of anyone who is trying to better themselves.

  9. I agree that these players should be payed more because alot of them do have families they need to support, but at the same time this is the Atlantic League and they are here to make it back into an affiliated organization. Even though they are here for the love of the game, I think they should be awarded more. This league is all about promotions and stuff like that and the players feel like they are just a side show. Give it to em’

  10. Here’s a thought (that will never happen), how about less promotions and more pay for the players. Who cares if we go to the park(s) to watch a game and don’t get a nifty “prize”, i need no reward for going (besides seeing a game).

  11. I don’t think it’s a league problem at all, or the players, it’s the myopic view of the fans.

    Although I agree the promotions could be dwindled in favor of more pay for the players, let’s not forget the two most over-riding factors here.

    Those promotions are brought on by sponsorships, so to eliminate those promotions would actually be cutting FURTHER into the players pockets.

    This brings me to the next point, the most important one.

    Almost above (some could even argue slightly or even completely above) getting players back to affiliated ball is the almighty DOLLAR.

    This is a business first and foremost. Hence another reason those promos will never go wayside, they bring in the casual fan and help attract the family demographic. In fact pretty much everything annoying about A-League ball is necessary because of the bottom line.

    The A-League is what it is; a league to get serious ballers back to affiliated play. Like Jeff said the “families” argument is tired, because they make the choice to play in the end. It’s not a sudden surprise to then find out what it pays, or they don’t suddenly realize “oh crap I got a family.”

    Another point left behind I feel is the inherent problem with paying the players more, rising costs.

    That’s all well and great that people are basically saying “pay them more” but I wonder are these the same people who are then willing to put up with increased ticket and concession costs??

    Part of what makes the Revolution a success in York is their reasonable prices. I’m sure the same people wanting more pay now would be the first ones to complain when costs rise.

    Again, this is a business. Never lose sight of that, even the pro game….ultimately a business.

    I think it all lies on the fans for their misperception of the league, and sport, as a whole. The readers view on here seems far too myopic, not misguided.

  12. That was not to be critical of the players in any way. I agree with ‘Mary’ that we should never criticize someone trying to better themselves.

    however, at the same time I won;’t feel smypathy for a player who’s only outlet is the A-league and then boo-hoo’s about pay…

    Again its not a surprise, and although they are trying; popular sentiment might be that learning a trade might be a better way for improvement at certain points.

    I don’t feel sorry for the player who can’t realize it’s never going to happen and then rather then start a more lucrative career, complains about being in the A-league and the pay that comes along with it.

  13. repeat – THE GUYS ARE PLAYING BECAUSE OF THE LOVE OF BASEBALL.

    Whether or not we want to admit – baseball is a business. It is run like a business, management is paid higher. Sponsors can ‘throw a party’ for winners and write it off. It has to be that way — it’s not sandlot.

    Players know they aren’t going to get much pay, they are there because they love to play and are looking for an opportunity to advance.

    Sometimes it appears that the owners are like kids trading baseball cards, but they do it with people.

    I am glad the guys and families make the sacrifices they do to enable all of us to have some reasonable priced family outings.

  14. I somehow doubt the writer of this blog has kids, otherwise he would not say -The family excuse gets old, that is just a ignorant statement and only someone who has no clue about being a adult would make such a sweeping statement. Players get cut, players leave , players get traded baseball is a business and as much as many do it for the love of the game- they also all have different backgrounds and unique needs and if a player makes a choice to go play in another league then that’s part of the business.

  15. Easy there Rock,

    In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t have kids, so you’ll probably just dismiss dissenting opinion as “ignorant” rather than trying to understand it (very adult, something I hope you pass along to those kids, if you don’t agree just call it ignorant and ignore it.)

    But Jeff’s right (kids or not), the “family” excuse is tired and old.

    These guys know what the league pays, it’s no secret. These guys know they have families, again no secret there. No one is forcing them to play, they’re doing it because they love it, they’re chasing a dream and they think there is a shot in it somewhere; and this is all fine and well within their right and more power to them for doing it.

    I understand the family argument, but at the same time have a hard time feeling sorry for them.

    I was fortunate enough to be blessed by example. My father dreamed his entire life of being a musician or at least having a great job in the music industry.

    He was “rising through the ranks” when he met/fell in love with my mother. He then MADE THE CHOICE to start a family and still pursue his dream.

    However, things weren’t going the way he liked (sort of like most A-leaguers) and he KNEW he had a family to take care of. Sure my mother supported his chasing of his dream, so he continued to try and have it both ways. So he spent a few more years, taking lesser pay (lesser gigs) and working tirelessly for something to break.

    Eventually, BEING A RESPONSIBLE ADULT, he had to give up his dream for steadier income to support his FAMILY that he chose to have.

    Also, spare the whole “but this is all they know” argument. While that might be true in that baseball is the only form of employment they’ve known, they should know more.

    I’m sure a vast majority of A-leaguers got a quality EDUCATION for FREE or at least half-paid from scholarships.

    Again back to my example, my father now makes six-figures WITHOUT a college education, so spare me the “this is all they know” argument. Music was all he knew, and with hard work and intelligence he did just fine.

    If they didn’t MAKE THE CHOICE to take advantage of their educational opportunity that’s no one else’s fault but theirs.

    In the end its all about PERSONAL CHOICE. I don’t knock these guys for jumping at the first chance at a better gig and more pay, because they are trying to be the lucky few who can live their dream and support a family.

    God bless and good luck to all the A-leaguers, I just hope the less-successful ones are blessed with the resolve to find success elsewhere in life.

  16. In the end, it’s hard to listen to boo-hoo about family when these guys are choosing to pursue baseaball.

    If its that bad where the pay doesn’t warrant a family, then how about realizing when the game has passed you by, their are bigger things in life and put that college degree to use.

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