Former Bronco Randy Winn checks in

Oct. 27, 2008

The 2008 Santa Clara Baseball Golf Tournament brought out quite an array of golfing talent, but also professional baseball talent with former Santa Clara alum and current San Francisco Giant Randy Winn (RW) playing in a foursome with Mike Frank, Mason Hibbard and Jeff Perry. The tournament, played at Cinnabar Hills Golf Course on Fri., Oct. 24, was won by Jack Gifford, Mike O'Brien, Brian Rae and Jason Hardtke.

"It was a great day and weekend overall," said Bronco head coach Mark O'Brien. "We had a tremendous showing and truly enjoyed seeing the former players enjoy themselves as well as friends of the program."

Winn attended San Ramon Valley High School and played baseball and basketball at Santa Clara, where he played guard alongside former roommate and future NBA two-time MVP Steve Nash. Winn was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1997 and played for them from 1998-2002. He has since played in Seattle (2003-05) and has been the starting outfielder with the San Francisco Giants since 2005. He played in the 2002 All-Star Game as a Devil Ray.

Before hitting the links, Winn stopped by to chat with SANTACLARABRONCOS.COM (SCU).

SCU: You are back to play in the Bronco Baseball Golf Tournament. That's great. Why is it important for you to play in the tournament and keep in touch with the coaches and team?

RW: I like to come back and play in this tournament. Santa Clara was very good to me. I had a chance to get a great education and play baseball at a very competitive level. To come back to an alumni event, first it's fun. I get to see a lot of the guys I played with and then also get a chance to give back to the school and the program.

SCU: When you went to college and came to Santa Clara, did you ever think you would play Major League Baseball?

RW: (big smile): No. I had no idea when I was in school; I had no idea when I was in the minors. Baseball was fun and something I enjoyed doing. I had a chance to go to a top notch school and get a great education, so between that and playing Division I baseball, I wouldn't change anything in the world. I am majored in Marketing.

SCU: Is it neat to play professional baseball in San Francisco, so close to where you went to college?

RW: It is now. I played in Oakland earlier in my career and it was hectic to say the least. I had to leave tons of tickets! I still had buddies from college and high school in the local area, so I was leaving tons and tons of tickets every game. By the time a three-game series was over I was ready to leave town! But when I got traded to the Giants, I got a lot more text-messages and emails with a lot of people saying `it's good to see you are back in town. Good luck and we'll catch up down the road'. So I guess the novelty had worn off some so I could focus on baseball. On the flip side I am now closer to the place I grew up and that's really nice.

SCU: What message would you give to the Bronco baseball players out for the tournament when they stop by?

RW: I would say `anything is possible!' I had no idea I would play in the Major Leagues when I went to college, but I kept my nose to the grindstone and it worked out. Whatever your dreams are, don't let anyone tell you it's not possible.

SCU: Is that the same message you would give to a high school player looking at Santa Clara?

RW: Definitely. Not everybody is going to be a professional golfer or baseball player, but just because you are doing it - there is no reason you can't be. Anything is possible if you put in the effort. That is my message when I talk to high school or college kids. A lot of people tell you `you can't do this or you can't do that', but you never know unless you try.

SCU: How often do you talk to Bronco head coach Mark O'Brien or the baseball team?

RW: I had a chance to see the team play last season when they played at Giants Stadium against USF so I got a chance to see them then. I had a chance to talk to the guys and it's always fun to do those kinds of things. I hope they play really well this year.

SCU: What are you looking for next year? What will you do to improve yourself during the off-season?

RW: Me personally, a lot. You can never get too comfortable and that's something else I tell people when I talk. Each year each organization drafts 40-50-60 guys and that means that same number has to leave. There are guys gunning for my position and my job and so I have to work hard on every aspect of my game. I relax this month and then November 1st its back to the gym and try to become a better baseball player.

SCU: What are some things you do to try to become a better baseball player?

RW: Since I am considered old for a baseball player (34), I do a lot of weight training. I have changed up my program a little bit, but I am still in the gym a lot trying to get stronger and maintain the strength that I had that I lose during the year. That's first and foremost. I have to let the body recover and then start to build it back up. I work on everything. As a switch-hitter, I work on hitting left-handed and right-handed and also my bunting. I work on everything.

SCU: What is the most important thing you do in the offseason?

RW: That's a tough question. Really tough. I would say resting the first month is very important because I normally play a lot of games and it takes a huge toll on my body so rest and getting my body recovered. And then going to the gym. They go hand in hand, but they are the two most important things.

SCU: What is the most important thing you can do in spring training? This is advice for younger players as they begin in the spring as well.

RW: Go back to the basics. For hitting, in spring training, I start by hitting off a tee. When you are a kid, that's usually how you learn to hit. It would seem like when you are older, you wouldn't need to do that, but every year I go back to the basics.

SCU: You appear to be very wise. Would you like to be a coach when you retire?

RW: (laughs) I don't think I am that wise. I don't know. I don't know what the future holds for me. I am going to enjoy playing baseball for as long as I can and then once that is done I will take a step back and see what my options are then.

SCU: Anything else you want to add?

RW: Go Broncos!