May 12, 2011
Notre Dame sophomore catcher Joe Hudson has been one of the busiest players on the Irish roster this season. The 6-1, 215-pounder has seen action in all 43 Notre Dame games this season, making 41 starts behind the plate. In just his second season with the Irish, the Odessa, Fla., native has become the team's top backstop and has shown the ability to handle a talented pitching staff. Hudson saw action in 22 games as a freshman, hitting .264 with one homer and six RBI. This season, he is hitting .211 with eight doubles, one triple and 10 RBI in 133 at bats. Behind the dish, Hudson has a .987 fielding percentage with just two errors in 306 chances. He has thrown out 42.1% of runners trying to steal (16 of 38) while the Irish pitching staff has a 2.83 team ERA for the year. Hudson and the Irish are in action this at home this weekend for an important BIG EAST series with South Florida beginning on Friday, May 13 at 7:05 p.m. Earlier this week, und.com's Maura Jones sat down with Hudson to talk Irish baseball.
How did you first become interested in baseball? At an early age my mom instilled it in me. At about two or three years old I had the plastic wiffle ball and bat in the front yard, and my mom was the one who pushed me to get into sports.
Who do you look up to when it comes to baseball? Right now, it's probably tied between two. Brad Radke, my cousin, who is a pitcher for the Minnesota Twins is someone I always looked up to as a person but also a player. Also, Joe Mauer, who is another Twin, is someone I look up to because he's a catcher just like myself, and he's the best in the league.
How did you choose to come to Notre Dame? It was the combination of academic and athletic excellence here. The tradition here is great, and it is something that sticks with you for the rest of your life.
What is the most exciting part of baseball? I love winning. It's as simple as that. I don't really care how it happens, I just love winning.
How did you feel before your first baseball game at Notre Dame?
We were in Mississippi actually, but I felt prepared. We had a long off-season, and I didn't have any of those first year jitters like a lot of people do.
Do you have a pregame routine? The only pregame routine that I have is to pay my respect to our country during the national anthem and try not to move. Then afterward I say a quick prayer and wrap things up. The team doesn't really have any rituals. We're not a very superstitious team; it's all pretty standard out here.
How do you remain calm when games are really close? We've had a lot of close games this year actually, so I think the familiarity with games and situations like that helps, and then also if you just take a second to yourself and take a step back and a deep breath you would be surprised at how calm you can be.
What is the team dynamic at ND? We're going to be that team that everyone hates playing. That's what we're trying to do out here. We're always flying around the field giving one hundred percent all the time.
What is one of your favorite baseball moments? When I was about 12 years old I went to Cooperstown to play in a tournament up there and just being with all my teammates by ourselves in a little barracks was probably the best time.
How would you say the team has progressed this season? We've progressed slowly but surely. We've been working on hitting a lot. I think if we get into the tournament the sky is the limit for us.
What are some of your goals for yourself and the team while you are at Notre Dame?
I have all of the typical goals. I want to go to Omaha and I want to compete for a national championship, but I think my goals are also really different from other people's goals. I really want to establish relationships with my teammates. I want to be able to call them twenty years from now and say "remember that one time..." so I think my goals are a little different than most.
What is your major and why did you choose it? Right now I'm a management and consulting major. I think my personality might be more suited for a management position. I'm more personal, I like to talk, I can interact with others well, and I understand relationships well.
Besides baseball, what other activities do you participate in on campus? I don't really do anything else. Baseball is kind of my life here. I live in Keough, and so I try to make it out to section barbeques and section dinners. You'd be surprised; I spend so much time on baseball that I don't really get out too much.
What is the best thing about Notre Dame? I think it has to be my teammates. My teammates are the people I hangout with all the time, and I can't imagine it being any different. The relationships that I've formed over the years are what really make the place.
Where are you from and what do you miss most about it? I'm from Tampa, Fla., and I miss the warm weather. I miss those 85- and 90-degree days on the beach.
What is your favorite place on campus and why? Besides the field and the locker-room, I'd have to say Reckers. It's open 24 hours, I love the pizza, I love the food, and you can always go there to have a good time with friends.
What do you and your friends do for fun? Having fun for us is just hanging out, sitting on the couch, watching TV or talking. We tell a lot of jokes and stories.
What is something unique about you? I'm not totally sure, but I can blow bubbles with my tongue. People are freaked out by it sometimes.
What is your favorite story to tell? A funny one is from earlier in the year when Frank DeSico flipped out on everyone the one day. He had a little roid-rage, but we got him to settle down and we're all still friends.
What is the biggest lesson you've learned since being at Notre Dame? I've learned that it is about more than me here. In high school you were the best guy on the team who never had a bad day, but now here at Notre Dame it's more about the team and your teammates. It's not really about personal goals, it's more about team goals.
What are some things you want to do your next few years at Notre Dame?
I want to attend a pep rally. I've never been able to go to one, but I heard they're good.