Andy Etchebarren admits he wasn't a fan favorite when he took over as the York Revolution manager in August 2009.
But he gradually won over the fans' admiration, and much of that had to do with his fiery competitiveness. He would argue with umpires, opposing managers and even -- in one case in 2010 -- the father of an opposing player sitting in the stands.
Now 69 years old and in his 51st year of professional baseball, Etchebarren said he no longer has that fire.
"You can tell in the second half of the season I've hardly been out talking to them (the umpires)," Etchebarren said. "And I used to enjoy talking to the umpires. If they made a bad call I'm going to let them know it's a bad call. Now they make bad calls I go out and talk to them and I turn around and come in. I have never done that before."
That's part of the reason Etchebarren is retiring at the end of the year. The Revolution made the announcement official Wednesday, while also naming pitching coach Mark Mason as the team's next manager in 2013.
Etchebarren's accomplishments over his five-plus decades in baseball, either as a player, manager, scout or the many other roles he's assumed, are enough to fill a book. But in his time in York, he is 223-199 all-time at the helm, including a 12-5 playoff record, having guided the Revs to Atlantic League championships in each of his two full seasons.
He took over near the end of the 2009 season for a club that finished 53-87. He succeeded former Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles.
After leading the Revs to the club's first league title in 2010, he guided York to a franchise-best regular-season mark at 73-51 in 2011, when the Revs became just the second team in league history to win back-to-back championships.
Health: Etchebarren also said his back problems have had a role in limiting his enjoyment of the game. He went through spinal surgery after the 2010 season and again midway through this season.
"I can't throw batting practice. I can't mess around with the guys. I can't do that anymore," he said. "I can't hit fungos (a small bat used for infield practice). All I can do is manage the game. And I'm tired."
Next role: Etchebarren said he'll continue to stay involved in the game by assuming an advisor role for Opening Day Partners, which owns five of the eight teams in the league, including York.
"I haven't not put a uniform on in 51 years. How am I going to be working for Opening Day Partners?" Etchebarren said. "(Opening Day Partners chairman) Peter (Kirk) hasn't told me exactly what I'm going to do yet."
But more importantly for him, he'll be able to spend time with his family while living in his Florida home that sits on Lake Marian. That has become even more valuable to him since his wife died in January of 2010 after a battle with Hepatitis C.
"I have two grandkids who I've hardly seen. One is 18 and one is 15. My two daughters are 50 and 48. It's time that I spend some regular time with them before God takes me off the Earth," Etchebarren said.
Mason: Mason will bring more than 400 games of managerial experience in the Frontier League to the Revs as skipper next season. He was named the league's Manager of the Year in 2005 when he guided Ohio Valley. He also managed Chillicothe and Washington before his arrival in York in 2010.
Mason moved from Washington County with his wife midway through last season to a home in West Manchester Township.
He said he plans on bringing back third-base coach Enohel Polanco and hitting coach Liu Rodriguez next season.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.