Sagehen Star: P-P Pitcher’s Real Life Game Theory

It’s not difficult to spot pitcher/first baseman Simon Rosenbaum PO ’16 on the field at a Pomona-Pitzer baseball game. At 6’6″, Rosenbaum easily stands out next to his teammates, and when he’s batting almost .500 and pitching shutout innings, you definitely will not miss him.

The star baseball player for P-P (8-3, 5-1 SCIAC) never lets such success get to his head, though.

“I have a lot of people I need to thank, so make sure you don’t miss any of them,” Rosenbaum said almost immediately when being interviewed.

Rosenbaum comes from a family of immigrants hailing from Israel and Serbia, and shared his unlikely path to baseball at the start of elementary school. 

“None of my parents knew anything about baseball,” Rosenbaum said. “It was only because my best friend from preschool and kindergarten taught me about baseball and introduced me to the sport that I became interested at all.”

It did not take long for Rosenbaum to flourish in the game. At just eleven, he was elected to the regional under-12 all-star team, while also playing soccer and basketball. Rosenbaum led the Los Altos High School baseball team to two berths in the Central California Section championship game and one title, while being named an All-League selection his junior and senior seasons. He additionally played three years of varsity basketball and was Los Altos’s Senior Athlete of the Year.

Despite his stature, Rosenbaum is convinced that the key to his success, and the most important part of the game, is mental rather than physical. When asked about his approach to the game, Rosenbaum looked down at the homework next to him.

“You know, it’s a lot like game theory—real-life game theory,” Rosenbaum said. “I like to think about what the situation is dictating for our team and the other team, and what the best way is for us to play against that.”

Rosenbaum’s father coached his youth team, despite knowing almost nothing about the game of baseball. His dad always told him that the power of the mind was more dangerous than people thought and that to have the mental edge in the game is more important than anything else.

“[My dad’s] really a thinker, and he would remind our team that we need to always be aware of what’s going on,” Rosenbaum said. 

Rosenbaum remembered one particular moment when his dad had the team do the cha-cha dance out onto the field just to psych the opposing team out.

“I think the mental part of the game is really why I enjoy it still today,” Rosenbaum said. “I love how analytical it can be. People say I always overthink things, and in baseball I can finally put that to good use. It’s a chess match between the batter and the [pitcher], and if you know what he’s going to throw, you’re going to be successful.”

His teammates had nothing but the highest praise for Rosenbaum and noted his leadership qualities in particular.

“Simon leads by example,” pitcher Steven Glick PO ’17 said. “He sets big goals for himself and the team and consistently puts in a great deal of effort to do all of the little things right and ensure that we all achieve our goals. He really is a leader both on and off the field for our team.” 

Throughout his success, Rosenbaum says he relies on mentors and teammates to motivate him.

“I need to give a huge shoutout to my P-P and high school teammates as well as my club team coach, Donny Kadokawa, without whom I really couldn’t have done any of this,” Rosenbaum said.

As a Rawlings First-Team All-American and SCIAC Player of the Year, Rosenbaum is confident in his team’s ability to win a SCIAC championship this year. As for practices, Rosenbaum has his eye on the new Pomona Studio Arts building just past the right field fence. 

“I’m not sure if it’s possible, but I’m hoping to break some windows,” he said. 

Rosenbaum and his fellow Sagehens will take the field against the Whittier Poets in games Feb. 27 at 2:30 p.m. and Feb. 28 at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. 

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