“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” — A.A. Milne, "Winnie The Pooh"
In December 2010, I walked through the doors of the MASN web studio on the fifth floor of the Camden Yards warehouse and into the best job I’ve ever had. And I’ve had a few jobs, from cleaning the bathrooms at a Dunkin’ Donuts to years in newspapers as a reporter and editor to a gig as a public relations executive and a soul-crushing stint in a publishing house, from which I was laid off as the economic downturn of 2008 was just beginning.
That exit from the publishing world, where I edited everything from travel guides to a compendium of lawyers and law firms in Philadelphia, was especially painful. It came out of the blue; I had misjudged the landscape, thinking that our three-person editorial staff that handled about 80 projects a year was safe. But with profits cratering and no one advertising, something had to go – and that something was me.
To make ends meet for most of the next three years, I retreated into baseball, my part-time vocation since 1993, working for anyone who would offer a job and a few bucks – The Associated Press, MLB.com, out-of-town daily newspapers. I worked all of spring training on my own dime and 13 of every 14 days during the regular season, praying that the paychecks arrived in time to cover the mortgage, car payment and health insurance bills. Most times they did, but I had to be creative.
Creativity has never been a challenge for me. Nor has following the national pastime, which was always my intended path, even if I took a roundabout route to get there. But the 14-year-old kid who went to junior high school an hour early to pore over the box scores in the morning paper, the youngster who played APBA Baseball and then in Rotisserie leagues, the guy who made his major league press box debut at 33 and marveled at the opportunity to step onto the field of a big league ballpark and talk to managers and players wasn’t deterred.