York Revolution catcher Sandy Aracena warms up before the team’s 2008 home opener Tuesday at Sovereign Bank Stadium in York. The Revs defeated the
York Revolution catcher Sandy Aracena warms up before the team's 2008 home opener Tuesday at Sovereign Bank Stadium in York. The Revs defeated the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, 9-0. For more on the game, (Daily Record/Sunday News - Bil Bowden)

From ballboy to player to fan, Art "Zeno" Lentz of West York has seen and done it all when it comes to York baseball.

The 81-year-old was perched in his seat behind home plate during the York Revolution's home opener Tuesday night at Sovereign Bank Stadium against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.

"This is a really beautiful ballpark," Lentz said of the fully completed
stadium.

The Revolution won, 9-0, chalking up their first win of the season.

To say that Lentz was excited about baseball coming back to York last summer would be an understatement, considering the history he shares with local baseball.

"It doesn't take me much to get excited," Lentz said.

Back in 1943, Lentz was a ballboy for the York White Roses for two years, before going off to the Army.

Long lines await the open gates two hours before game time.
Long lines await the open gates two hours before game time. (Daily Record/Sunday News - Bil Bowden)
Some of his favorite memories include chasing kids who wouldn't give him the baseball back.

With his ball-chasing and 20-plus years of playing the game behind him, Lentz found himself seated comfortably beside his wife of 59 years, Ruth, on a chilly April evening.

"It's remarkable how they put such a beautiful stadium in between two train tracks," Ruth Lentz said of the Revs' home field.

Indeed, the completed Sovereign Bank Stadium had plenty to offer the crowd of 6,038 Tuesday night. Whether it's the playground in center field or the lawn seating in right-center field, everyone comes to the ballpark for one reason: to have a good time.

"It's exciting to be here," Anthony Champa of Manchester Township said. "It's (the stadium) obviously going to be much better than last year. It's like stadium 2.0, the finished product."

Champa, who was sporting a wool Brooks Robinson Orioles jersey, traveled to see the Revs play in Camden, N.J., and Lancaster last season, but he said he enjoys just driving a few minutes to catch a local game.

"It's a perfect fit for a town of our size," Champa said.

Baseball, known for being a sport that brought fathers and sons together, has continued that trend in York.

Dave and Eric McNeil have used the national pastime as a bonding tool for the past two decades.

Eric, who will play in his first season for the Red Lion Susquehanna League team this summer after playing 10 years for the Dover Central League squad, and his dad, Dave, have spent many summers together around the diamond.

"It's a blast, I think it's awesome," Eric McNeil said of watching the Revs play in the company of his dad. "You learn about the game by being around it."

The McNeils also shared a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity last season, when season-ticket holders were offered a chance to take batting practice before one of the Revs' games.

Families watch the York Revolution home opener from the grassy knoll beyond the right-center-field wall at Sovereign Bank Stadium in York.The Revs defeated
Families watch the York Revolution home opener from the grassy knoll beyond the right-center-field wall at Sovereign Bank Stadium in York.The Revs defeated the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs 9-0. (Daily Record/Sunday News - Bil Bowden)

It's a day that Eric McNeil won't soon forget.

He took former Revs hitting coach Ryan Minor, who was throwing the batting practice session, deep over the 38-foot-high Arch Nemesis wall in left field.

"It was probably the most memorable home run I've ever hit, and it happened in batting practice," Eric McNeil said.

Dave McNeil, who is a coach, has noticed some drop-off in baseball participation in the past few years. But he said that, by youngsters getting a chance to watch the Atlantic League players, their passion for the sport will increase once again.

"There's been some dying numbers for baseball around the area, so hopefully this will get the blood flowing for the sport again," Dave McNeil said.

Many of the fans just want baseball to stick around York for a long time.

"I would accept the team going 10 games under .500 if they had some of the same guys come back year after year so you get used to seeing them," Champa said.

The Revs have also have given the community something else to do for entertainment on those long summer evenings.

"There's nothing better than being outside watching baseball on a beautiful night," Amanda Zeager of Dover said.