In the 31st round of last year’s draft, the Chicago Cubs drafted outfielder Daniel Spingola out of Georgia Tech. They had drafted him in the 2014 draft as well but he chose to stay at GT.
I’m old enough to be the mother of most of (okay all of) the South Bend Cubs players so I’m always interested in meeting their parents. Over Memorial Day weekend, I noticed a couple who were unreasonably happy about a Daniel Spingola single so, of course, I had to talk to them. It’s what I do.
Daniel’s mom, Lindy Spingola, is a realtor in Atlanta and she was nice enough to answer some questions for me. In addition to Daniel, she and her husband Frank have two daughters, Lori and Amy. The family used to live in Chapel Hill, NC (which is where Daniel was born) and sister Lori pitched for the UNC softball team. Apparently baseball/softball runs in the family as Frank played college baseball at IUP in Pennsylvania.
Q: “Shining Star” by Earth, Wind & Fire is Daniel’s walk up song. By my estimate that song is over 40 years old and almost 20 years older than Daniel. Is there a reason he picked that song?
Lindy: Daniel has always loved music, particularly the music (we) introduced him to from the late 60s, 70s…He knows he can only hear a few moments for the walk up and he thinks the beginning of this song is upbeat!…At Georgia Tech parents would figure out that we were Daniel’s parents and tell us how much they love his walk-up songs! Daniel is an old soul.
Q: Fans in the stands have said Daniel looks like either Adam Sandler or Andy Samberg. Have you heard that before and do you think he looks like either of those famous gentlemen?
(Well he doesn’t NOT look like them……)
Q: Daniel has played in Arizona, Oregon and now South Bend as well as going to college at Georgia Tech. Are you able to get to many South Bend Cubs games? Are you able to follow the games when you can’t make it in person?
Lindy: I have only been to South Bend for 5 days over Memorial Weekend. I plan to see him in Dayton in August. Because my real estate selling season is now, it’s difficult to physically be there. Frank can tie in his work travels pretty well and has managed to see Daniel in Mesa and twice in South Bend. We kind of hopscotch our support with Daniel’s girlfriend, Maren, and Daniel’s cousin and aunt and uncle have been to his games. We have a subscription to MiLB. Thank God for that! I follow his games on the computer…Some teams don’t broadcast so I listen to the audio which is old school and awesome!
Q: Do you have any idea how many baseball games you have watched Daniel play in? Did he do other sports as a kid or was it always baseball? Does he have any siblings and are/were they athletes as well?
Lindy: I can’t imagine how many! Daniel has two older siblings, Amy and Lori, who also played ball so we had to divide and conquer a lot! Amy did not play in college but Lori was the pitcher for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for four years. Daniel also played (and loved) basketball. I guess he just saw his future was more likely in baseball so sometime in high school he concentrated on that.
Q: What team was Daniel a fan of growing up? Does your family have “a team”?
Lindy: The #1 obsession of Daniel’s as a young boy without a doubt was the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan! Growing up in Atlanta, Daniel’s baseball team was definitely the Braves, especially when Smoltz, Glavin and Maddox were pitching and of course, he loved Chipper Jones. As a family, the Spingolas love Carolina basketball!…Our kids grew up rooting for the Tar Heels!
Q: I know how baseball can take over your lives especially in the spring/summer. Was it worth it? Did you have an idea when he was young that Daniel had a chance to play professional baseball? Can you describe what it was like when he was drafted by the Cubs last year?
Lindy: Absolutely worth every minute! No doubt about it! The benefits have been enormous and Frank and I know sports have benefited our kids tremendously on so many levels. Frank would say he had an idea Daniel might be good enough to play at this level because he was aware of his natural athleticism when he was only 10 or so years old…Daniel was drafted by the Cubs after his junior year and made the tough decision to return to GT to get his engineering degree. So the stakes were higher when he was going through the draft last year. We were all playing it cool but I could tell it was different last year…So when they announced his name we all were very relieved and super happy for Daniel!
So far this year at South Bend, Daniel Spingola is batting .309 with OPS of .745. He has scored 20 times and has 42 hits with 10 RBI. Daniel has walked 12 times, has 1 triple and 6 doubles. Defensively, Daniel has spent time at all three outfield positions but is used most often in right field. Throughout his 202.2 innings, Daniel has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
The South Bend Tribune interviewed Daniel and you can find that here. Thanks a bunch to Lindy Spingola for taking the time to answer my questions. And if you’re in the Atlanta area and need a house, look her up at LindySpingola.realtor.