Craig Baseball has taken Brad Grinstead a number of places.
From the fields of Moffat County to a diamond in Conway, Ark., and the conference championships in Jackson, Miss., Grinstead, 20, is already a baseball lifer.
This summer, the 2007 Moffat County High School graduate will see his baseball career go international when he suits up for the Weyburn Beavers in the Western Major Baseball League.
The stop in Saskatchewan, a Canadian province, is hopefully just one step closer toward Grinstead’s ultimate goal.
“My dream is to make it to the pros,” he said. “I just want one shot. I’ve worked my whole life for baseball, and I did everything I could to be where I am, and hopefully I can make it to the pros.”
Grinstead’s baseball life has seen numerous highs, like a 2007 no-hitter in high school to the 2009 conference championship for the Hendrix College Warriors against Trinity College.
The 2009 season did not seem like it would be loaded with highs for Grinstead from the start.
Playing in the spring, Grinstead strained his Tommy John ligament in his throwing arm, forcing him to sit out a large portion of the season.
When he returned, he was the team’s designated hitter who had a realization of just how fragile his playing career was.
“It changes your outlook on a lot of things,” he said. “You think you’re never going to get injured, and as soon as you do, you realize you need to start taking care of yourself, and you shouldn’t be taking anything for granted.”
In one regard, the injury was beneficial to Grinstead, as he had to focus almost entirely on fundamentals.
When Grinstead left Moffat County, he was converted from a third baseman to catcher.
“I had to switch a few things around and make sure my throwing mechanics were on the dot,” he said. “During the summer after I came back, I probably threw out over 80 percent of the runners who stole on me. That was because of the extra work I did.
“When I was in high school, in the summers I lived in Denver playing ball, I had a lot of coaches and scouts telling me I needed to switch positions. It just happened to be our first practice in college they needed a catcher to catch some bullpen. So I went over, and the coach liked my form, and I’ve been there since.”
Growing up near former big leaguer Junior Herndon, Grinstead said his best catching attribute is a knowledge of pitching.
“My overall attitude — I like being involved in the game,” he said. “I’ve studied a lot of pitching, and growing up with Junior Herndon, I’ve learned a lot from him. I look at it through a pitcher’s eyes as a catcher.”
As a hitter, Grinstead said he had to go back to basics and tweak his approach.
“In high school, you always think you know a lot, but you never really do,” he said. “In baseball, you always learn something new, and I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of new people who have been willing to help me.”
In Canada, Grinstead said he would look to continue his progression.
“I’ve never been so excited,” he said. “I’ve talked to the coach numerous times. He actually knows my coach from college and saw me play in the conference tournament. When he called my coach, the first person he asked to come play up there was me.”
At Hendrix, Grinstead has decided on a kinesiology major.
“It offered me a lot of little degrees, if I so choose,” he said. “From there, I go into coaching, sports administration, teaching, nutrition and training. I can go so many ways after baseball — it’s nice to know I have a few options.”
Grinstead’s baseball career could extend beyond college if he has a good spring and summer, he said.
“I don’t care if I’m the last pick in the nation,” he said. “I just think that would be the coolest thing ever.”
When the MLB June amateur draft rolls around, Grinstead said he wouldn’t watch or listen to it.
“I’ve had a couple of players I’ve played with in the summer get the call when they were playing,” he said. “To experience what they experienced would be awesome. Just the look in their eyes, you know you finally accomplished it.”
Although he would prefer to have his career extended, Grinstead said he has enjoyed the ride this far.
“I’m just living the dream; I love everything about it,” he said. “The bus trips, the charter buses, the free food — I truly am happy I’m there, and I want it to keep going.”