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York Revolution's 2021 season scheduled to begin in late May

STEVE HEISER
717-505-5446/@ydsports
PeoplesBank Park in York is shown during the Revolution's home opener in 2018. Pandemic permitting, the Revs are hoping to open the 2021 season in late May.

If everything works according to plan, the York Revolution will return to the field in late May.

The Revs have not played an Atlantic League game since late September of 2019. The entire 2020 Atlantic League season was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving PeoplesBank Park without its feature attraction.

Tuesday, the Atlantic League announced it plans to open its 23rd official championship season on May 28.

In a news release, the Atlantic League said it would work with team executives on additional details for the 2021 season, including safety protocols. 

“Our priority is protecting public welfare, and we still have much to do,” said Atlantic League president Rick White in the news release. “The league is finalizing the admission of new teams, conducting player signings, and working with our Major League Baseball partners on test initiatives for the ’21 campaign.

"We are mindful of government safety concerns, especially ballpark attendance allowances. But even as we address those challenges, we feel it critical to announce our intention to play a full season this year. Atlantic League baseball is an essential part of our communities, and we hope this announcement provides inspiration to all our fans.”

White said additional details regarding the full 2021 season will be released soon.

Last summer, pandemic restrictions limited teams to 250 fans per game. League officials said those restrictions made a 2020 season financially untenable. The league depends on fan attendance to produce the bulk of its revenue.

Currently, state restrictions would limit York games to about 750 fans.

It is uncertain what restrictions may be in place in late May. The COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania have fallen a bit of late, and thousands of folks are getting vaccinated each day. Still, there is much concern that new variants of the coronavirus could lead to another surge in COVID-19 cases in the weeks and months to come.

Such a surge could cause a change in the state restrictions and the league's plans.

The Revs, however, are expressing confidence that an Atlantic League season will happen. They are offering Revsurance, a new customer assurance benefit that is included with every sponsorship and ticket. The team wants to assure its partners and ticket buyers that the team will guarantee their investment in Revs baseball.

Six franchises: Currently, the independent Atlantic League is listing six franchises on its website — the Revolution, the Lancaster  Barnstormers, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, the Long Island (New York)  Ducks, the High Point (North Carolina) Rockers and the Gastonia (North Carolina) Honey Hunters. The Honey Hunters are making their Atlantic League debut in 2021.

Last year, the league was scheduled to play with eight franchises, including the all-travel Road Warriors. Two of the league's 2020 franchises, the Sugar Land Skeeters and Somerset Patriots, recently left the league to become affiliated minor-league franchises. Somerset will be a Double-A franchise with the New York Yankees, while Sugar Land will be the Triple-A franchise of the Houston Astros.

There is the potential that the Atlantic League could still add teams in towns and cities that recently saw their teams contracted by Major League Baseball.

Since the team's inception in 2007, the Revs have won three Atlantic League titles — in 2011, 2012 and 2017.

In its last Atlantic League season in 2019, the Revs finished at 75-65 overall and made the league playoffs, losing to Sugar Land in the Freedom Division Championship.

— Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com. This story has been updated and clarified with more details.