Although a law student at NYU, Tommy Bennett is as happy discussing homeruns and strikeouts as torts and contracts. A lifelong Phillies fan, Bennett recently turned his fascination with baseball statistics into a full-time job, netting a position as a columnist at the prestigious Baseball Prospectus, a web-based publication that also publishes an annual book of player profiles and analytic articles. Bennett, 26, lives in Prospect Heights with his girlfriend, as he tries to balance full-time law school and work.

Growing up with the box score: I moved around a lot, as a kid. I lived in a lot of places, where there was no baseball. I’d get the newspapers in the morning—I didn’t know how to read the rest of the newspaper—so I learned pretty quickly to check league leaders. And I had lots of baseball cards. So it was a lot about numbers for me, when I was really getting into it.

Baseball on the frontier: I had been in rural Indiana for a while, where they only have Frontier League independent baseball. At the middle school in town, Dennis Junior High, a science teacher was on the Frontier League team. And he got called up to the Yankees for a week. Everyone thought it was a huge deal.

The call-up: About the same time I moved to New York for law school, I started getting interested in writing again. I started writing pieces and submitting them places, and one of the places I submitted to was BeyondtheBoxscore.com, where I became the editor. Then I got a call from Kevin Goldstein [editor at Baseball Prospectus] in November 2009, which was right during finals for me, so it was a pretty stressful time. He said, “We like how you write, would you considering writing for us?” I said, “Yes.”

Writing for publication: Right now I’m writing player comments and essays for the [Baseball Prospectus Annual] book. It seems like a small amount of writing, because it’s 150 words, but it just takes so much research to put in 150 intelligent words about 50 or 60 players. So it’s a lot of figuring out what I can, calling people on the phone, trying to get people to talk to me. Almost nobody wants to talk to me, because if they know something they don’t want to tell the 29 other teams about it. The things you get tend to be, “Oh, we love him. He’s great.”

Young fans: We go on a tour to promote the book. It’s interesting the type of person that comes out—I was that type of person when I was younger. It’s generally people that really know their stuff. They have questions and they ask them in an intelligent fashion. In Princeton N.J., there was a kid—maybe 8 or 9 years old—and he asked incredibly sophisticated questions about the Bill James abstracts. We were all just like, “So, you’re hired.”

Fans in high places: It’s good to hear about whenever the book is in “x” manager’s office. We hear those stories pretty often. You know they’re reading what you wrote. They view it as enough of an authority to impact how they view a player. Joe Girardi had six copies in his office.

Merging two interests: I could see continuing writing, even as I pursue the law. There are a lot of legal aspects to baseball I find interesting–even not related to the game. The Rangers and Dodgers demonstrated that bankruptcy and baseball is a pretty active area. At the very least, it’s fun to keep up with the court documents related to the baseball cases. Going to law school lets me understand what’s going on.