Matt’s Bats Chat with Chris Cotillo

chriscotilloIf you read my blog all the time, you already know there are lots of kids doing interesting things in the world of baseball.  There’s 16 year old Meggie Zahneis, MLB’s official Youth Reporter, 14 year old Matt Nadel from Baseball With Matt, 10 year old Frankie the Cub Reporter from Miami, and 12 year old Haley Smilow (interview coming soon). But today, I’m bringing you an interview with Chris Cotillo from MLB Daily Dish.

 Chris is an 18 year old high school student from Boston.  Chris became kind of famous this offseason for breaking lots of big trade news.  People in the DC area know him for breaking the news of the Doug Fister trade.  (The Tigers traded starting pitcher Doug Fister to the Nationals for utility man Steve Lombardozzi, reliever Ian Krol and prospect Robbie Ray).  Chris also broke the Ricky Nolasco contract with the Twins.  He attended the Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando, where he appeared on MLB Network’s Hot Stove.

            He has become friends with players and professional baseball journalists and is already kind of a celebrity himself.  He is on his way to being a big-time baseball insider.  Get ready for this Matt’s Bats Chat with Chris Cotillo.

Matt’s Bats: When and how did you get interested in baseball? 

Chris Cotillo: I have always been interested in the game, and would track transactions and rumors in notebooks/Excel spreadsheets for as long as I can remember. I started a Twitter account to keep track of what was going on a couple of years ago, and it gained some followers pretty quickly. I joined MLBDailyDish in May, by reaching out to my current boss and telling him I was looking for a bigger audience. I have loved being with MLBDD since then, and really think the entire SB Nation platform is going to be one of the best sports media outlets online for decades to come.

MB: You got famous for breaking the Doug Fister trade.  I cover the Nats and almost everyone loved the trade and thought the Nationals got the better deal.  What are your thoughts about the trade?

CC: I agree that the Nats did very well, on paper. They got a very good starter for a group of players who weren’t considered top prospects, which is always interesting. [Tigers GM Dave] Dombrowski knows what he’s doing in Detroit though, so he probably felt that the three he acquired were good fits for the Tigers’ organization. I expect them to thrive with Detroit just like I expect Fister to do well with the Nats.

MB: How do you go from just a regular kid to a real insider?

CC: Time and patience. Show baseball fans that you really love doing this and want to make a career out of it, and they’ll respect it and start following.

MB: What is it like becoming a celebrity quickly and at a young age?  

 CC: I wouldn’t really consider myself a celebrity, I just get to do what I love doing and enjoy every second of it. This gig would be enjoyable for me even if people weren’t noticing, so it’s an added bonus that people have really taken interest to my work in the last couple of months.

 I feel the same way as Chris.  I would still like writing my blog even if I didn’t have as many readers.  But I am lucky too that so many people give me good feedback.

MB: Who has helped you get to where you are?  

CC: Everyone around the game has been extremely helpful (sources, other reporters), and of course my terrific support system at home (parents, grandparents, relatives, friends, teachers, principal).

MB: Is there anyone you met who you were really starstruck to meet?

CC: I am always really starstruck by members of the 2004 Red Sox team.  Those guys wrote the story of one of the greatest memories of my childhood. I’ve gotten to meet most of them recently, and I’ve loved those opportunities.

MB: When you were at the Winter Meetings, did you get to be at the player introduction press conferences? What other cool things have you gotten to do?

CC: Yeah, I saw both Granderson and Saltalamacchia get introduced in addition to the Halladay retirement presser. Before that, I got to cover the World Series and ALCS at Fenway in October, which was also a tremendous experience.

MB: What are your 2014 postseason predictions before Spring Training starts?

CC: Honestly, it’s too early to tell for me. There are so many key players out there (Tanaka, Santana, Garza, Jimenez, Cruz) and a whole undeveloped trade market, so I will wait to see how the rest of the offseason pans out to make my predictions.

MB: Which team had the best offseason this year, in your opinion?

CC: Again, maybe too early to tell on that. There is still a ways to go. So far, I really like what the Rangers have done. Choo and Fielder will definitely make a difference for them next year, and they’re likely to add a starter as well.

MB: Being from Boston, are you a Red Sox fan, or now that you are a journalist are you just a fan of the game?

CC: I’m a fan of the game at this point. I try to root for people in the game who I know personally, and wish them the best if they have helped me out with my reporting. I was happy to see the Sox win the World Series last year because I’m still a fan of the city of Boston, and it was cool to see the entire city rally around something positive in October after what we went through in April.

MB: What do you like to do when not covering baseball?

CC: I really live the normal teenager’s life–homework, going to sporting events, eating, sleeping, hanging with friends, etc. I’m awake for like 19-20 hours a day, so there’s time to do a lot.

Chris is really getting a lot of respect as a baseball reporter.  Using the internet, he found a way to be one of the best kid reporters in the country and also one of the most knowledgeable best baseball reporters period.  He is a great role model for kids like me who love baseball and want to make a living writing when they grow up.

You can read his work at www.mlbdailydish.com and follow Chris Cotillo on Twitter at @ChrisCotillo.

If you have know someone who would be interested in talking to me for a future interview, go to mattsbats.com/contact to send me a message.  Check out this list of people who I have already interviewed.

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