Shane Roberts began playing baseball where most kids do, in the backyard with his father. Throughout the years their bond has strengthened through baseball and become unbreakable. We were able to speak with Roberts and his father Shane Sr., for this exclusive father and son interview.
Roberts developed his passion for the game as a kid playing Little League. He honed his skills in the backyard and on the field, but would also face a challenge that became a pivot point of his young playing days. Belittling by a former coach pushed him to work harder and become a better player.
“I’ve had to work extremely hard ever since the day where one of my coaches told me, ‘I would be nothing and I should quit,’ but I never listened and I worked harder and harder every day. To this day I have not forgotten those words and I never will because it motivates me. I grew up around the game of baseball and loved everything about it!”
As Roberts progressed through different youth leagues, his father was by his side, supporting and encouraging him to pursue his passion. Roberts Sr. never had a doubt that his son belonged on the mound.
“I was there every step of the way from batting practice and pitching in the yard to travel games, as well as, All-Stars. It was our life. As his Dad, I guess I saw more in him than others. Although he could hit, catch and play other positions, I always knew he would get the job done on the mound.”
The bond created between a father and a son is remarkable in its strength. Baseball has the unique ability to make a strong bond even stronger. Roberts had these comments on how baseball has influenced the bond with his father:
“Baseball has tremendously influenced my bond with my Dad! He has always been my coach/father, watching me develop at every stage, teaching me every step of the way, to this day. There is no one that will ever be more proud of what I do than him. He is my biggest fan.”
As Roberts advanced, he continued to play at a higher level against tougher competition. Playing for different coaches and travel teams helped mold him into the elite player that he became through high school.
“The Vipers Baseball Club was where he started to play with Coach Louie Siciliano at an Elite Stage and threw many tough innings with higher age groups. He was with them for three seasons and was a featured product. He then played with his High School Coach Frank Torre for PBC GameDay where he was dominant making All-Tournament Teams in his three PG (Perfect Game) appearances. This is when Damon Alvis recruited him for the Evoshield Canes run by Coach Jeff Petty along with coaches Dan Gitzen, Darin Campbell, John Batchelor, Greg Connor, Jason Mills and Jaime Velo Evans. I never saw talent like that. When he played on this team against top players in the class, I knew then he was an elite player,” said Roberts Sr.
Throughout Roberts’ career, Shane Sr. has given many pieces of advice to instill life building values such as humility and respect into his son.
“Some advice that I’ve given him through the years: work hard. Become the best at what you do, but remain humble when you get there. Love your coaches, ‘Yes sir, no sir,’ are your only answers. Love your teammates and put your team first. Keep your grades up, for, without school, you will not have opportunities in the game. Never give up on what you believe in. If you see it and believe it, you can do it. Reach for the stars and you hit the sun!!”
There are no shortcuts to being an elite baseball player, talent and coaching alone will not get a player there. It takes hard work, dedication and countless hours of refinement. Roberts shared a few of the keys to his development.
“Every day I would be practicing. Throwing, doing towel drills, dry mechanics, working on my feel for the different grips I have and even throwing flat ground bullpens. Doing bands every day and every night has helped me keep my shoulder strong and secure to help me throughout the long season of baseball.”
Leading up to the draft, Roberts kept his focus on preparation and playing the game that he loves. With Roberts commitment to South Carolina in place, his father didn’t begin to focus on the draft until his performance in front of a New York Yankees scout.
“I guess we didn’t focus on the draft until he topped 94 in front of the Yankees scout in early spring. After that I was on pins and needles every outing. He was focused on doing his best and had a tremendous season, which piqued interest from some teams. I really didn’t know what to expect.”
Many kids play baseball dreaming of being drafted by their favorite team. For Roberts, that team was the Yankees and they would take him in Round 28 of this year’s MLB Draft.
“When I was drafted, I was in a hotel room playing MLB The Show with my teammates before a game. It was an unbelievable moment in my life and it’s something special. To be drafted by your favorite team growing up was pretty cool. There was a lot of phone calls and texts congratulating me.”
Fathers take a great deal of pride in their children and their accomplishments. Roberts Sr. has great pride for his son and the culmination of his hard work.
“Having his name called by the New York Yankees, WOW! I’m so proud of him and overwhelmed by it all. It doesn’t matter what round it happened in, the feeling was incredible. I’m from New York and have been a life-long Yankees fan. He was actually born in New York. I still can’t believe it’s real.”
The process of choosing whether to follow through with his commitment to South Carolina or begin his professional career has yet to play out, but it’s exciting for Roberts.
“What excites me about the future would be having the opportunity to play pro baseball one day. Whether it’s now or in three years coming out of college, it’s every kid’s dream to be drafted.”