Umpire Fantasy League, You Say?

Up until this season: never in the umpires’ room at a big league game once in my life, and in the last three weeks I’ve now been in there twice. Dale Scott and Dan Iassogna corralled me as I was leaving the field at Yankee Stadium this afternoon and apart from reaffirming my experience that the umps are as cordial a group of guys as exist in the game, Scott told me about something I’d never heard before.

There is at least one Umpire Fantasy League.
MLB Enforcement can relax. It’s not a fantasy league with teams owned by umpires; and there you have your hypothetical winner of the dumbest possible nightmare scandal in sports. It is a fantasy league in which umpires are drafted, and in which they score points for you based on…the number of times they eject players or managers. There are convoluted (ok, impenetrable) scoring variations, but essentially it’s four points every time an ump “correctly” runs a guy, and minus three every time he fails to. There’s a draft, just like in more traditional leagues, and everybody I mentioned this to at The Stadium said the same thing: “Angel Hernandez gets taken first?”
Online sources and my own intuition told me only one man could be behind this: Jud Burch, an ESPN associate producer in my day, later Producer of Baseball Tonight and now apparently a Coordinating Producer for SportsCenter. Only one man I know can do an impression of any one active arbiter’s strike call (many of us can do versions of the long-ago ump Dutch Rennert’s strike bellow, which was a little like the sound I’d expect to hear at the end of the world, only louder), and that’s Burch. And the last time I saw him, he could do all of the time.
Clearly such a league is not for everybody but it really is intriguing to think of the possibility of incorporating it into a standard rotisserie league. Nine pitchers, a catcher, six infielders, five outfielders, a DH/utility spot, and two umpires.
I like it.
I KNOW I KEEP DOING THIS. I KNOW I KEEP SAYING I’LL STOP
All that stands now is an eleven-stanchion-wide section of the right field corner, and some of the ramp structure behind it. Even the debris field is beginning to be cleared up. The lack of the old Yankee Stadium continues to mesmerize hundreds of us at every game. Some views, at various angles, before and after Saturday’s game.
From the elevated station at 161st Street:
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From the still-in-service 153rd Street parking garage, with the new Stadium in the background, the remainder in the midground, and the ramp structure in the foreground:
IMG_2306.JPG
From the uppermost level of the same parking structure, looking from a point further west:
IMG_2288.jpg
From the new municipal fields just across from the new Stadium, giving a little better sense of the “Bates Hotel” quality to the place:
IMG_2283.JPG
And lastly from a gap in the fencing, under the El, approximately 157th Street:
IMG_2311.jpg

13 Comments

I’ve loved seeing all the pictures of the demolition. I’m oddly fascinated with things like this & love visiting locations of former stadiums, and reading up on the history of stadiums that ceased to exist before I was born in the early 70’s. Thanks for all the posts with these pictures!

Reminds me of when we went on a family trip (Bay City, MI to Florida)…I was only 13, but assumed the role of ‘navigator’ due to my love of maps. While approaching Cincinnati, I saw that old Crosley (sp?) Field was near one highway, so ‘suggested’ that particular route just to pass by and say that I say it. By that time, I was intrigued by baseball history, and seeing that old park (from a distance, at about 70mph) was still a thrill.

The umpire fantasy league definitely sounds like it would add another layer of strategy to the existing fantasy baseball leagues…..not everyone might like it, but it still sounds interesting.

As to the demolition pictures: I think perhaps the reason people are so fascinated with the demolition of the old stadium is that it reminds them of the impermanence of all human works. Watching that slow disappearance of something that has so much meaning and brings to mind so many memories makes you think about what will happen once it is all gone: only memories and memorabilla will remain, but only for as long as there are those who remember what was and preserve the remaining artifacts. In the fullness of time, even those things will cease to be, and eventually even the shiny new stadium will meet the same fate in the distant future, long after those who remember it’s construction have perished. It is all a reminder of our mortality and to see a structure so prominant in our memories vanish before our eyes ultimately makes us feel old. We need to preserve and share the memories that we have of a place and our experiences there with our loved ones, for in sharing and retelling those stories, the place and our loved ones both live on in our hearts.

I would not go in to downtown St. Louis while they were demolishing old Busch Stadium.

If you say you are going to stop with the pictures, then stop. :>)

I like it too. Can’t say I completely understand it, but I like it. Speaking of umps, I was at the Yankees-A’s game a few days ago when the homeplate ump was struck and later walked off the field. That was rattling, to say the least. It always shakes me up when someone gets hurt. :(

By the way, what are they going to put on the site of the old stadium?

Just stopped by to get geared up. Going to cheer on the Giants today and help them finish sweeping the Rockies. Yes…ahem…that’s your #1 pick, KO. Okay, okay, you know a tiny bit more about this sport than I, and it’s too early in the season to start the smack talking anyway, but it’s still pretty exciting! Gates open in 2 hours…gotta go get ready. Hope everyone has beautiful weather for today’s games. Tweet ya later! :)

I never got to sit in old Yankee stadium. I heard the new stadium isnt worth coming from out of town to sit in.

Mark Grant, whom I admittedly have trouble listening to as the wonderful Dick Enberg’s color man on Padres broadcasts, is on an old tape I have doing imitations of umpires. He was great, and it struck me that he was one of the few people who grasped that they had different styles, sounds, etc.

Another who did is someone we lost today: Ernie Harwell. We knew it was coming, but baseball is poorer.

K–

Today Yahoo sports writer David Brown started his blog thusly: “Somebody should keep stats regarding arguments with umpires.” I happily posted in response a link to your May 1st blog describing the Umpire Fantasy League. I guess that makes me an official member of the Internet echo chamber?

Keep up the good work. Will we see you in DC for Strasburg’s debut?

j.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Umpire-ejects-Blue-Jays-closer-Rays-manager-in-?urn=mlb,245072&cp=3#comments

I was at the Yankees-A’s game a few days ago when the homeplate ump was struck and later walked off the field. That was rattling, to say the least. It always shakes me up when someone gets hurt. performing arts school | political science school

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I like it too. Can’t say I completely understand it, but I like it. Speaking of umps, I was at the Yankees-A’s game a few days ago when the homeplate ump was struck and later walked off the field. That was rattling, to say the least. It always shakes me up when someone gets hurt. Grain Flour Mill

Just stopped by to get geared up. Going to cheer on the Giants today and help them finish sweeping the Rockies. Yes…ahem…that’s your #1 pick, KO. Okay, okay, you know a tiny bit more about this sport than I, and it’s too early in the season to start the smack talking anyway, but it’s still pretty exciting !I like your website very much !

Regards
Grain Flour Mill

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