It was an excellent question, and one that I have put off addressing for the longest time. It has been ages since I hung up my spikes, but I’ve never regretted my decision to not declare for the draft and chase my dream of being a professional baseball player.
I only played one year of college ball because NYU didn’t reinstate its baseball program until my last year at the school. So, I had that working against me as well as the fact that we lost EVERY GAME that season. That doesn’t exactly draw the pro scouts, and made it much more difficult for me to get on the radars of Major League teams.
There was also the all important issue of my not being a very good baseball player. I’d always been an excellent third baseman, but a terrible hitter. During my career at NYU, they tried to turn me into a pitcher because I was tall, had a deceptive delivery, and could throw the ball very hard. I often showed off my arm strength in batting practice by drilling teammates on purpose just to see what color bruise it would leave.
However, the real reason that I didn’t pursue a Major League career was because I had my sights set on something even more difficult.
I wanted to be a screenwriter.
With all the teams in the various levels of the minor leagues in addition to the Big League teams, pretty much anyone can be a baseball player. That wasn’t enough of a challenge for this cocky, young Modern Philosopher with the brand new diploma.
I had a dream. A Hollywood dream.
I’m still chasing that dream, but I’ve made a great deal of progress. I’ve had two screenplays produced, and a third one appears to be on track to get the green light.
If I had settled and gone pro on the, I’d be an over the hill retiree by now. My playing days would be well behind me, and I’d have no idea what to do with my life.
A screenwriter is just coming into his prime at my age. Once .33 Reverse Gunther hits the big screen, I’m sure I’ll be on the short list for Screenwriting All Star teams, and maybe they’ll even be some talk of a Hall of Fame career.
So while it was a difficult choice to not play professional baseball, I think I made the right decision. Sure, I miss putting on my glove, tossing the ball around the infield, and taking a little batting practice, but writing is my true passion.
I’ll choose the Hollywood Dream over a Field of Dreams any day…