For Revolution fans bummed out about not getting to see baseball in York last April, the 2013 season brings good news.
The Atlantic League released its 2013 schedule last week, and it includes 10 home games for the Revs in the month of April.
This comes after the Revs had no April home games last season because they began the year in Sugar Land. The nearly-dozen games in York next April are thanks to the 2013 Atlantic League season beginning a week earlier and ending a week earlier. The reasoning behind the earlier start remains a question mark. There are still 140 regular-season games -- 70 at home and 70 on the road -- for each of the eight teams.
The general assumption is that games in September -- when kids are in school and temperatures sometimes aren't accommodating for baseball games -- don't draw as well when compared to the warm summer months when kids are out of school. But when looking at attendance numbers this past season, York drew an average of 4,473 fans over 10 openings in September. In the other 57 home openings, York had an average of 4,016 fans.
Nevertheless, what I'm more concerned about is what impact, if any, this has on Atlantic League teams putting together their rosters? After all, spring training for the Atlantic League will now begin a week earlier, right around the time when affiliated clubs wrap up their spring training and finalize their rosters, leaving players who don't make the cut looking for work.
Some of those players might stay free agents in the hopes of getting a deal with another affiliated team. Others might go play in the Mexican League or somewhere overseas. And others might turn to an independent league, such as the Atlantic League.
Perhaps the earlier start will now give Atlantic League clubs a better shot at signing more talented players. At least that's what York Revolution baseball operations manager Andrew Ball is thinking.
"There is hope that now (free agents) are not gonna sit at home for two weeks (after affiliated spring training) looking for a deal elsewhere, especially the pitchers who want to keep throwing and keep in shape," Ball said.
Winter ball: After playing for the Revs in 2012, starting pitcher Ryan Feierabend and infielders Chris Nowak, Joe Thurston and Johan Limonta are currently playing winter ball in the eight-team Venezuela League.
Feierabend, Thurston and Limonta are teammates with the Lara Cardinals. Thurston is batting .197 through 15 games while Limonta holds a .353 average in seven games. Feierabend has posted 2.12 ERA through three starts. Nowak is hitting .263 with two homers in 11 games for Magellan's Navigators. Revs' player-coach and Venezuela native Liu Rodriguez is also a bench coach for a team in the league. Another member of the 2012 Revs' squad, reliever R.J. Rodriguez, is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 11 appearances for the Guasave Cotton Growers, of the winter Pacific Mexican League.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.