Although he was only a Dirtbag for one year, Davis Schneider personifies what it means to be a Dirtbag. And now, as a professional baseball player, he carries with him the lessons learned and memories made during an unforgettable year.
From Voorhees, New Jersey, Schneider joined the Dirtbags prior to the start of the 2016 summer. Heading down the Atlantic coast to play with new players, follow the direction of unfamiliar voices, and live hundreds of miles away from the Garden State, it didn’t take long for Schneider feel right at home.
“As soon as I got there, they treated me like I was there the entire time,” Schneider said. “They really welcomed me with open arms. Same with Andy, I stayed at his house all summer, basically like hid kid staying at his house.”
Schneider spoke about his time with the Dirtbags from Florida as he prepares for his first full season as a professional baseball player. It was a week in Florida as a Dirtbag in 2016, which Schneider credits for giving him.
Helping the Dirtbags to the World Wood Bat Association World Championship in October 2016, Schneider was named the tournament’s MVP, in what is viewed as the top travel baseball tournament. The most scouted and heavily attended tournament, before the week in Jupiter, Fla., the Rutgers-commit wasn’t expected to be a draft pick. But Schneider’s performance changed that.
“[Heading into] Jupiter, I wasn’t really on scouts’ radars, I didn’t have the pro-body, as you would say,” the 25th-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays said. “Jupiter really put me on the map. Being with the Dirtbags, Andy is a high-profile guy, and he helped me get to get Jupiter and play as a team.”
That aspect, playing as a team is what Schneider believes spurred his success and event draft call.
“We played as a team, and that’s why I got seen.” he said. “Because we played well, I think that helped me play well as an individual.”
The 15 months since the Dirtbags were crowned the best in the country has flown by in the blink of an eye for Schneider. Drafted while his Eastern High School was still in session, immediately after graduation Schneider flew down to Dunedin, Fla., the home of the Blue Jays’ spring training and Gulf Coast League affiliate, passed his physical and started his journey as a professional baseball player.
“In the summer, it’s a grind playing every day,” Schneider said, following a debut season where he posted a .371 on-base percentage and picked up 12 doubles, three triples and four home runs.
“I didn’t expect it to be that hard. People say it would be hard but didn’t say how hard because you’re playing every day, especially in the hot sun out in Florida, with no days off.”
There were times that Schneider fell into a slump, but he credits his teammates for helping him get through the tough spells.
“You have to embrace your teammates with it,” Schneider said on the key to staying positive. “Having teammates there going through the same thing you’re going through, it really helps you out. There in the same boat as me, trying to make it to the big leagues.”
That sense of compassion and togetherness for his teammates blossomed as a Dirtbag. Though only able to done the yellow and black for one year, the bonds created have remained. Schneider says he texts daily with his former teammates, checking in on how guys are doing in college and younger Dirtbags as they prepare for their high school season.
“They all treated me like an equal, didn’t put me down, just welcomed me and that’s why we did so well; we played as a team and acted as a team off the field.”