Tony Gwynn once said, “Remember these two things: play hard and have fun.”
Perfect advice from the hall of famer who played two decades for the San Diego Padres, accruing a lifetime batting average of .338 and more than 3100 hits and dozens of accolades and awards along the way.
Clint played for Gwynn.
Growing up in San Diego, Clint attended San Diego State while Gwynn was the head coach.
Rephrasing. Clint played for Gwynn on the field named in honor of Gwynn.
“As an 18-year old, I was awestruck every time I was around him. He was fantastic and had a ton of wisdom about the game that he wanted to pass along.”
Clint is a tall southpaw who throws the ball hard, topping out the radar around 95 or 96.
“I knew my job at San Diego State. I was ‘the project.’ My job was to show up, do my throwing, do my running, and shag balls during batting practice. I threw hard, but had no mechanics. I couldn’t throw a strike. After a year there, I had good mechanics, still threw the ball hard, still couldn’t throw strikes.”
Clint works at iHeartRadio, so we met in the parking lot for catch and used the Bryan Family Millennium Falcon as a backstop. I was grateful the predicted precipitation was pushed back a couple of hours. Working in radio, Clint loves the opportunities for creativity, trying new things that haven’t been done before.
“Ideas breed ideas. Share your ideas when you have them and good things happen.”
He taught me a new way of throwing a knuckle-curve, so I practiced with him and prayed I wouldn’t flip it thirty feet over his head or bounce it on the asphalt into oncoming traffic. It felt ridiculously unnatural, but now I have a new pitch to work on. Even though he hasn’t thrown a baseball for years, Clint’s knuckle-curve is in good form.
After his first year at San Diego State, Clint moved to Springfield pretty much on a whim and ended up playing baseball and football on scholarship at Evangel University. He’s been in Springfield ever since.
“There’s no beach, but there are plenty of trees. No earthquakes, and even though there are tornados, at least you can see those coming. People here make eye contact. Not that I do, but people do.”
About a month ago, Clint and his wife welcomed their second child into the world, a baby boy.
Now, all Clint wants for Christmas is consecutive nights with uninterrupted sleep.