Shysterball gets the call

This is my hobby, writing about the Yanks and baseball. You see, I am a finance guy by trade and practice. I started writing as a way to stretch the wrinkles out of the other side of my brain. I chose the Yankees and baseball as that was pretty far from my day-to-day concerns; it was a place where I could escape the daily stresses and think/write about something that truly enjoyed.

I have never seriously dreamed of doing this as my job. Growing up, I didn’t dream of being a writer; I hated writing. Some writers wax poetic about wanting to be the next great newspaperman or something. That wasn’t me. I wanted to be the next great something-or-other… not sure what it was (or is, as the case might be), but it wasn’t a desire to be a writer. Not that I consider myself a writer now, but I have to put a label on what I’m doing here.

I’ve watched the newspaper, magazine and print media industries come under fire and fail over the last year and a half. Allowing myself to “dream” about doing this full time was never something I did. I’m a dumb numbers guy, grounded in facts and reality. I couldn’t imagine the MSM reaching down into the blogosphere and pluck someone, not with all of the recently-out-of-work, professionally-schooled and trained writers out there. Then Craig confided in me the other day that he, in fact, was quitting the law and becoming a full time blogger/writer. To climb to a point that would allow him to abandon his vocation for his passion is a staggering thing for me to even consider. It provided me with a rare moment of wonder…what it would be like if I were to be able to … aw, forget it. This is just my hobby and I’m cool with that. Though, it would be nice to be nice to make a little something, you know, for the effort, you know. Though on my deathbed, I will receive total consciousness. So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

I have to share my Craig-related story:

Back in November of 2007, Rob Neyer was having an online chat when someone asked him what non-mainstream blogs he read. He listed Shysterball. As Craig mentioned, I wasn’t the only one to discover Craig that way.

I emailed Craig to let him know that I liked his site and to pester him about being able to hold down a job and blogging. I had developed a pretty serious itch to launch my own blog and this was my tipping point. He answered every email, being as helpful to a total stranger as he would to a lifelong friend, I suppose.

A month later, I went live. Like most new blogs, double-digit visits were the norm in the first early days. Then came triple digits. Then came the first Shysterball link and soon after that, quadruple digits. Wow. It’s fun to look back at the beginning, even if was not even two years ago for me…seems like ages.

I had to ask Craig how to hyperlink, for Pete’s sake! I mean, if that’s not as basic a thing as there is, yet he took the time to answer every question as my technical skills began to develop. I followed his lead like a little puppy; how to build a case, roll with quotes, inject humor/snark/criticism where necessary, and do it in a way that wasn’t crass or crude. In the back of my head, I want this place to be somewhere that my young boys could read without worrying about off-color content. The things that change when you become a parent…

Since late 2007, Craig and I have emailed hundreds of times, sometimes about nothing special, sometimes to feed each other stories, sometimes to share life’s moments, both good and bad. it’s odd to consider someone I’ve never met a good friend, but Craig’s become one.

Craig, in 2008, was linking to my Josh Hamilton/Matt Sosnick articles & interviews and that eventually resulted in my first Neyer/ESPN link. I have that link and every other Neyer/ESPN posting up on my office wall at work. it’s out of sight for most, but not for me.

And in an odd twist of fate, showing how Karma works, Rob Neyer selected my blog to be the Yankees representative for his new SweetSpot blog network for the 2009 post-season. In November of 2007, I would have done a backflip just to get Rob’s attention in a chat and now, I’m working with him daily. My mug is on ESPN’s MLB page due to my Twitter feed. Craig’s at least partially responsible for this.

It’s still a whirlwind and pretty audacious for me to even wonder what it must be like to do this full time, walking away from a stable, steady job and into something decidedly less so. So I won’t, until someone asks me. Until then, me and my hobby will continue to have fun every day. I’ve been able to make a nice network of like-minded baseball fans who have been equally kind and wonderful. That was wholly unexpected.

Thanks for coming by and sharing your time and thoughts with me. It’s more meaningful than you can imagine.

Thank you, Craig. And again, mazel.

About @Jason_IIATMS

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.

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