Hopkinton Alumni, Dan Merzel makes MLB Umpiring Debut

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Hopkinton 2005 Alumni, Dan Merzel made his Major League Baseball umpiring debut this past Saturday (8/29) during a Cincinatti Reds-Chicago Cubs doubleheader. Dan worked with a crew consisting of Angel Hernandez, Will Little and Dan Bellino.

Dan graduated from Hopkinton High School in 2005 and Johns Hopkins University in 2009 with a degree in engineering and then attended the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring in 2010. Dan played Hockey and Baseball all 4 years while at Hopkinton and helped the Hillers win a Baseball State Championship in 2004.

"After graduating from the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring in 2010, Merzel began his Minor League career in the 2011 New York-Penn League, followed by stops in the South Atlantic, Arizona Instructional, Carolina, Eastern and International Leagues as well as the Arizona Fall League.

He officiated the 2015 XM All-Star Futures Game in Cincinnati, served as home plate umpire for the 2018 Triple-A All-Star Game in Columbus, and crew chief for the 2019 Triple-A National Championship Game." (Source: CloseCallSports.com).

Dan Merzel played Baseball his Sophomore through Senior years at Johns Hopkins University. During his college days Dan played Outfield and put up some impressive stats. He had a college career .336 batting average while scoring 70 runs and 31 Rbi's.

"As a Sophomore (2007): Played in 25 games, making one start ... recorded his first career hit in game one of a doubleheader against Webster on March 15 ... was 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI at Washington on April 6 ... stole three bases in four tries during the season ... member of the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll.

As a Junior (2008): Started 17 of his 36 games ... had a .427 on-base percentage and .341 batting average ... hit a triple with two RBI against Springfield (March 20) ... went 2-for-3 with a stolen base against Catholic (April 3) ... turned it on in the Centennial Conference Tournament, going 6-for-10 with three stolen bases in three games, including a 3-for-3 outing against Muhlenberg (May 2), earning him the Mike Durgala Memorial MVP award ... smacked a double and finished with three hits against Lynchburg in the NCAA South Regional." (Source: HopkinsSports.com).

Following his playing days, Dan worked his way up through the ranks in Umpiring. In 2014 he Umpired over 140 minor league games in 12 cities and 9 states.

"During a 152-day stretch this year, extending from April 3 to Sept. 1, Merzel is scheduled to umpire 142 minor league games in 12 cities and nine states, travel thousands of miles with the two other members of his crew in a league-issued minivan, spend only a few days at home in Philadelphia and earn less than $3,000 a month." (Source: New York Times).

Some of the other work Dan has done include Teaching Algebra and other Math courses. The New York times reported that one of his online programs featured Facebook Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, Google co-founder, Sergey Brin and Lady Gaga during their Youth education.

"A few days each week, before Dan Merzel heads to the ballpark to umpire in the Class AA Eastern League, he tutors high-achieving middle school and high school students participating in a program sponsored by Johns Hopkins. He communicates with them via Skype and email and uses a virtual whiteboard to solve math problems and answer questions." (Source: New York Times).

In the past, Dan has also volunteered for Hopkinton Little League and in 1998 he started the annual Hopkinton High School Turkey Drive to help out the Salvation Army and feed Thanksgiving Dinner to those in need.

"The project, started in 1998 by Dan Merzel, consists of students soliciting donations of food and money to help feed local families."(Source: Hopkinton Independent).

Dan Merzel, a 2005 graduate of Hopkinton High, read in the newspaper that the Salvation Army in Framingham lost its major contributor to provide Thanksgiving meals to those in need, Kramer said.

“He thought it was absurd people wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving dinner,” Kramer said. “So he gathered help and got people from around town to donate money and turkeys to take to the Salvation Army.”

The grassroots idea caught on, and Hopkinton students have running the drive ever since." (Source: Metrowest Daily News).

Congratulations to Hopkinton 2005 Alum, Dan Merzel on your tremendous accomplishments and community contributions, we look forward to watching you umpire a whole lot more in the MLB!

(Story Picture Courtesy of Hopkinssports.com).