Iwas a skeptic.
I'll be the first to admit it.
When the York Revolution arrived on the local sports scene back in 2007, I didn't like their chances at long-term success.
I didn't think the quality of independent league baseball was all that high. In fact, I said several times that I didn't believe folks in York County would consistently fork over their hard-earned cash to watch players who were barely a notch above Susquehanna League or Central League players.
After all, they could go 25 miles up I-83 to Harrisburg to see real prospects for the Class AA Senators, or go 50 miles down I-83 to see actual Major League Baseball at Camden Yards.
Why would they want to see a bunch of has-beens or never-weres here in York?
I was very wrong about that.
The Revs have twice met a team of local all-stars, winning those two games by a combined score of 28-2. That says a lot about the quality of Atlantic League players.
What says even more, however, is the large number of Revs' players who have earned their way back to affiliated baseball, including four ex-Revolution players who have clawed their way to the major leagues.
The latest Revs' player to get back to the "show" is Scott Rice, who has carved out a nice niche in the New York Mets' bullpen as a left-handed reliever. Dispatch sports reporter John Walk provided an insightful look at Rice's career in Monday's sports section.
Over the years, it's become pretty apparent that the Atlantic League plays good baseball -- probably equivalent to the Class AA level. Like Class AA, on any given night, there is likely some major-league-caliber talent on the field at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
The Atlantic League has clearly established itself as the premier independent baseball organization.
I also had my doubts that Yorkers would continue to support the Revolution at the gate, especially once the newness wore off. In 2007, I wasn't even certain the Revs would still be around in 2013.
Wrong about that, too.
The Revs' average per-game attendance has been relatively stable -- right around the 4,000 mark -- over the years. Crowds have held steady despite the "Great Recession" that ravaged this nation's economy.
The numbers are down slightly this season, but that's likely because of some suspect weather and an inordinate number of early-season weekday home dates while schools were still in session.
York normally sits in the middle of the pack in Atlantic League attendance. The Revs don't rank with larger markets such as Long Island (New York) or Sugar Land (Houston), but they do manage to hold their own.
That can be attributed to the park's family-friendly atmosphere, which annually includes dozens of different promotions, along with a strong on-field product. York won Atlantic League titles in 2010 and 2011, made the playoffs in 2012 and sits above .500 again this season.
The Revs are now in their seventh season in York. During that time, it's become apparent that the folks who run the team and the league have developed a business plan that's well designed and successful.
They effectively package entertainment and baseball to appeal to both the hard-core seamheads and those with only a passing interest in the game.
Of course, the league is not without flaws. But that's for another column, for another day.
Today is a time for an admission.
I was a skeptic.
I was also wrong.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.