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Sunday 19th Feb 2017

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 took you so long?”

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.

Comments   

0 #14 Glenn Schroter 2013-04-11 01:05
Todd, YOU moved your cheese, and only good things can come from this move. Remember, as a trained chemist, you can always go the Walter White route and become the next Heisenberg. I hear New Mexico is lovely this time of year.
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0 #13 Rex Weddle 2013-04-11 00:12
Do what you love; you'll not only be less miserable, you likely won't second-guess yourself.
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0 #12 Glenn Lowy 2013-04-10 22:22
Todd, you're one helluva knowledgeable and entertaining provider of fantasy baseball info and an even nicer guy. I wish you all the best in your endeavor and am positive that it will be a success.
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0 #11 Benjamin Waldron 2013-04-10 21:20
Doing what you love isn't called work. Congratulations, can't wait for Mastersball to be what I know it can be.
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0 #10 Matthew Havens 2013-04-10 15:42
Todd - I think you are making a great decision. Mastersball is my second favorite site in its current state and I think it could be the best one out there with some tweaks and enhancements. I tried to start my own site about six months ago but the real world got in the way. However, I think I can help you on your journey. Mastersball has great content but you never know what you are going to get each day. You need to organize the site into focused genres, each producing daily content, so readers are forced to come back each day.

My expertise is Auction Drafts for Mixed Rotisserie Leagues. Check out my site if you want to get a little insight into who I am and how I write.

www.rotobynumber.com

What you need is a stable of non-paid writers to build out content for Mastersball. I would like to be one of those writers.
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0 #9 harry 2013-04-10 13:01
If fantasy baseball is your passion then you should be thrilled in being able to do it for a living.

sneezy
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0 #8 Todd Zola 2013-04-10 04:10
Thanks everyone.
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0 #7 Patrick Wisniewski 2013-04-10 00:19
I'm sure a well thought man as yourself has put plenty of thought into it too! Chemist communities loss= Baseball Nerds Gain!!!!
Mark one for the good guys!
Todd I have a MBA from Western Michigan while I was pursuing jobs with the FBI, CIA, and Postal Inspectors....none of them fell through.I've worked at the Post Office for a good 20 years while pursuing those degrees in that time. I know I could easily find a job at a bank or some other Business oriented job, but this one is so easy and little stressed, that I rally do not want to throw away a $28 an hour job to write you guys and research all my teams and stuff.
Your folks would be proud of you no matter what you do!
and who knows, jobs come and go..maybe next week Novartis calls and picks you? Glad to have you full time,you'll get half credit 1/3 credit after I clean up this year along with Flowers and the Rotowire guys in helping me destroy the weak!!!
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0 #6 Wade Michels 2013-04-09 22:04
Mr Zola,

This all sounds too familiar,

So -

I get exactly where you're coming from..

I think I know how you feel..

I wish you and yours the absolute best..

Wade

Pharma's loss is our gain...
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0 #5 Lawr Michaels 2013-04-09 20:49
Shirely you jest? Bob Shirley? Mule Shirley? Tex Shirley? of Kiki Cuyler, who's middle name was Shirley?
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