Greenfield’s Russ Hudson was in Adams Donut Shop a few weeks ago with news that his son Joe is a strength and conditioning coach in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. On Friday, young Mr. Hudson will put his new Jeep Patriot on a train bound from Clearwater to Williamsport, Pa., and be tending to the Crosscutters of the New York-Penn League.
It’s likely a few of those players will be newly signed professionals freshly inked from Thursday’s amateur draft.
Hudson graduated from Greenfield High School in 2008. He played baseball for Tom Suchanek and basketball for Scott Thayer but relaxed in the fall. “I always said I was going out for football but every summer I’d see my friends going to practice and figured I wanted a couple more weeks vacation,” he said in a telephone interview from Florida.
After he graduated from Plymouth State College last year with a degree in exercise physiology, “My original plan was to take a year off before going back for my Masters, but late last November or early December I started looking online. It’s when the baseball teams start to post their job openings. Almost every team had a job posting and I applied to all of them. Two of them replied back right away, the Nationals and Phillies. The Nationals found somebody else but the Phils called and offered me a paid internship.”
Hudson arrived in Florida a week before minor league spring training and quickly became acclimated to the job. “My main responsibilities are getting the guys loose and doing some nutrition counseling. We’re working with quite a few teenagers. If you can think back, I think about it, they’re not fully matured and some of ‘em don’t have the best diets. They’re on their own and sometimes they need a little bit of guidance. It’s a little challenging to think they’re pro athletes and still need to be reminded about things so simple.”
In Williamsport the Crosscutters play at Bowman Field, which was built in 1926 and is the third oldest minor league ballpark in the country. The ballpark made news in 1987 when a catcher named Dave Bresnahan tricked a runner to try and score from third base by throwing a peeled potato over the bag. The umpire ruled the runner safe, the Williamsport manager took Bresnahan out of the game and the Cleveland Indians released him at the end of the season. The fans loved it though and he was invited back to have his jersey number retired on a night when a buck and a potato got you into the game.
Hudson doesn’t have such antics up his sleeve but he does intend to return to school in the fall. “I’ve settled into my path here and it’s great, but I’m going back to school. I wouldn’t know if I’d be hired fulltime until October and don’t want to take the chance. I’m doing all the loan stuff now. I’ll be at Springfield College.”
Today’s Belmont Stakes carries a million-dollar purse with $620,000 to the winner, a mere pittance compared to the odds of reaching the starter’s gate. In 2010 more than 25,000 foals were registered with the Jockey Club but less than 400 were nominated for the Triple Crown. That group has been culled to 14 3-year-olds that will be going to post at 6:35 p.m. this evening, with coverage on NBC starting at 5.
The 145th running of the mile-and-a-half event lost some of its luster after Kentucky Derby winner Orb finished fourth in the Preakness Stakes, and now Tropical Storm Andrea threatens to turn Big Sandy into Big Muddy.
Two horses that relish the goo are Orb, who won in the slop at Churchill Downs, and Freedom Child, who won the Peter Pan Stakes in the mud at Belmont Park a month ago.
“It’s a tough race to handicap,” says Greenfield’s John Dobrydnio, aka the Clairvoyant One. “We’re facing all sorts of problems, but after I go through everything the horse this really sets up for this is Revolutionary. I’m not saying we can’t win with Orb or (Preakness winner) Oxbow, but it’s a whole different kind of race.”
Revolutionary, ridden by Javier Castellano, is the 9-2 second choice in the morning line behind 3-1 favorite Orb and the 5-1 third choice Oxbow.
“The others will fall by the wayside,” said Dobrydnio. “I’m not saying Orb and Oxbow can’t win, but the way this race sets up Revolutionatry looks like it’s in a garden spot. And that’s the end of that my friend. Be sure to make me look good with all the rats that want me to go bad.”
The Keene Swamp Bats play their third game of the season tonight versus the Mystic Schooners at Alumni Field. This year’s roster includes three players from both St. John’s University and the University of Virginia, and a Clemson freshman named Wales Toney who’s a 6-foot-3, 205-pound right-hander. As a senior in high school, Toney was rated as the third-best player in South Carolina. He hails from Anderson, the same hometown as Jim Rice.
The collegiate wooden bat league has three expansion teams in Plymouth, South Kingston, R.I., and Saratoga, N.Y., and the Bats have a new skipper, Kevin Winterrowd, a history teacher who lives in Mustang, Okla., only a few miles west of where last month’s EF-5 tornado struck.
Tickets are $4 for fans 12 and up, $3 for seniors and there’s no admission for those in the active military. The cost for an entire family is $10, and seating is first-come, first served. I prefer a foldout chair down the third base line.
Kerry Togneri’s skating spectacle in Amherst netted $20,000, with half going to the Wounded Warrior Project and half to One Fund Boston. The Ice Stars for Wounded Warriors garnered mention in Skating Magazine, which she said, “Is huge for us.”
Why’s everybody down on
Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy? He asked David Ortiz if he was on PEDs and Big Papi never gave a straight-up answer, yes or no, only roundabout responses like, “I just don’t want no misunderstanding e_SSRqcause I got no time for this (expletive) right now.”
Rafael Palmeiro lied to Congress, Sammy Sosa reverted to speaking Spanish in front of Congress and last year Ryan Braun told reporters, “I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point.”
Ortiz began his career in Minnesota and in six seasons he averaged one home run per every 25 at-bats. During his 11 seasons in Boston he’s averaged one per 15 at-bats. He’s been paid $110 million with the Red Sox and dances around the truth with the best of them.
The Yankees’ John Sterling is required to say a pitch “painted the corner” at least once during each game because the phrase is sponsored by a paint company, and during every man advantage this season, the Chicago Blackhawks’ broadcasters are required to say it’s a “Citgo Petroleum Power Play.”
Whoever’s responsible in the marketing department for these annoying messages deserves a special place in sports hell.
“Amen to that,” messages reader Gil Longin, “but somebody has to pay A-Rod’s salary.”
Squibbers: With over 30 tattoos on his body, Kim Roberts decided the best birthday present she could give her husband Ryan Roberts of the Rays would be his own tattoo machine. The thought was there, but the Rays management is probably worried it’s another weird way of landing on the disabled list. ... The latest gimmick hotel chains use to lure travelers is their free hot breakfast, a toaster for two-day-old bagels and lukewarm scrambled eggs. The army, prisons and mental institutions also have free hot breakfast. ... Sign in a pasture along I-95 north of Port St. Lucie: “Used Cows for Sale.” ... After an 11-3 home loss to the Rays last Sunday, the first song over the PA system was “Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This” over the PA system. ... The New York Times has its own store, and a two-page spread in Sunday’s edition listed sports memorabilia items for Father’s Day bargains that included a Mickey Mantle autographed baseball for $995 and a collector’s box filled with capsules of game dirt from all 30 Major League baseball parks for a penny under $200. ... At a triathlon in West Palm Beach last Saturday, about 50 athletes either gave or had to be pulled out of the Lake Worth Lagoon after gaining no headway against a strong current. Race organizers came to their senses, changed direction and let them swim with the current. ... That’s a tough non-conference schedule the UMass hockey team has this season. The Minutemen have two games each against Notre Dame, Michigan State and NCAA Frozen Four runner-up Quinnipiac, and they also play Denver. The only softie on the ledger is versus AIC on Jan. 14.
Chip Ainsworth is an award-winning columnist who has penned his observations about sports for four decades in the Pioneer Valley.