Mail bag: The big blue … thing

Heather won this week’s set of ticket vouchers to a future Revolution game.

As usual we’ll be giving out even more free tickets next week.

But we have to make you work for them. Our weekly feature — the Inside Pitch mail bag — relies on YOU, dear reader, and if you participate, you’ll get a chance to win two vouchers to a future York Revolution home game. Here’s how it works:

Post your Revs question in the comments section of this blog post. You have until 3 p.m. Friday, July 6, to submit a question. Posting your comment is your entry into a random drawing for two vouchers to a future York Revolution home game.

Check back on the blog on Saturday: We’ll answer one of the submitted questions, and we’ll announce which random commenter won the ticket vouchers.

So comment on this post, ask a question, and you just might win some tickets.

Be creative with your questions: Something you’re curious about, our insight into the team, predictions for the season or trivia that you haven’t been able to answer. Questions with a “yes” or “no” answer aren’t any fun, and the better the question, the more likely we are to answer it! Check back each Saturday to see the latest delivery from the mail bag. We’ll keep it going until we run out of tickets or you run out of Revs questions. And now some answers …

Question: How did they chose what and who their mascot (DownTown) would be?

Answer: The Revs hired Raymond Entertainment to help develop and create a mascot that would eventually become DownTown. The Emperor of Fun and Games at Raymond Entertainment is David Raymond, and yes that’s actually his title. Raymond’s claim to fame is he was the first Phillie Phanatic. One of the first people to work as a mascot for a career, and not just to wave at passing cars from a median strip, Raymond followed in the footsteps of the San Diego Chicken — who had become a sensation after agreeing to pass out candy Easter eggs for a radio station in 1974.

Late in the 1970s, Raymond accepted the Phanatic job because he was working as an intern with the Phillies and desperately wanted a job. Raymond — in the Phanatic suit — eventually became one of the most recognizable mascots in sports, some would say the best. Raymond retired from being a full-time performer after the 1993 season, and he headed into the business of developing mascots. Former Revs front office employee Greg Vojtanek worked with the Raymond Entertainment group, opting not to go with a Revolutionary War-type figure instead creating something unique and more children-friendly. (By the way, what is DownTown? Nobody knows.)

Raymond himself sat in on the interviews to select a mascot. Individuals sat down with Raymond and a couple Revs employees in a typical interview setting, the interview then changed drastically. Hopeful job applicants changed into DownTown for the final portion of the interview. Raymond shouted out directions — to dance at one point, and display more energy gradually — and the front office, with Raymond’s input, eventually hired Tim Beckwith to serve as the first DownTown.

Question: Where there no other locations available for the stadium, seems to be a seedy part of town?

Answer: There were other locations. At one point the city looked at the Ohio Blender area, located near Beaver/Gay streets — not far from the current stadium. But that location would prove costly for developers, since railroad tracks would need to be moved. Organizers also examined a site just outside the city in Spring Garden Township near York College. That site was ruled out, I believe, because it was located outside the city. If organizers wanted to revitalize the city, they couldn’t do so from outside the city. And of course Small Field didn’t work out as a site since the school district decided it wanted facilities independent of a minor league franchise.

One of the reasons the current site worked is because it was not the best section of town. Former Lancaster mayor Charlie Smithgall said in an interview, one of the keys to Lancaster building a stadium before York was their ability to change locations — finding a spot in the city that few people were emotionally attached to. York found that type of area in a section of town once called The Swamp.

Question: I was recently at a game and noticed the two new additions to the outfield wall … the tiny blue flags. I know they represent the years the Revs have been champions but really two small flags?! Who decided on that? Shouldn’t we be proud of our team’s accomplishments and have a banner or something else bigger?

Answer: The Revs have a tentative plan to improve the look of the pennants, but it might not be unveiled until the 2013 season. If the Revs follow through with their plans, it should help fans take notice of the pennants. Right now the banners stand on their own. And they do look tiny. But after the Revs won the title in 2010, front office employees had to decide how to honor the championship season. They decided on a sign in the shape of a pennant, and on the ground the signs did look massive. They stood about 10 feet tall. But when hoisted atop of a mammoth advertisement wall, they look rather unimpressive. The Revs are aware of the appearance though, and the team could make changes in the coming months. Remember, if they made changes this season they might just have to redo it at the end of 2012 if manager Andy Etchebarren has his way and the Revs win a third straight championship.

And before we end this week’s entry, Rick asked what my suggestion for a team was way back when. I suggested the Rail Splitters in 2006. The stadium is sandwiched between two railroad tracks. The stadium is located close to the Lincoln Highway — Honest Abe being the most famous Rail Splitter of all. And the split-finger fastball remains one of the more devastating strikeout pitches. Yeah, no one liked that name either.

About Jim Seip

Jim Seip has been posting podcasts with Frank Bodani for years. He deserves a trophy.
This entry was posted in Andy Etchebarren, Atlantic League, Jim Seip, Mail bag, York baseball history and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Mail bag: The big blue … thing

  1. Adam says:

    The banana seems to have an unfair advantage during the fruit race. Have you thought about giving the grapes a head start?

  2. Katie Roberts says:

    The recent nasty weather has made me wonder who at the stadium keeps an eye on the weather during the game and makes the decisions related to rain delays and cancelations?

  3. Bill Gunter says:

    How many logos has the team had over the years and what goes into selecting a logo?

  4. rebeeca keller says:

    my son loves going to the games. but when we are there and he sees the events for the with kids he gets a little down. we don’t get out to many games because of work schedules but when we do how can we get him envolved in some of these events? (he’s 11yrs old with autism). Also is there anything else we can do for him to meet some of players on a one-on-one time maybe before the game? he loves to meet them get autographes but it seems he gets passed by alot of the time due to his speech delay.

  5. Denise Kline says:

    Is there any one section that is better to sit in?

  6. trista morthland says:

    How many times has the cannon been fired since the Revs came to York?

  7. Courtney says:

    sometime they have guy strapped to the wall and he has a chance to win money if he catches a fly ball in his net or his glove. Has anyone ever caught a ball??

  8. Ken G says:

    What are the chances that Corey Thurman gets picked up by a MLB team?

  9. Tom Stover says:

    What are the names of the REV’s current players that were formerly in the major leagues?

  10. Carrie Reich says:

    It seems to me the concessions have less variety than in past years – it is all typical ballpark fare. What (if any) would be considered the signature item at Sovereign Bank Stadium concessions? Is there anything unusual that you can’t find at any other stadium? Something that says “I know I’m in York”? (I guess Bricker’s fries might count, but you can get fries anywhere – not necessarily as good.)

  11. Katie says:

    Who comes up with the neat cartoon segments that appear on the screen during the game?