“It’s awesome. I love the Carolinas in general … This is a good place to be.”
–Richie Shaffer, Durham Bulls baseball player
by Mimi Montgomery
photograph by Travis Long
Raleighite Richie Shaffer, 25, is happy to be back for a second season with the Durham Bulls. Last season, he split his time between the Tampa Bay Rays, the Bulls, and the Montgomery Biscuits (both Rays affiliates). This spring, expect to see Shaffer playing first and third base for the Bulls, plus some outfield. A good number of the guys he played with last year are coming back for another season, too, and Shaffer is glad to see them again in the dugout. “You play every day together, and you get really close,” he says. “It’s sort of like a mini frat house experience. It’s a lot of fun.”
The Charlotte native played baseball at Clemson University before heading to upstate New York, Florida, and Alabama, so he’s glad to make his way back to North Carolina. When the Bulls play the Charlotte Knights, he sees his parents and brother.
He also loves Raleigh, where he and Danielle, his wife of four months, have made their home. But he doesn’t stay put for long. After their January wedding and honeymoon, Shaffer was off to spring training, and now that the season is in full swing, the team plays all but two days of the month. To Shaffer, it sure beats 9-to-5. “Basically, the way I look at it, normal people work Monday through Friday and have weekends off,” he says, “and we basically go from Valentine’s Day until end of October every day, and then have five months off.”
In the meantime, Shaffer looks forward to exploring his new hometown – and maybe even finding some time to relax. “If the weather gets nice in May, maybe (we’ll) go out to Jordan Lake and just hang out a bit,” he says. “We’re so busy during the season that we usually just like to … relax a little bit” when there’s downtime. Hopefully he’ll find some of that.