Baseball Player Shea Spitzbarth ('16) Shows Promise in the Minor Leagues
By Hannah Werthan
Shea Spitzbarth, a Staten Island native, is a lifelong Mets fan, his name a tribute to the iconic Shea Stadium. He started playing baseball when he was around three years old. Today, nearly two decades after he first picked up a ball and bat, Shea is a late-inning reliever for the Double A Tulsa Drillers, a Los Angeles Dodgers farm team.
Shea was a self-described late-bloomer in high school, and he knew he needed some college ball experience before he could make it to the big leagues. He was recruited by a few colleges, but Molloy's Head Baseball Coach Joe Fucarino convinced him to become a Lion. "Joe promised me that I would be a starter right away. That was definitely appealing to me," says Shea.
Shea quickly became a leader on the team, not only starting most games as a pitcher, but finishing them as well. He also took a full course load as a Business Management major every semester, which was not always easy. "Sometimes we would have an away game on a Saturday or Sunday, and then I would have a paper due on Monday. It was hard to balance, but I always made it work," says Shea.
Entering the Minors
Shea's reputation as an impressive pitcher grew to the point where several major league recruiters were looking at him during his junior year. That June, he entered the draft, but wasn't selected. "It was definitely disappointing not to be chosen in the draft. I really thought I had a good shot at it, but it turns out they wanted to see me play a bit more," says Shea. Undrafted but not completely discouraged, Shea started the summer playing in the Cape Cod baseball league, the most prestigious amateur baseball league in the country. In July, he got an offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent.
These past two seasons, Shea has been making a name for himself in the Dodgers farm system. Lately, with the exception of one hiccup on August 9, Shea has been on a hot streak. Excluding that outing, he hasn't allowed any runs in the last 10 games.
Shea is humble about his successes. He attributes everything to hard work, dedication, and the support of his family, friends, and coaches. August is a tough month for players, Shea says, but he is determined to "push it the most" as the season comes to a close. His plans for the off-season aren't definite, but he knows he wants to train harder than ever.
Many baseball players who are drafted before their college careers are over decide to push academics aside. Not Shea. Shea came back to Molloy for two fall semesters after being drafted and finished his Business degree. He graduated last December. "I always have to have a Plan B," says Shea. "Actually, I'm taking the New York City Firefighters exam in September as well, just in case."
Right now, Plan A is working out just fine. At only 22 years old, Shea has proven himself as a minor league pitcher. Once again, he's just waiting for the call.
*Banner photo courtesy of Rich Crimi, Tulsa Drillers.