Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sovereign Bank Stadium, York PA

Basic Information
Team: York Revolution (Atlantic League)
Game: Revolution vs Bridgeport Bluefish-9/5/09
Ticket Information: (717) 801-HITS
Tourism Information: http://www.yorkpa.com/ or (888) 858-YORK
Online Broadcasts: http://www.wsba910.com/

Team History: After a 38 year hiatus, professional baseball returned in 2007 when the Atlantic League granted an expansion franchise to the city of York, PA in the form of the York Revolution. In their second season, the Revs made the playoffs for the first time, eventually losing to the Somerset (NJ) Patriots in the league's semi-final series.

Team Affiliation: As a member of the Atlantic League, the Revolution are an independent team, as is the same with the remainder of the league.

How About That Name: The home of the Revolution is named for Sovereign Bank, an institution with branches throughout the Northeast. The bank is also the naming sponsor of the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, and the Sovereign Center arena, located in the bank's hometown of Reading, PA.

Getting There: Take I-83 South to Route 30 West Exit 22 (N. George St.) Stay in the middle lane and turn right at the light on to North George Street. Follow that straight through 4 lights, Sovereign Bank Stadium on left.

What to Do Before The Game: According to the city's fine tourist website, York is the "Factory Tour Capital of the World". After reading their site, I have to agree, as well-known companies such as Harley-Davidson, Utz Quality Foods, and Susquehanna Glass all have visitor-friendly factories which offer tours. The visitors bureau website offers links to all of the above companies and more.

Thirty five miles to the west is one of this country's most sacred sites, Gettysburg. The city which was the site of what many feel was the turning point of the Civil War, features guided bus tours, walking tours, and presentations by US Park Rangers detaling all facets of the three day battle. A good place to start your tour is the Gettysburg National Military Parks new visitor center. Located just outside of downtown Gettysburg, the visitor center features an excellent twenty minute orientation movie and an amazing "cyclorama" painting of the days of the battle. It also has a restaurant and gift store. For more information, call (717) 334-1124 or visit http://www.nps.gov/gett/index.htm.

Where To Eat Before The Game: There isn't really anything restaurant-wise in the immediate area of the ballpark, but there are many fast-food and family-type restaurants on US-30.

Where To Stay: There are no hotels immediately around the ballpark, but there are a selection on US-30, and there are more on I-83. The Revolutions official host hotel is the Yorktowne Hotel, which is located in downtown York. For more information, visit http://www.yorktowne.com/ or call (800) 233-9324.

Tickets: Revolution tickets are as follows: $12.00 (Dugout Box), $10.00 (Field Box), $6.00 (Ollie's "Cheap Seats"-Lawn Seating).

Parking: There is a small lot at the railroad station adjacent to the park, but that is restricted to handicapped pass holders. The general parking is in private lots around the stadium. I parked at a lot belonging to an office building one block south of Sovereign Bank Stadium for three dollars. One word of warning, the park is not exactly in the best neighborhood in the world, but if you leave the game with the rest of the crowd, you'll be OK.

The Good Seats: Sovereign Bank Stadium is designed in the traditional "wishbone" shape, and with the main seating bowl having about 15-18 rows, all of the seats give an outstanding view of the field.

Stadium Food: Sovereign Bank Stadium has an excellent selection of concessions. Down the first base side, there is a barbecue stand (White Rose Barbecue), and down third base there is the Philly Grill and a Pizza Hut stand, as well as stands on both sides which sell the normal ballpark fare. In addition, the home of the Revs features local favorites Turkey Hill ice cream, Auntie Anne's pretzels, and a local french fry company (I can't remember the name). The french fry folks also have their own stand in center field, next to the playground.

Scoreboard/Stadium Voice: SBS features an in-game, manually operated scoreboard set into the base of the 38' foot tall wall in left field, called the "Arch Nemesis", as well as a video board in right-center. The video board gets substantial use, but until the sun sinks behind the park's roof, it can get a little washed out.

My new friend, Rev's Corporate Sales Manager Mary Beth Ching, did a terrific job as the PA voice as well as the singer of the national anthem.

Game Staff: Exceedingly friendly and helpful! Everyone from top to bottom was welcoming and helpful, even the scoreboard operators! While I was walking around the park shooting some photographs, I got into a discussion with the two guys who were charged were putting the appropriate numbers in the left field scoreboard. After a few seconds, they invited me to come into their area and take a few pictures!

Souvenirs: The Rev's have a very good merchandise store (which was thankfully air-conditioned) just adjacent to the park's main entrance.

Atmosphere: For a "smaller" team, the Revolution put on an excellent "show". The crowd was lively, and very much into the game. A few sections over from where I was sitting was an older gentleman, who was obviously a long-time fan, encouraged the fans to yell out "Hit the Wall!" everytime a Rev's player stepped up to the plate.

Another fixture at SBS is "Cannonball Charlie". A staffer dressed as a Revolutionary War infantryman, Charlie's job is to set off his cannon every time the Revolution hit a homer or fire off a celebratory shot after a Rev's win.

Overall: Simply an outstanding experience. I highly recommend for anyone that is going to be in central Pennsylvania to take a trip down to York for a Revolution game. You won't be disappointed!