The Envelope Please…

During the York Revolution’s dismal 8-20 start to the 2008 season, the Revs’ clubhouse felt like a morgue.

Players ate their post-game meals in silence. The TV in the corner was the only audible noise. The losing was taking its toll.

Then the pieces started to fall into place. Kennard Jones and Chris Ashby arrived. A couple other moves solidified the bullpen. And all of a sudden baseball fans had a contender to watch every night.

That morgue-like atmosphere in the clubhouse? It gave way to a feeling of excitement every night, one that was topped off with champagne and Bud Light showers for all when York clinched a playoff berth.

So here are the men and moves responsible for making it happen. The following are the York Dispatch’s second annual Revolution awards.

1. Most Valuable Player: Jason Aspito.

Aspito not only set career highs in homers (24), RBIs (105) and walks (56). He was York’s go-to guy in the clutch offensively and defensively all year long. For example, how about the grand slam that snapped a 5-5 tie in the playoff clinching win against Lancaster? Or the two-run homer that brought York to life in Game 2 of the Freedom Division Series before the Revs ultimately fell, 6-4? If you threw a hard hat on Aspito it would make perfect sense. He showed up to work and performed every day in 2008.

Honorable Mention: Chris Ashby, Kennard Jones.

2. Best Pitcher: Aaron Rakers.

Does anybody even remember that Rakers only started one game in his career before this season? Probably not. All the right-hander did was finish second on the Revs’ staff in wins (11), put up a respectable 4.52 ERA and earn July’s Atlantic League Pitcher of the Month. He also pitched the game of his life in the playoffs, throwing 7.1 innings and striking out nine in York’s Game 1 loss to Somerset in the Freedom Division Series.

Honorable Mention: Corey Thurman.

3. Most Underrated Player: Luis Taveras.

York’s pitchers praised Taveras’ handling of the pitching staff, but this Dominican Republic native did plenty of damage with his bat too. Taveras had 11 homers — good for fifth on the Revs — and 41 RBIs while only playing part-time the entire year. His biggest hits also always seemed to come in the clutch and this was all from a 33-year-old backstop.

Honorable Mention: Jose Enrique Cruz.

4. Defensive Player of the Year: Jason Aspito.

Truthfully, picking this award was like going in for a root canal. York committed 156 errors in 140 games in ’08 — second-to-last in the Atlantic League. But Aspito’s eight outfield assists and his willingness to sacrifice his body in right field gave the Revolution a huge boost. He also just barely missed a game-saving, diving catch on the warning track in the playoffs that left him with cuts all over both arms.

Honorable Mention: Kenny Perez.

5. Best Transaction: (Tie) Signings of Kennard Jones and Chris Ashby.

Jones was the offensive catalyst after his signing on June 14. He finished fifth in the league in hitting (.333), stole 17 bases and provided above-average defense in center field. Meanwhile, Ashby became one of York’s most accomplished players ever after joining the Revs on May 28. The 33-year-old hit in an all-time league high 31 games, had 16 homers and 75 RBIs and gave York a reliable No. 3 hitter.

6. Worst Transaction: Signing of Pete Munro.

Munro, who pitched over 190 innings in Taiwan in 2007, was slated to be one of York’s aces. Instead, the former big leaguer joined the Revs with a torn rotator cuff and labrum and never threw a pitch in meaningful action. The bust of this signing set the Revs back weeks and ultimately weakened the bullpen when Rakers was forced to become a starter.

Honorable Mention: Signing of Travis Ezi.

7. Best Relief Pitcher: Jason Olson.

Olson, who underwent two separate Tommy John surgeries once upon a time, was Mr. Consistent for York again after winning this award in ’07. He pitched in a team-high 50 games with a 3.41 ERA a year after posting a 4.03 ERA in 42 outings. Olson was also the guy who wasn’t afraid to throw some chin music to the opposition to protect his teammates.

Honorable Mention: Travis Phelps.

8. Best Interview: (Tie) Corey Thurman and Chris Ashby.

Thurman was like York’s Energizer Bunny this season — he was always talking up his teammates and came a couple of pom-pons short of earning the “Team Cheerleader” award. In all seriousness, though, Thurman is a great guy and an insightful speaker. And Ashby, who’s been through many trying situations in his career, always tells it how it is.

Honorable Mention: Tippy Martinez.

9. Best Story: (Tie) Jason Aspito’s career year and Chris Ashby’s magical season.

Aspito had the year of his life after losing his father, Gerald, in the off-season to a heart attack. His production in ’08 should at least get him some type of spring training look next year. Ashby, who said he plans to retire, went out on top. He finally got the chance to play every day, led his team to a playoff berth and hit in 31 straight games — all at the age of 33.

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6 Responses

  1. Anyone else see the Revs very own Matt Esquivel and Django the monkey on the front cover of this months Memories and Dreams published exclusively for Baseball Hall of Fame members?

    This month they ran an article on Independent teams and the promotions they do. York was the team they did the story on. A picture of Cannon Ball Charlie also made it in with some kid as the grape.

  2. Well if that magazine was published exclusively for BHOFM’s then most of us most likely did not see it. Anywhoo, thanks for sharing that tid-bit.

  3. Hopefully next year the team will have the same fire as the 08 team did, even though that’s unlikely. Never met such a sttrong core group!

  4. What are everyone’s thoughts on Holies? Coming back or hitting the road for something better, maybe a coach in low A ball? I know it’s early but we can all sit at the computer and put our .02 cents into the mix.

  5. Even though we had a rough start this season, Hoiles should definitley be coming back. They made it to playoffs. If he isnt back,, I’m sure the crowd will be slimmer.

  6. Over the weekend in Baltimore, Brooks Robinson cleaned out his basement and sold off over 200 personal items.

    A few that I thought all Rev’s fans would care about….

    1. Brooks opening night Rev’s 1st pitch jersey
    2. Brooks war of the roses Rev’s jersey
    3. Revolution game jacket
    4. 11×14 of Brooks standing with Rev’s coaching staff on opening night, signed by Brooks,Holies,Minor,Bum,Tippy
    5. The street sign at York Pa gave him, naming it Brooks Robinson Way

    A bunch of So. Maryland items were sold also.

    You can check the list out at Dugoutzone.com

    To bad Brooks didn’t sell off the Rev’s stuff at a Rev’s game. Maybe that dumb $$$ who paid 1,000 for a Dryer jersey would have given 10.000 for a Brooks jersey! LOL

    Better yet if Brooks was such a class act he should have given this stuff back to York and the fans of Revolution baseball. What do you think about that Jeff?

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