If Form Holds on Last-to-First Ritual, York Will Win It All This Season
Longtime major league catcher Andy Etchebarren has been mourning the loss of his wife the last several months, but he now has at least one reason to find some happiness in that he has completed a rags-to-riches type story in rebuilding the York Revolution from last seasonâ€™s 53-87 disaster into the Freedom Divisionâ€™s first-half champions.
If his buddy, Southern Maryland Manager Butch Hobson, can find one more victory against second place Camden in the next three days to nail down the Liberty Division the skippers can relax a bit before the playoffs begin in September and devote more of their daily telephone conversations to such important things as whether Hobsonâ€™s cornbread is the best around or is too dry.
York became only the third team in Atlantic League history to go from last place overall the previous year to a first half title, according to the Revsâ€™ Darrell Henry, and if they continue to follow the pattern of the 2000 Nashua (NH) Pride and the 2007 Newark Bears they will end up with the postseason championship.
Willie Upshaw on Barry Bonds
One person who would like to get in on a championship in the second half of the season was the answer to a trivia quiz we saw being circulated a few days ago.Â The question asked who the first person was to congratulate Barry Bonds after the home run that broke Hank Aaronâ€™s major league record.
The answer was Willie Upshaw, a San Francisco Giants coach at the time, who has assembled a potent offense of his own as manager of the Bridgeport Bluefish.
Upshaw loves teaching hitting, but â€œyou didnâ€™t have to teach him (Bonds).Â He was the master of the swing.Â He was the best hitter Iâ€™ve ever seen.â€
Trio of Former Bluefish Win Top Monthly Honors
Three players in Bridgeportâ€™s immediate past, including two prominent sluggers, have been making names for themselves in other independent leagues this season with a decent shot at having Triple Crown seasons.Â Brandon Sing and Jesse Hoorelbeke were the only Bluefish with more than seven homers last season, each pounding 23.
The duo had 22 home runs between them in Juneâ€”Hoorelbeke had a dozenâ€”and both players were named their new leagueâ€™s Player of the Month.Â They also rank as season leaders in homers.Â Sing has 17 round-trippers, also leads in RBI (50) and is third in average (.391) in the American Association while playing for the Sioux Falls (SD) Pheasants. Hoorelbeke is at 14-33-.328 with Fargo, ND of the Northern League. Making it a total family affair, younger brother Casey Hoorelbeke, also at Bridgeport last season, was the Rawlings Pitcher of the Month in the Northern League.
This â€˜n That
The duo of General Manager Charlie Dowd and Field Manager Tim Raines, Jr. at Newark are continuing to shuffle their roster in an effort to bounce back in the second half.Â They have brought in nine players in the same number of days with the most prominent being outfielder Elijah Dukes, who has 31 major league home runs even though he just turned 26.Â Dukes drove in 58 runs in 107 games in about two-thirds of â€™09 with the Washington Nationals. The Bears have played 32 position players and 21 pitchers this seasonâ€¦former major league pitcher Damian Moss, who was with Long Island for part of 2006, has been released out of Triple-A by Colorado.
(Subscriptions to the Atlantic League Notebook are available on a monthly or full season basis via Â www.AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com or www.WirzandAssociates.com.Â Bob Wirz also writes a weekly subscription column, the Independent Baseball Insider, which can be found via his blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com. The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as chief spokesman for two Commissioners and lives in Stratford, CT.)