SOYPL: America’s longest-running fantasy baseball league?

Photo by Nick Pagliarulo

VIDEO: “SOYPL: The Longest-Running Fantasy Baseball League” from Nick Pagliarulo on Vimeo.

(WTNH)–New York City is known for Broadway, never sleeping, and the longest-running fantasy baseball league? Yes, it might actually be. If it’s not the longest-running fantasy baseball league, then it’s definitely one of the longest-running leagues around.

Back in March, in the Big Apple, the Seat Of Your Pants League drafted for the 35th time. This year, the league consists of 14 teams, including myself as one of the team managers. My friend and I have teamed up again this year– it’s our second year participating in the league.

Billy Serow, the commissioner of the league, is a talent agent who has taught people like Lupita Nyong’o, an Oscar-winner. He is also one of the originals who started the Seat Of Your Pants League, or SOYPL, in 1981.

“It all started with just a group of friends who were really into baseball,” Serow said.

SOYPL is a rotisserie, or roto, league. This is a scoring format that is commonly used in fantasy baseball. According to ESPN.com, in the roto scoring format, “teams are ranked from first to last in each statistical category. Points are then awarded according to the order in each category, then totaled to determine an overall score and league rank.”

The league uses 20 statistical categories in their scoring– 11 offensive categories and nine pitching categories. SOYPL goes beyond the typical five-by-five scoring categories that most fantasy baseball leagues use. Some of the categories used in SOYPL, other than the standard rotisserie categories that are commonly used include, at-bats, doubles, triples, walks, slugging, walks per nine innings, hits per nine innings, and strikeouts per nine innings.

Another interesting aspect of the league takes place on draft day. Teams select players in an offline auction draft. Each team is allotted an imaginary $100 budget to assemble a team of 21 players– 13 hitters and eight pitchers. Players names are randomly chosen out of a box by the auctioneer. Those players are either bid on or rescinded, if no bid is placed. The starting bid for each player begins at $1.00.

The winner of the league takes home the prized Arch Cup, and gets their name(s) or team name engraved on it. When draft day rolls around, the Arch Cup is passed from the previous winner to the new winner.

Along with Serow, there’s a voice-over actor, Rachael Ray’s agent, and the Weintraub brothers. One of the brothers has taken the Arch Cup home three times while the other has never taken the trophy home, but is usually always a lock for a top-five finish.

“I do have the highest percentage of finishing in the money of anyone in the league,” Alan Weintraub said. “I believe approximately 75 percent.”

Alan, who is 54, has been in the league for more than half of his life– 32 years. He pulled his older brother Henry in about a decade after he started.

“I’ve happened to have won three times,” Henry said. “I don’t notice Alan’s name on the [trophy] here unfortunately, but I’m sure he’ll eventually win.”

Despite the ups and downs that may occur in a baseball season, or life in the big city, the boys of SOYPL all come back for the love of the game in the game.

“This is like the highlight of my life,” Henry said.

Check out the video!

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