As I’ve mentioned before, while my fantasy baseball life is an open book (if you’re in my leagues and don’t know the players I like, you’re not doing your homework), I tend to keep my private life private. But, there have been occasions where writing about it has either been therapeutic or apropos since it transcended into my fantasy baseball life. Today it’s going to be a little of both.
For years I have been asked why I don’t make my living in fantasy baseball. My response was always the same and the honest truth – I loved science and I loved fantasy baseball, but my passion was science while my hobby was fantasy baseball. I loved my job and I loved my hobby. And while I was equally passionate about fantasy baseball, I was scared shitless that if I made my hobby my vocation, I’d loathe them both.
So, as many of you know but others may find surprising, I don’t do this for a living. By trade I am a Chemist. Beginning around age 22 and for the next 25 years, I spent almost every day in one laboratory or another. For the last three, I have spent almost every day trying to convince someone to hire me.
I did work for a short spell last year, doing temporary contract work for a local pharmaceutical from July through November. It was an entry-level position and wasn’t exactly what I was used to, but it was a foot in the door at a company where I hoped to transition into a permanent job more in line with my training, interest and experience. Unfortunately, things did not progress as planned and the contract was not renewed.
At this point, I pretty much knew what I had to do. However, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I realize this is a little corny, but having lost my Mom to cancer in 1992 and my Dad to Alzheimer’s in 2011, I felt I owed it to them to keep plugging away. I knew I wasn’t going to cure cancer or figure out how to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but I felt I owed it to them to try. The irony is both my Mom and Dad would have had no problem if I transitioned into fantasy baseball writing. Oh, they’d give me plenty of shit for spending so long in grad school to end up writing about make-believe baseball, but they both would have been incredibly supportive – and proud.
So I spent the last several months continuing to look for a job in science. Then in March, after failing to land the last of three positions I had interviewed for in the past couple of months, I finally came to the realization it was time. I asked my managing partners Lawr and Brian if I could talk with them and broke the news – I was going to give up my search for a job in chemistry and instead figure out how to make a living doing this baseball thing. While I am paraphrasing a little, their response was “what
Now I am going public with my decision, letting you guys know my plans. I’m not sure how yet, but I’m in the process of figuring out how to make a living in fantasy baseball.
My primary objective is to grow Mastersball to a point where it can not only support my salary, but others as well. That’s going to take a lot of work, but I’ve poured over 15 years of blood, sweat and tears into the site and would like to see it manifest into something special. Up until this point, there was a critical mass we needed to be concerned with in terms of ability to support and produce content - as a hobby. But, this is now my job and it’s time to take the kid gloves off. I have no idea what that will entail, but it’s time to find out.
Since the site is not there yet, I need to find means to supplement my income, so soon you’ll see my name popping up in a couple of other places, along with continuing my freelance association with ESPN. If you live in Central Massachusetts, you may even see me behind a register at a convenience store or perhaps stocking shelves at Home Depot. Though, I am looking into some part-time teaching jobs as well.
Thanks for cyber-listening. As implied earlier, this was both personally therapeutic and apropos. By writing about it, it has helped me make further peace with the decision. I know it’s the right thing to do on a number of levels, but that doesn’t make it any easier. It was also important to me to convey the message that even though I may be contributing elsewhere, this is my home.