Alumnus Finds Dream Job in Fantasy Baseball

Alumnus Finds Dream Job in Fantasy Baseball

Tell Alex Beckey, BSBA'93, he’s living in a fantasy world, and he’s more than apt to thank you for the compliment.

The Creighton University alumnus and the 2012 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year readily admits he has been living a dream for the last 15 years — years he spent being introduced to fantasy sports, playing them avidly and now getting paid to weigh in on them for the benefit of other fantasy players.

“I absolutely love it,” says Beckey, who graduated from Creighton in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance. “Even if I wasn’t writing about fantasy sports, I’d still be playing them. I’d still be in two dozen leagues.”

Beckey first started in fantasy leagues shortly after his move to St. Paul, Minn., where he still lives with his wife, Jolie (Palensky) Beckey, a 1991 Creighton graduate, and the couple’s two sons, Joey, 6, and Michael, 4.

“My cousin called and said a friend of hers needed someone for a fantasy football draft and, ‘Oh, the draft is in an hour; this guy will come pick you up,’” Beckey recalls. “I’d never played fantasy football, did not know what it was about. But sure enough, the guy picks me up, hands me a cheat sheet and a pen, gives me a brief explanation, and before I know it, I’m having a great time, making new friends and I’m hooked.”

If he didn’t have the fantasy sports background specifically, Beckey still had plenty of attributes that might have predicted him as a star fantasy player.

His economics and finance degree from Creighton and his years working in the financial sector, analyzing stocks, bonds and mutual funds “until the numbers danced on the page,” he says, translated brilliantly to his new avocation. Moreover, Beckey had been doing something like fantasy baseball as a youngster, even if he didn’t quite know it.

“My sister and I would play office as kids,” he says. “We’d treat each of our bedrooms as individual offices and we’d sit in there and work. We’d even meet in the dining room for lunch, then head back to work. But what I was doing, I realized, is that I was taking the box scores from the Chicago Tribune and seeing who was doing well and putting those players together to form my own teams. So my dream job when I was 8 and 9 years old was to be the general manager of a baseball team. Those were really my first fantasy baseball teams.”

In 2010, after Beckey had enjoyed success as a broker and then running a construction firm, he saw a job posting for writers for USA Today’s Baseball HQ, the fantasy sports reporting wing of the national newspaper. He sent in a writing sample.

“They received more than a thousand applications for two positions, so I’m thinking there’s no chance,” Beckey says. “But they elevated me to the next level, and I did a little more player analysis. After submitting a few more writing samples, they offered me the job.”

After just five years with Baseball HQ, Beckey has already earned the industry’s top award as Baseball Writer of the Year and has also had two of his pieces nominated for Story of the Year, winning once. He continues to play in more than 20 fantasy baseball leagues per year, and while much of his career is taken up in the ethereal of what might be, in a game where anything can happen, he still enjoys the very tangible beauty of the game itself. April 13, the home opener for his hometown Minnesota Twins, found him in the stands at Target Field.

“For me, it’s still about the game,” he says. “If anything, doing what I do has really broadened my appreciation of baseball. I’ve been a lifelong fan, but this has really opened me up to all the possibilities and the sheer joy that exists in the game. When I first joined Baseball HQ, I don’t think I could have imagined loving it as much as I do. But it’s a true passion and I love sharing it and serving people — something I definitely learned at Creighton. It is a little like a dream.”