It's difficult to imagine the present day sports landscape without fantasy sports. The various games, played by hundreds of millions all over the world have changed the way that fans and even major networks interact with sports and present it to the world.
According to ESPN's 30 for 30, the official start of "rotisserie" fantasy sports came when Dan Okrent, a former public editor of the New York Times, created a fantasy baseball league with his associates in a restaurant called La Rotisserie Francaise in New York in 1980. The league Okrent started was similar to modern fantasy baseball, and only used National League players.
Fantasy sports continued to grow in popularity gradually, but the industry exploded in the mid-nineties, when the internet entered homes.
Ash has been a high-level executive in Major League Baseball for over 20 years with Milwaukee and Toronto.
My sports journalism got a visit from Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash on Tuesday. Ash shared a multitude of stories from his time in baseball front offices, and primarily focused on his interactions with members of the media.
Ash, who has had a long career in baseball, talked about how the main beat writers used to fly with the teams on road trips when he started working in Toronto. Eventually, the reporters started making their own travel plans after the unwritten rules of privacy between them and the players came into question.
Ash said in his experience, the best journalists are fair. He appreciates those journalists who will criticize his work when he deserves to be criticized, but also give him credit where credit is do. Those who don't give credit are afraid of being considered "homers," according to Ash.
One of the interesting things Ash said was that there were usually only two writers covering the Brewers, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Adam McCalvy of Brewers.com. He compared this to a large media market like New York, which has a myriad number of media members flooding in and out covering the team.
When we discussed bloggers, Ash continually stressed how not one bloggers has ever come up to him and asked him a question. This perplexed him, since he felt the reason that someone would want to write about the Brewers would be to get some sort of insider perspective.
Ash was surprisingly transparent when I brought up the Josh Hamilton rumor that ESPN has been playing up over the past few weeks. He explained how Hamilton's "babysitter" for years in Texas is now the Brewers' hitting coach, hence the link. He said that the Brewers, as a small market franchise, don't have the finances to pay Hamilton a massive contract in the range of $25 million. I mean, fair enough.
Ash joined the growing list of helpful and high-profile guests we have had in #loweclass #sports this semester.