Friday, June 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Jesuit grad, FSU standout Robinson on World Series stage with Cardinals

ST. LOUIS — Shane Robinson isn't much for small talk.

The Tampa native and Jesuit High graduate has done enough big things in his career to get to this point as a key member of the Cardinals' World Series outfield rotation. And yet, much to his dismay, the primary topic of discussion tends to be about what he's lacking, specifically inches and pounds on a frame he generously describes as 5 feet 9, 165 pounds.

"I've always been self-driven growing up, always that chip-on-the-shoulder-type mind-set," Robinson, 28, said Friday in the Busch Stadium clubhouse. "Each level that I've jumped up, from Little League to high school to college to the minor leagues and to the majors, I've been able to step my game up a little more at each level and be successful at all of them.

"So this is something I've always wanted. I didn't accept that being the 'little guy' was an excuse. I actually kind of hate it when people bring it up. It gets old. It's like, 'Can you come up with something else?' … But it is what it is. I'm never going to be a 'big guy,' so I've accepted it. And I think it's helped me a little bit, driving me, hearing all the negative stuff about not being big enough or whatnot to play at this level."

That's always been the case, even when former Jesuit coach John Crumbley saw Robinson dominating on an American Legion team as an eighth-grader.

"He hit like .680, and he didn't strike out until our last game, his 68th at-bat," Crumbley said. "I knew right then he was going to be successful."

Robinson hit leadoff and played centerfield as a freshman for Jesuit's 2000 state championship team, lettering for four years. Then he went to Florida State for a record-setting career that included a 40-game hitting streak and the 2005 national player of the year award.

And yet he might have been a better football player.

That's what Robert Weiner, the current Plant High coach who was a Jesuit assistant in both sports, said, noting Robinson's fearlessness and aggressiveness. Robinson on Friday agreed, laughing about a recent opportunity to be on the sideline for a Rams NFL game: "I felt like I could go out there and do something."

Weiner said he, too, knew Robinson was destined for success and uses him as an example when he talks to his current teams.

"Shane's of legendary status to most of us," Weiner said. "He's the ultimate story of the kid who everyone told him he wouldn't make it. People told him he wouldn't make it at Jesuit, that it's a big-time baseball and football program and he's too small. They told him he wouldn't make it at FSU. They told him he'd never play in the major leagues."

Robinson was a fifth-round pick by the Cardinals in 2006 and made it to the majors, albeit briefly, in 2009. His next two seasons at Triple A were cut short by injury: a dislocated shoulder in 2010, a fractured cheek bone from an outfield collision in 2011.

Robinson knew his career path was now uncertain, but he said it was "more of a humbling experience than anything," making him more appreciative of the opportunity.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said the second injury seemed to be a needed wakeup call.

"He seemed to be not growing in the game; I think he was at a stagnant point," Mozeliak said. "After that injury he came back and he was rehabbing and all of a sudden a light turned on for him. … He just seemed to be a different player."

Robinson spent most of 2012 with the Cardinals and all of this season, save for a short disabled list stint, and has been a key part of their success, starting Game 1 of the Series.

His Cardinals teammates couldn't be more impressed, raving not only about what he has done but how he has done it.

"His whole life he's played with that prove-you-wrong mentality. When you do that, you've got that little extra edge," pitcher Adam Wainwright said. "And he's got crazy ability for how small he is."

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]om. Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

 
Comments
Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

ST. PETERSBURG — Missing all of 2017 might have been the absolute worst thing for Matt Duffy.Frustratingly idled as he eventually recovered and rehabbed from ongoing left heel issues, he couldn't play the game he loved, couldn't show the Rays o...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

ST. PETERSBURG – Rookie 1B Jake Bauers has impressed at the plate and in the field since his June 7 promotion.Also, with his hustling on the bases."I knew he played hard; everybody said that at every level,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I di...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Published: 06/21/18
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Published: 06/20/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

RHP Nathan Eovaldi said before his rough start Wednesday against the Astros that he was pitching better than his numbers showed. Well … In four starts since his six no-hit innings debut, he's 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA, allowing eight homers, four Wed...
Published: 06/20/18
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Published: 06/20/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Times sports columnist Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud to discuss Kevin Kiermaier's return to the Rays, whether Victor Hedman should win the Norris Trophy for the NHL's best defenseman, Bucs expectations for this season and Barry Trotz's next c...
Published: 06/20/18
How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

There was some interesting inside baseball elements that factored into the late innings of Tuesday's 2-1 Rays win.* First, on Matt Duffy's double off reliever Hector Rondon to lead off the eighth.Duffy said he doesn't like "to guess" what a pitcher i...
Published: 06/20/18
Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

HOUSTON — Energy.That's what Kevin Kiermaier said he felt he'd provide most in rejoining the Rays Tuesday against the Astros after missing two-plus months recovering from thumb surgery."I like to think I bring energy on both sides of the ball, ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

HOUSTON — The starting pitcher walked seven over seven otherwise solid innings Tuesday. That seemed weird enough for the Rays. Then the next pitcher they brought in was the one who started Monday's game. Even more bizarre.And then there was thi...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18