Cal State LA’s Sean Watkins turned down offer from hometown baseball team to finish degree
By Carly Buechler | Cal State LA News Service
The 2017 Major League Baseball draft was underway, and Sean Watkins was at his home in the San Francisco Bay Area. A talented outfielder with the Cal State LA Golden Eagles baseball team, Watkins grew up playing ball just a few miles from AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.
Like other young ball players in the area, he was raised on Giants baseball and dreamed of one day wearing the orange and black uniform of his hometown team. As Watkins was leaving to meet his grandparents, the phone rang. It was the San Francisco Giants. He had just been drafted in the 30th round.
“Getting picked by the Giants was a dream come true,” Watkins says.
But Watkins decided to put his Major League Baseball dreams on hold. He says it was more important to return to Cal State LA and become the first in his family to earn a university degree.
In May, the 22-year-old Watkins walked across the Commencement stage and received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. He stressed the significance of having a college degree in his back pocket when he leaves Cal State LA.
“It’s so competitive out in the job world,” he says. “Right now I’m riding on baseball, but let’s say baseball doesn’t work out in the end, then I’ll have something to fall back on.”
Watkins developed an interest in sociology as he began to learn about social constructs. He has been able to apply his classroom knowledge of patterns of social relationships, social interaction and culture in different aspects of his life. He has even found it useful on the baseball field when communicating and interacting with coaches and teammates.
The utility player, who serves as a reliever along with his outfield position, has been one of the most productive players on the team since beginning his career with Cal State LA in 2017.
In his first season with the Golden Eagles, Watkins lead the California Collegiate Athletic Association with 14 home runs and also had a team-high 48 runs batted in and a .368 hitting average. His performance earned him first-team All-CCAA and second-team All-West Region honors. Watkins earned conference honors for a second straight year, helping the team advance to the CCAA Championship Tournament with a .322 batting average, 40 RBIs and a team-high 11 home runs.
This season, Watkins is hoping that he is drafted again and has an opportunity to pursue his dream of playing professional baseball. But he is certain of one thing: his decision to earn a Cal State LA degree will prepare him for any pitch that comes his way and help him achieve success in whatever career path he chooses.