This is not an article I thought I would have to write so soon, but some things have happened in my personal life and unfortunately I have to take a step back from writing for this site.
If you’ve read my content here over the last year and a bit, you’ll know that I’ve never really been one to shy away from talking about my story, so I hope you’ll allow me one last (not so -) quick little divergence.
On the bright side, “some things” refers to extremely positive things. That means a new job — my very first full-time writing gig, and at my alma mater no less — and a return to school to hone my storytelling skills. In another life, I was a graphic designer in the publishing world for quite a few years, but all my professional training was actually in written communication, so it’s exciting to get back on that horse and dive into the field that I love so much.
But, as we all know, there are two sides to every coin. In my case, the flip side of the wonderful and exciting things is the return of the not-so-wonderful things: namely, a pretty brutal struggle with anxiety and depression. One that I thought was finished.
I wrote about it a moment ago, but I started writing to Pinstripe Alley to deal with some struggles that had resurfaced during the pandemic. Notably, my nerves were shot – I was virtually unable to leave the house, even for small things like grocery shopping, without experiencing near-crippling panic attacks – and my social anxiety was even higher than it was. usually isn’t. Also, at the time, I was living in the middle of one of the longest lockdowns in North America, so you can imagine what all that loneliness did to a guy whose brain is constantly trying to eat himself food. inside.
When I saw the call for writers go out, I thought joining a community like this to write about my favorite team and my favorite sport would help give me peace of mind, or at least get through time somewhat productively. .
And he did. For a while, at least.
I’ve always wanted to write about baseball and, in particular, the Yankees, and this site gave me this opportunity. As a Yankees fan living just outside of Toronto there aren’t many of us here so it was nice to have a community of people to talk to – even the ones who told me to go [expletive deleted] myself and that my writing “disgusted” them* – while also writing about the team and the game that I love.
*Author’s Note: This is a joke. I mean, both of those things happened, but that ignoring feature is so sweet.
Anyway, to make it short (too late), the old brain factory isn’t that hot these days and I have to take a step back to recalibrate. This is the fourth time I’ve been through a cycle like this in my adult life and it probably won’t be the last, but it’s become urgent enough that I unfortunately don’t have the mental energy to to continue writing at the level I demand of myself. It’s also why I’ve had less of a presence in both the site’s comments section and the team’s Slack channel in recent months.
But it was meant to be a happy article, damn it, and God willing, it will be!
The night I was officially brought on board was the same night that saw the arrival of Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo in New York. I’ve been sitting here for about 15 minutes trying to crack a new beginnings joke, but all I can say is, “Please tell me I wasn’t such a bad writer that Joey Gallo was a Yankee”. So needless to say, words fail me right now.
I started doing a lot – and I mean a plot — deep statistical dives before Andrew finally says, mercifully, “Hey, you know what, you’re pretty good at telling stories from a fan perspective, so keep it up!” For the sake of everyone involved, I like to think this was widely seen as the right decision, even if you had to put up with stories about Antiquity in Waterloo or my eternal inability to ever forgive Jayson Nix for injuring (unintentionally) Mariano Rivera.
Between all that nonsense, though, I’ve been allowed to write some of my best stuff over the past year.
I have to write a entire series of trials comparing the experience of watching Aaron Judge play baseball to a religious experience and how… Actually think about it, as someone who grew up in the Catholic Church, I’m probably going to hell for those , so let’s just leave it at that.
I have to write an essay on Judge’s record home run, and I know it’s crushed and melodramatic, but I’m really proud of this track. It’s probably my favorite non-academic thing I’ve ever written.
This was all my long, roundabout way of saying that I hope you enjoyed at least some of the content I produced for this site, because I enjoyed producing it for you.
Anyway, in my usual way of mashing, I’m way over my word count, and I guess I already lost most of you a few paragraphs ago, so I’ll conclude now.
For those who stayed until the end, well, anyway, I just wanted to express my deepest gratitude for letting another Canadian join the ranks, if only temporarily, and spend some time with you. Writing about the Yankees was a dream come true. These last two seasons have been a lotbut writing for this site and interacting with everyone made the frustration worth it.
And, also, a big thank you to the editors of this site, not only for allowing me to write things I never imagined I could write, but also for consistently allowing me to exceed a respectable word count. .
And, finally, the biggest thank you of all goes to Aaron Judge, for providing me with unlimited content. (I like secretly telling myself that he read my shit.)
Goodbye, and thank you for all the fish.
Editor’s note: It’s been a pleasure to watch Jesse grow as a sportswriter. He already came to us with a solid background in writing, and he really got into his own stories like the ones he referenced above (and was obviously much better at that than Gallo was at stripes) . Good luck, Jesse!