We're excited to share one of our first "Meet the Pros" interviews with Raul Shah, Second Baseman, Shortstop and Rightfielder for Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the Atlantic League.
So first the basics....
Birthday: October 15th, 1994
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Ellicott City, MD. This is where I spent my summers playing travel and high school baseball. Those were some of the best times of my life. I would not trade those memories and happiness for anything. I spent so much time with my teammates, coaches, and parents. It makes me smile just recollecting those times.
High School Team: Mt. Hebron High School in Ellicott City, MD
Select Travel Team: HCYP Raiders, Baseball Factory Select Team, Team Maryland (all in Ellicott City, MD)
College: The Johns Hopkins University
Current Pro Team: Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the Atlantic League
Throw R/L: Right. Bat R/L: Right
Height: 6’2. Weight: 185
Favorite Book: Murder on the Orient Express
Favorite Movie: The Dark Knight
Favorite Performer / Group: Eminem, AC/DC, Bruno Mars
Nicknames: “Doc” “The Doc” “DocShah”
IG, FB and/or Twitter Account: @docshah14
BRUCE BOLT Gear that you wear: My offseason pair are the GOLD Bruce Bolt BGs (in either short or long cuff). In season, I use a variety to match my uniform, but I love the BADER Series Baby Blue and Scarlet. I always throw on a matching sleeve and wristband to finish off the look.
1st Inning: What do you love about baseball?
Baseball has given me my best friends, kept me focused, taught me amazing life lessons, and has given me some of my most joyous in life. It has taken me to countless places, introduced me to countless relationships, and has been an integral part in the growth of my character. Without it, I do not think I would be as resilient and persistent, my two best qualities.
There is no sport on Earth that can be both so beautiful and so ugly. A well played baseball game is poetry in motion. A poorly played one is an unsightly catastrophe. The game is so simple, yet so difficult. If I had to describe myself in one word, it would be ‘complicated.’ Funny how baseball can also be described by that same single word. Maybe it was just a match made in heaven – maybe I was destined to fall in love with the game of baseball.
2nd Inning: What’s your daily routine on game day?
I am a little different than most players – I prefer showing up when I need to be there and not any earlier. I quickly get loose, take a few swings in the cages (usually just front toss), throw to loosen up my arm, and I am ready to go.
I do so much work in the off-season that I don’t focus on mechanics in-season. I don’t hit off a tee, I don’t throw too far in warm ups, and I don’t even take groundballs before games.
I focus more on making sure I get a good night’s sleep and have eaten something nutritious before the game. If my body feels good, I know my mechanics will be there due to the off-season training.
3rd Inning: What’s your thought process before each at bat?
I have an approach at the plate which is dependent on the pitcher throwing. I will get a scouting report on him and I will watch him in warm ups and see what he throws to the guys ahead of me in the order. From that, I will have a good idea of what he throws and I am ready to go.
As far as before the at bat, all I focus on is getting my timing down and using a weighted bat so when I go back to mine it feels lighter. It feels like I have “woken” up muscles when I use a heavier bat. It might be purely psychological, but I find the feeling beneficial.
4th Inning: What’s the biggest difference between college and professional baseball?
Competition wise, at the professional level, the game picks up speed, while simultaneously, becomes cleaner. For example, the players are better athletes – they run faster, throw harder, hit harder, and given all this, you have to think quicker on your feet. There are also fewer mistakes made – routine plays are made, pitchers throw more strikes, and hitters don’t miss on balls they should crush.
Coaching wise, at the professional level, you are treated as exactly such – a professional. Therefore, no one tells you how to go about your business. It is your responsibility to get better every day. In college, everything is laid out for you and it is very hands on. They tell you what drills to do, when to do them, and what to do in the off-season. In professional baseball, no one “holds your hand.” The expectation is that you know yourself best and will do whatever you need to in order to improve. If you don’t, it will show, and you will simply be released; whereas in college, once you make the team, you are on it permanently (unless you violate team rules, which is also the case for professional baseball).
5th Inning: What’s the most fun you’ve ever had playing baseball?
I wish I could pick, but I just can’t. I still remember winning games and championships in travel baseball and just how awesome it was to be playing baseball all summer long with your best friends and family. And then, in high school, nothing beat game days. I would walk into school and class with so much energy because I just couldn’t wait to get outside and play at the end of the day. But then again, I look back at my first year in independent baseball and that was so incredibly amazing too. I got to play baseball every day and on off days, I would visit Burlington, VT, which is a beautiful city by the water. I ate at amazing restaurants, met amazing people, and made memories I would never forget.
Every year has been my favorite year and I thank God every day for blessing me with the health, family, friends, freedom, and ability to chase my dream.
6th Inning: Who’s the best coach you’ve ever played for and why?
My high school coach, Brian Culley, has always been the most supportive of me. He has believed in me since day one and has always had my back. His positivity and belief are infectious, and his assistance/willingness to help is far more than I could have ever asked for...
I think the best coaches are the ones who know when to get in your face and when you need a word of encouragement. Coach Culley always seemed to know where the line to one ended and the other began.
7th Inning: What do you do when you don’t play baseball?
I enjoy hanging out with my friends. We usually go out and do stuff like the movies or escape rooms or mini golf. Or sometimes, we play board games and video games.
I enjoy going to plays with my mom and like doing car related work with my dad. I also enjoy traveling with my parents and trying out new restaurants
Personally, I like to cook and bake – I just watch recipes on YouTube and follow along. I also play the guitar and write articles online at Seeking Alpha about companies analyzing their finances. It’s a side hobby of mine since I was an Economics major in college.
8th Inning: What advice do you give young players?
I would say never let another person’s opinion of you affect how you see yourself. There will always be people who try to belittle you or your dreams. It’s important to know that when people try and bring you down, it is a reflection of their own shortcomings, not yours.
If you are passionate about something, believe in yourself and go for broke. It will not be easy, but if you keep your head down and just work, you will make it. Never follow the path most traveled. After all, you were born an original, why die a copy?
9th Inning: What do you love about BRUCE BOLT?
Bruce Bolt resonates with me because I love premium products. By premium, I mean products which elegantly combine form and function.
I am currently using the natural long cuffs with black accenting and love them. The leather smells SO good and is soft and supple. They are by far the most comfortable and durable gloves I have ever worn. Honestly, part of me does not want to hit when I take them out because I don’t want to ruin how beautiful they are. I enjoy the added support of the long cuffs and the arm sleeves provide ample warmth and support as well.
But beyond the amazing products, I love how much Bruce Bolt gives back to the community and how they showcase young players on social media. By giving these kids the tools they need to succeed and the platform to showcase their ability, Bruce Bolt has given back so much to the game of baseball even without making a single sale.
Personally, they have been incredibly kind to me and I am so honored that they were open to forming a relationship with me as well. As someone who values family above all and strives to live generously and as a good person, it became apparent after speaking with Gard that he, his son, Bear, and the company itself all share the same values as I do.
Premium products + a good natured, honest, hard working company like Bruce Bolt is a once in a lifetime partnership. I am humbled to be along for the incredible journey.
Thanks to Gard, thanks to Bear, thanks to Marc, and thanks to Bruce Bolt for the opportunity to share my story!