I was nervous heading to play catch with MSU Baseball Bears legendary Coach Keith Guttin.
Coach Guttin has:
- Won 1,219 games as the head coach (6th among active D1 head coaches).
- Coached 17 players who made it to the pros, 2 who won the World Series (Bill Mueller, Ryan Howard).
- Grew up in St. Louis and is a St. Louis Cardinals fan.
The few short weeks I was part of the Grounds Crew at Hammons Field in 2016, I watched Guttin in action. As a coach, he is incredibly intense and intimidating.
The first time I met Coach Guttin was at Mickey Owen Baseball Camp in 1984. I was one of the smallest kids playing on the big field. Guttin was in his second year at then-SMSU and stopped by the field for one reason or another. I must have done something right, because he called to me and gave me a high five.
Back then, I simply threw everything as hard as I could. It took my whole body to chuck the ball across the infield. These days, I don’t throw anything as hard as I can as I’m afraid body parts might disintegrate. Also, I know my mechanics are horribly screwy. It comes from years of playing catch with newcomers to the game, trying to throw the ball as softly as possible, arching it to hopefully make it land in their glove. More like tossing darts than throwing a baseball.
Coach Guttin invited me to play catch at the same indoor facility where I connected with Kyle McClellan (Day #12). Always a student of the game, Coach Guttin had some excellent advice:
How do I play catch for 365 consecutive days?
“Throw short distances and throw easy.”
What has baseball taught you about life?
“Every single time life knocks you down, you absolutely have to get back up.”
Best day on the field?
“In 2015, when we hosted the Regional and won.”
Advice for raising daughters? (Like me, Coach Guttin is also a father of multiple daughters.)
“Have a good wife and exercise a lot of patience.”
I politely informed Coach Guttin that if / when the MSU Bears return to the College World Series this year, I am taking partial credit.
“Sounds good to me.”
Thanks much Coach Guttin and best of luck this season!
Happy birthday to:
Jackie Robinson, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
Ernie Banks, “But it all comes down to friendship, treating people right.”
and Nolan Ryan, “Everyone has limits. You just have to learn what your own limits are and deal with them accordingly.”
One month finished. 8.5% complete.