Glasnow plays chess in New York City park

The day after, you know, pitching at Yankee Stadium

June 3rd, 2021
Art by Tom Forget

Imagine you're taking a nice summer stroll through New York City's Washington Square Park. You go by the big fountain, the giant arch and then, when you pass by the chess plaza, you recognize someone pretty famous casually playing at one of the tables. Someone who had just pitched seven innings against the Yankees in the Bronx the night before.

Rays ace and Cillian Murphy lookalike Tyler Glasnow.

Like, what? A Cy Young candidate and World Series starter just playing chess in the park on a Wednesday afternoon?

Apparently, according to's Adam Berry, it's something Glasnow has always done when he visits the Big Apple.

"Every time I'd come to New York before COVID, I would always go to Washington Square and play chess and stuff like that," Glasnow told Berry back in April. "I used to live down there in the offseason. I was there for like parts of three years. So, I was in like Chelsea in the West Village, so I'm kind of familiar with that area. And I would just go to the park and get beat by all the chess players, but it was still fun.”

Victor Fucci, who lives nearby the park, popped in to take a photo with Glasnow.

"He put on his Instagram story that he was playing chess," Fucci told me. "I live like 5 [minutes] from Washington Square Park so I left to meet him. He's one of my favorite players. I had to say hi."

As some people and fellow teammates pointed out on Twitter, Glasnow was getting beaten by his opponent. Fucci, a player himself, agreed Glasnow was in trouble when he came over to watch. But the Rays right-hander seemed focused on making a comeback.

"He seemed kind of surprised I came up to him," Fucci said. "I think he just wanted to play and learn more about chess. ... He had a notebook and was trying to take notes and learn more from the guy he was playing."

That checks out with Berry's interview from a couple months ago. Glasnow said he's a decent player -- but prefers to go against people who are better than him so he can learn more and improve. He also enjoyed the Queen's Gambit and has been playing for, well, nearly as long as Bobby Fischer.

"I've played for a lot of years and stuff," Glasnow said. "... I was in chess club in elementary school, so I think that's like where it started.”