Binghamton University senior Scott Diamond is living a fantasy dreamed of by millions -- one that teases the minds of sandlot kids in Panama City, taunts the abilities of schoolyard chums in Atlanta and dances before the eyes of the greatest in Tokyo's Little Leagues.
He's actually being paid to play baseball.
In the fall of 2008, a few days before beginning his senior year at Binghamton, the industrial and systems engineering major stepped out of normal student life and into the Atlanta Braves' farm system, where he has been barreling his way through the ranks while finishing up his studies.
"When I first signed I was always second guessing myself," he says. "Is this really for me or should I have gone back to school? But I made a lot of progress my first year in the minor leagues, experience I wouldn't have gotten had I gone back to campus."
In 2008 he pitched for the Class A Rome Braves and advanced to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, where he was named pitcher of the year. Diamond then moved up through the double-A Mississippi Braves and the triple-A Gwinnett County Braves before becoming the first Binghamton University baseball player to reach the major leagues when he was selected to join the Minnesota Twins for the 2011 season.
"I've always dreamt about playing baseball," Diamond says. "But growing up I never really considered the possibility that I could have an engineering degree. The fact that I have more than one option means a lot to me."
He continues to pursue both options. Diamond says that after games, while his teammates are heading out for fun in whatever town they're in, he's heading home so he can get up early to study, work on projects or watch lecture webcasts before heading back to the field in the afternoon to do it all over again.
His dedication is paying off. He's now finished all of his upper-level coursework and only has a few general education credits to complete before graduating. But he didn't do it alone. Diamond says as the Systems Science and Industrial Engineering faculty have helped him structure his class schedule to accommodate his unique situation.
"It was only with the amazing help of Eileen Way and Hal Lewis in the Systems Science and Industrial Engineering Department that I was able to take my last two courses while not on campus," Diamond says. "They knew how much I wanted my engineering degree, and they were extremely supportive.
"I didn't expect to get the chance that I did, and it was the kindness of Binghamton that allowed me the dream to get my college degree."
Last Updated: 11/21/11