By SAMUEL BOTWINICK | Staff Writer
January 14. 2014, 6:15 p.m.
Being a high school student is hard enough, but juggling schoolwork and college applications while breaking news stories related to Major League Baseball is even more challenging.
Such is the case for Chris Cotillo though, an 18-year old high school senior from Northborough, Massachusetts, who writes for MLBDailyDish.com.
Managing his day-to-day routines?
“It’s sleeping three or four hours a night,” Cotillo said, chuckling. “When you’re awake twenty hours a day, then you can get a lot done.”
Giving up sleep for the sake of working hard has served Cotillo well so far in his young career. The tenacity and eagerness led to him breaking the news of Ricky Nolasco signing a $49 million deal with the Twins, as well as being the first to report Doug Fister’s trade to the Nationals.
Cotillo started out by simply pursuing his passion for sports. Writing about baseball was just a hobby. Ever since he was small, he wanted to “do it big.”
“Obviously when you’re little, it starts out as you want to be a Major League player,” Cotillo said. “A huge percent of the population finds out you’re not good enough to make it to the Majors, or even the Minors, and in my case even junior varsity in high school. I had to try and be creative and find something else in baseball that I could do.”
The Massachusetts native didn’t always consider himself to be a journalist, though.
“I was just trying to aggregate baseball news, and I was just keeping track of things on my Twitter account,” Cotillo said. “It gained a few followers, and then after about six months, a couple thousand followers. After a while, I gained some sources of my own, and it kind of turned into the journalism side of things.”
Last winter, when Cotillo decided “to write more than a tweet at a time,” his career officially started. His first job was at CLNSRadio.com, a Boston-run website, which was primarily focused on the Celtics. The website had been looking for Red Sox writers, and he joined with several other baseball writers, covering various moves that were going on, which eventually led to his being a Red Sox beat reporter.
When he decided he wanted to expand his coverage of baseball to a national scale, Cotillo reached out to his boss at CLNSRadio.com and asked him if there were any openings on MLBDailyDish.com, a national site he was interested in writing for. Within a few days, he got word from his boss that there was indeed room for him on the staff.
At the time that Cotillo joined MLBDailyDish.com, the site was getting a fair share of views, but nothing compared to the amount of hits that were going to come.
In July, Cotillo reported a segment of the Nolasco trade with the Dodgers, and also reported the Jason Kubel trade from Arizona to Cleveland.
“By the time July rolled around, we were hitting a hundred thousand a day, and a couple million hits in a month,” Cotillo said. “We really built up that brand to be one of the most popular and developing sites on the SB Nation network.”
Whether it’s because of Cotillo who reported the Kubel and Nolasco moves or because of good teamwork from his fellow reporters at MLBDailyDish that the site grew dramatically, there is no doubt that Cotillo’s insider skills are what propelled him forward.
“My personal brand as an insider is someone who can compete with the bigger sites,” Cotillo added.
There is no doubt that Cotillo has had a lot of success in a relatively short period of time. Some might even say the success couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Winter Meetings are usually reserved for adults, not “technical adults.” Cotillo got his breaks close to the time of the Winter Meetings (November 27, Nolasco, December 2, Fister), and, as a result, he got invited to the Winter Meetings.
Cotillo gave an interesting analogy to his being able to attend the Winter Meetings for the first time.
“The first day you’re walking in as the new kid at school,” Cotillo said.
Cotillo has some decisions to make over the next few months, considering he's set to graduate from high school this spring.
“There are definitely offers out there that I’m considering,” Cotillo added. “Job offers and college acceptances and college decisions all coming at the same time, so over the next few months there are going to be a lot of important decisions to be made.”
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