Clint Everts is a name well known in the sporting world. He was the Montreal Expos first-round draft choice in 2002, and was eagerly courted by colleges and Major League teams. That sort of fame is enough to turn the head of any normal teenager. But this is old news to most of us who follow baseball, so lets just address the thing most of us are curious about: Clint Everts is a teenage millionaire.
Thats pretty exciting, even to a crusty old baseball fan like me. So when I had the honor of interviewing him recently, I just cut to the chase. He laughed politely and said no, it didnt bother him to talk about it. He said that he learned very early that in this business, even the bonus babies are easy to humble. For him that humbling came with his very first pitch as a professional.
At my first Major League Spring Training game, (Atlanta Braves infielder) Adam LaRoche hit a home run off the first ball I threw! Everts laughed.
But surely there are some perks to having a $2.5 million signing bonus? Or does it just add more pressure to an already competitive career?
It does add some pressure. But most of the guys here are very down-to-earth, Everts said. Money does make things easier, I guess. Maybe I eat better than some people. (He loves local restaurant The Lady and Sons).
But he is quick to add that his mother raised him in such a way that he is grateful for what he has, and that he has worked hard not to let it change him.
Now that we have that out of the way, lets talk about the things that really matter to Everts.
He promised his mom hed finish college: She always emphasized education, so even though he knew he wanted to play ball it never occurred to him not to get his degree.
He loves Thirsty Thursday at Grayson Stadium: Its exciting to hear a big crowd- it makes it seem more like a game. It makes the players try harder, and it makes it more fun. It would be really cool to be President: Talk about performing under pressure!
All Little Debbie snacks are not created equal: I have to have a Star Crunch and a Red Bull before every single game. (This is the least complicated part of his superstitious ritual, but that is a story for another time.)
Its pretty clear that Clint Everts is telling the truth when he says money hasnt changed him. His favorite leisure activity is playing Tiger Woods games on his X-Box. He likes to go to the mall, loves to watch movies, and tries not to miss his two favorite TV shows, CSI and Law & Order SVU. Sounds pretty normal to me.
One thing that did strike me as unusual is the fact that he loves to read. He read all the Lord of the Rings installments, even before the movies came about. That isnt exactly typical of your everyday jock. But Everts pointed out that I was buying into a stereotype.
Most of my high school friends are in school to become brain surgeons and stuff like that, Everts said.
Everts isnt exactly a dummy himself, but since he is more comfortable discussing the accomplishments of his buddies, Ill have to be the one to brag about him here.
His athletic prowess is well recorded and much lauded, but little is said about the rest of his educational career. The fact is that even with the double duty of high school baseball and summer leagues (not to mention basketball and football), Everts managed to make excellent grades in his honors classes. He is now working on a degree in accounting at Baylor University during the off-season. But he turned down the baseball scholarship offered by this prestigious university; he is there strictly as a scholar.
But, as I said, Everts gets uncomfortable when I ask him too many questions about his accomplishments. He gives all the credit to his mother, of whom he is very proud. He talks at length about how hard she and his step dad worked to instill character and good values into their children. They coached his Little League teams. They made him and his siblings prepare dinner three nights per week. They created in him an awareness of his good fortune and a desire to give something back to those who helped him in the past.
I [endowed] a scholarship at my high school, and I made a donation to USA Baseball, Everts said. They helped buy me equipment and sent me to play in a showcase when I was younger. I wanted to help them do the same thing for somebody else who needed it.