York County residents may have seen the billboards recently off to the side of some of the busier roads.
Plastered in the middle of the billboard is a picture of the York Revolution mascot, Downtown, and a child at a Revs game. The picture is dubbed with the Twitter hash tag "RevsMagic."
It seems the marketing campaign for the York Revolution in 2014 is embracing the various ways children can experience lasting memories at an independent league baseball game, such as watching or participating in between-innings promotions, playing on the playground equipment behind the outfield walls, getting autographs from players or even running the bases after a game.
For those coming to watch baseball, though, this version of the Revolution has a few more players than usual with local ties who fans can cheer for. All but one was in action Monday during York's first day of spring training at Santander Stadium. The Revs will open the 2014 campaign April 24 when they play host to Camden at 6:30 p.m.
Local flavor: Among the familiar names on York's roster is former big league infielder Wilson Valdez, who many Phillies fans living in York County might remember from his days of manning shortstop for the Philadelphia Phillies a few years ago. Valdez wasn't at practice Monday but is expected to arrive in York later this week.
There's also York Township resident and former big league reliever Mark Hendrickson, who three years ago was just an hours drive down I-83 pitching for the Baltimore Orioles and two years ago was right in York pitching in the Susquehanna League while trying a new submarine delivery.
And, finally, there's Northern York High School graduate and former big league pitcher Anthony Lerew, who spent the last three seasons pitching overseas but has joined the Revs in an attempt to get back to the majors.
The trio of former big leaguers are new to the Revolution and the independent Atlantic League.
Lerew: Lerew, a 31-year-old right-hander, was among the last batch of signings announced by the Revs this past Friday. Chatting at Monday's practice, Lerew said he lives in Dillsburg with his high school sweetheart and their two children: a 3-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.
"My daughter is starting softball and I wanted to help her out with it. Mommy was like 'well do you wanna play or go watch daddy play?' And she's like 'well I wanna try softball out but I wanna watch daddy play,'" Lerew said.
Drafted out of high school in the 11th round by the Atlanta Braves in 2001, Lerew debuted in the majors four years later and went back and forth between the big leagues and the Class AAA level in 2006 and 2007 with the Braves. He did the same in 2009 and 2010 with the Kansas City Royals. In all, Lerew appeared in 20 big league games, including 11 starts, from 2005 to 2010, accumulating a 1-7 record and 7.52 ERA.
Lerew will be vying for one of the five spots in York's starting rotation over the next week-and-a-half of spring training. If all goes well with the Revs, Lerew feels the Washington Nationals might come calling for his services. He worked out for Nats' executives recently at the club's double-A affiliate in Harrisburg.
"They told me to play around here, get it going and hopefully I get picked up," he said.
— Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.