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Okay, last question in this part, and then we’ll move on to the second of the three, which is openWAR. What inspired the move into academia after eight years with the New York Mets?
There was a lot of thought that went into this. The first thing is that academia was always something that had been attractive to me, but I never had the opportunity to be a full-time professor until I finished my Ph.D., and that didn’t happen until May of 2012. Working in baseball is not for the faint of heart. It can be magical—there are spectacular moments where you are simply dumbfounded to find yourself doing what you are doing (e.g., listening to Willie Randolph tell Rickey Henderson anecdotes, being in meetings with Rickey Henderson, walking to a helipad in the D.R. with Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz, etc.). Feeling like you are part of a winning team that millions of people care about is an incredible feeling that you just can’t get in most jobs. But there a lot of long hours, at nights and on weekends, and everyone who works in baseball pays the "baseball tax."
For me, a big part of it was time and task management. What I like best about my job now is that I have near total freedom over my own time. I basically do whatever I want every day, year round. This is not to say that teaching is easy. Most of those days, that means I’m in the office early in the morning, working and/or teaching all day until late, and then I spend a few more hours at night prepping for class in the evenings. Working on weekends is also now pretty much a given. So the total workload is no lighter (and may even be heavier), but sometimes I’ll play basketball at 12:30 on a Wednesday, or run errands at 10 AM on a Tuesday, and I don’t have to miss work, ask permission, or feel like someone is keeping track of my hours. Most jobs don’t offer that kind of flexibility, and that has become really important to me.
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