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March 21, 2008 March 20, 2008

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Maness Out In Camden
: Every year there’s been baseball in Camden, Dwight Maness has been there.

The Riversharks have played in 894 regular season games as an organization. Maness was on the field for 796 of them.

He had 2,960 at-bats, hit 108 home runs, drove in 455 runs and stole 189 bases. I don’t even want to take a guess at how many autographs he signed.

Unquestionably, the man teammates knew as “Dewey” was the face of the franchise.

But when Camden plays their 895th game, hosting the York Revolution on April 25th, Maness won’t be there.

AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com has learned that the soon to be 34-year-old outfielder won’t be coming back to Camden this year, continuing not only a changing of the guard for the Riversharks, but the league as well.

Emiliano Escandon and Justin Davies have now long since retired. Only Angel Espada remains from the group of players that have been the faces of their respective franchises for as long as they were there, with Espada having enjoyed his ninth consecutive season in Bridgeport last year.

Other long time AL players, like Will Pennyfeather and D.J. Boston are gone too.

Players moving on, whether it be on their own terms or whether they weren’t asked to return, is a part of sports, and the Atlantic League is no exception. But it will still take some getting used to walking into the Camden clubhouse and not seeing Maness, according to Randy McGarvey.

“Playing with Dewey for two years, you’re going to miss a guy like that,” he said.

Although Maness did play for the Somerset Patriots in 1999, it’s hard to imagine him in any other uniform than Camden’s. And he loved playing there, as is evidenced in a 2004 interview we did when he compared playing for Somerset to playing for Camden.

“For me, Camden is home,” he told me.

“I grew up 45 minutes from there so I’m basically home. And it’s very similar, the place looks similar. The fans; we get good fan support, so it’s pretty similar and it’s worked itself into being home.”

So why isn’t he returning for an eighth season?

“The club decided to move in a different direction,” said Camden’s Director of Baseball Operations, David Keller, when reached by phone in Arizona.

“Dwight was a great contributing member of the organization, and was outstanding both on and off the field. He had a good year last season, but we just decided it was time to move on.”

It’s unclear whether Maness will play this year. What is clear is that he can still play.

Last season may have been his best yet; he hit .279 with 21 home runs and 62 RBI.

But Camden’s moving on, and it looks like Maness is too.

Bluefish Sign Three: We’ve already told you about Bridgeport’s trade for Jake Daubert. But the team released two more signings yesterday; Eddy Ramos and Adam Morrissey.

Ramos is a name you know if you’ve followed the league for a while. This will be his sixth year in the Atlantic League, as he’s also pitched for the Road Warriors and Bears. Last season, he was 4-4 with a 1.56 ERA and 16 saves in 44 appearances.

If I remember correctly, Morrissey was very briefly a member of the Camden Riversharks in 2006, but was signed before ever playing a game. Could be wrong there. Anyway, he’s a 26-year-old Australian born second/third baseman who has Triple-A time with the A’s and Rangers.

In Double-A with the Angels organization last year, he led the Texas League in walks, but was also second in strikeouts. – Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Bonds To The A.L.?: According to this article in the Rocky Mountain News, A.L. President Joe Klein has offered all-time home run king Barry Bonds a chance to resume his career in the Atlantic League. He’s offering Bonds the chance to come to Spring Training on April 14, and if he’s not picked up, he can join one of the league’s teams for Opening Day, April 25.

I’d say the chances of this happening are very slim, but I wouldn’t completely write it off. No big-league teams are showing interest in Bonds and the A.L. has housed other superstars (Rickey Henderson). I give it a 20% chance right now.

AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com On Facebook: This is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while. We have so many people that visit the site every day and so I created a new Facebook group specifically for the site. This way people can get to know each other better, comment on happenings and just have a good ‘ole time. Sign up now. – Scott Stanchak

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Comments»

1. Anonymous - March 21, 2008

One of the great class acts of the ALPB is moving on. I can tell you 1st hand Dewey was great on the field in the clubhouse and as a person. Although I can never picture him in a uniform other then Camden I really hope he gets picked up by someone like Will did going to Newark. It is sad to see another face of the league moving on! Best of luck Dewey hope to see ya somewhere this year….Go Steelers!!!

2. LIpaperlantern - March 21, 2008

That is kinda harsh that Camden is going in “a different direction”. This guy should have been allowed to play there until he decided to leave or was performing poorly. I’m glad I’m not a Camden fan.

3. Anonymous - March 21, 2008

As a former opponent of Maness, I concur that he was one of those players that could single-handly change the course of a game…shame that Camden’s front office is hiding behind the “another direction” facade. What other direction besides putting a quality player (and person) on the field could there be?

4. Anonymous - March 21, 2008

Hey John Brandt Chick or Cerney how about making a phone call here? You guys know better then anyone what this guy brings to the table!!!

5. Anonymous - March 21, 2008

get off Randy McGarvys nuts… holy cow all you talk about is Randy…He had 1 above avg season in which he hit a lot of SINGLES now you are acting like he is GOD. He is an avg. player and a below avg. catcher

6. Jeff - March 21, 2008

Hey “anonymous” on the McGarvey comment. How about identifying yourself, instead of hiding without a ‘name’. That way, when you make idiodic comments, we’ll know who you really are.

7. Mike - March 21, 2008

The last time I checked, my address wasn’t “Randy McGarvey’s n***”

The guy upped his average 130 points from one season to another, give him some credit.

It’s always funny to me to see people’s perceptions of what I “always” talk about or the teams I supposedly don’t like, and so on.

He’s one of the guys I talk to on Camden a lot. If you knew the story behind how that all worked out, you wouldn’t have said what you said, either…

8. Jeff - March 21, 2008

Ducks re-sing JOe Valentine. Good move

9. raine - March 21, 2008

One of the biggest reasons we attend the Riversharks games is to see Dwight Maness. Our daughter is his number 1 fan and she is devasted by this news. As soon as I finish this, I plan to email the Riversharks and let them know just how this make long time season ticket holders feel. Maness was a great team player and wonderful to all his fans- this is a disgrace!

10. Jeff - March 21, 2008

Mike – You do a good job of trying to get a good cross section of interviews with players and club officials. Covering a little bit of McGarvey was excellent. I seen you do the same thins for players throughout the league. You go out of your way to try and keep a level playing fields with your coverage. Keep up the great work.

11. Anonymous - March 21, 2008

Carl Everret Resigned with LI DUCKS.

12. Anonymous - March 21, 2008

That was posted already

13. Anonymous - March 21, 2008

all those moves happen in baseball its part off the game.im pretty sure that dewey will get a chance to play with another team.almost all the guys that been around for years and perform well are gone.cain,will,escandon,d.j boston.im pretty sure espada also is done no word about him from bridgeport.

14. Anonymous - March 21, 2008

mike you know what i had found also that non off those guys that had been the faces of their clubs .they dont get offers to at least coach in those teams most off them work in baseball.

15. John - March 22, 2008

In response to Camden’s “foreign” management going in a different direction, all I can say is I this is minor league baseball and I thought it was supposed to be for the fans and the game. Mr. Keller obviously doesn’t get it, Dewey put his heart and soul into this organization and I for one will not forget that. I too will be going in a different direction – that of an ex-season ticket holder. Also, I think I speak for many Rivershark fans, with regards to Mr. Keller, when I say stay in Arizona YOU ARE NOT WANTED HERE!!!

16. Sharks52 - March 22, 2008

I assume the other direction Camden is going towards is saving as much money as possible. It’s a lot cheaper to hire Can-Am guys than it is resigning established players. On the plus side, maybe with the money they save they’ll hire a couple of ushers so when the problems come up you can actually find somebody to help. I hear another rise in ticket prices to watch what’s shaping up to be this year’s version of the Road Warriors.

17. Anonymous - March 22, 2008

Mike- Does Maness not coming back to Camden have anything to do with what happened in Game 3 of the south division series? He and Abreu were some of the players from camden appologizing to the Patriots after the game. I heard that Abreu was not going to be asked back after that and haven’t heard anything about him returning and now Maness isn’t invited back?

Maness is one of the greats in the league and I hope someone picks him up. Cerny, give him a call!!!

18. Mike - March 22, 2008

Let me try to respond to as much of this as I can…

First off, thanks to Jeff for pointing out that we try to bring you as many players from as many teams as possible. If teams want to have their players talk to us once they’re signed, we’d be more than willing to do that…if you think I wouldn’t do 200 interviews on here, you’re wrong.

I see the Riversharks are getting absolutely crushed here, and re-reading the article I wrote, I don’t feel as though I encouraged that at all…

I can certainly understand why the fans are unhappy with the move, but I think to not re-new season tickets or not want to come to a game because of it might be too brash of a decision.

The reason I wrote the story is because a player who had been with a team for seven years wasn’t returning. It wasn’t to set up Camden to get slammed, although I did expect the reaction to be what it was…and again, I don’t fault the fans for feeling the way they do.

Any sort of mean-spirited comments towards David Keller…he’s a good guy, you guys should know that. He made an unpopular decision, but I don’t think he would have made it if he didn’t think it was in the best interests of the ballclub.

As for why Maness didn’t come back, I’m not sure. Regarding the incident in question, I’m surprised that Aric Leclair was returning…but I don’t know if that played any role in Maness not coming back.

19. Karina - March 22, 2008

I think this decision is only to Mr. Keller’s liking it seems he doesn’t get what the Riversharks are all about. The Riversharks are about the game and the fans, not alot of fans or players like this decision. I’m a big fan of Dewey’s and have come to the Riversharks for four years to see him and the other players. mr. Keller needs to relize it’s not all about him. He opened a can of worms for the Riversharks and I hope he changes his mind and signs Dwight but if not my mind is set I’m leaving with Dwight. I would also like to say to Dwight Good Bye and Good Luck.

20. John - March 22, 2008

Mike, I feel I need to explain myself, being one of the Shark fans that will not be coming back as aseason ticket holder and also “bad mouthed” David Keller. First of all, since Mr. Schilling passed away subsequent ownership has treated this team and its fans as second class citizens. They have pinched pennies and have not cared less about the chemistry of the team. I have been a long time season ticket holder and have had the chance to speak with many of the players and coaches that have come through Camden and one thing has remained constant – “The fans are great and they love it here, but ownership is no Mr,. Schilling. In regards to not renewing my season tickets because of the Maness incident, all I can say is that this is the biggest insult to a class individual and Shark fans as a whole. In defense of my comment about Mr. Keller – I stand by it – he has no regard for the players and the fans and I feel that this ownership has treated its fan base simply as cash register reciepts for much too long. We all must remember, which I have no question that you and the writers on this site know, Atlantic League baseball is about the fans and the game. This is what draws fans to this type of baseball. Mr. Keller has turned it into a business and as a business that has no loyalty or class – and I do mean class – I choose to do the only thing I can to show my displeasure, that is without my dollar from their pockets.

Finally, I would like to briefly touch on the playoff series with Somerset last year. I have know idea why everyone keeps putting the blame solely on Camden. I was there for that last game in camden, sitting right behaind the Sharks dugout where I could not only see everything going on, but also hear everything going on. Somerset built up a big lead and began playing Cheap baseball. Also, many of their fans that made the trip were extremely rowdy and disrespectful, at one point badgering the Camden batboy to tears. I am sure they were not representative of all Somerset fans, but the majority of the ones that made the trip wee boarderline criminal. Certain ones are extremely lucky I was not the parent of the batboy or they would have spent the night in Camden’s wonderful jail with charges of terroristic threats – that’s how bad some of them got. Again realize this is not representative of all Somerset fans and I don’t want anyone to think I hold them responsible for the acts of a few.


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