Oakland, CA – Tim Hudson said it best, “There’s no better story book ending.” In what could be the final game of their career, both Hudson and Barry Zito discussed their journey together as an Athletic and San Francisco Giants player. The two friends and former teammates will face each other tomorrow in the final series at the same ballpark where their careers began.
“It’s kind of funny, we both started within a year of each other, ’99-200o in the big leagues, and we’re both kind at the tail end here and it’s happening at the same time against each other, and in the Bay,” said Zito. “All those things – it’s crazy how they line up, you know?”
The stars were certainly aligned for Zito after accepting an assignment with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. He started off competing for a spot on the roster in Spring Training but was humbled to play the game he loved while embracing a lifestyle that is opposite of what the big leagues offer. Zito never gave up hope, playing though the entire minor league season, he got called up just in time to start in the final A’s homestand.
“Happy for Barry, it’s a great story,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s about playing a game because you love it and have a passion for it. He needed to go down to Triple-A and travel through those rough trips. He loves baseball and wanted one last shot and proved he could do it back in the big leagues, good for him.”
Hudson who announced he will retire at the end of the season had the best of both worlds. He was apart of the A’s “Big Three”, was a four-time MLB All-Star and won a 2014 World Series last year. It’s a perfect ending to a phenomenal career. Hudson spent eight season with the Atlanta Braves after leaving Oakland and signed with San Francisco in time for a remarkable journey.
“I hope the reception is good for both of us,” Hudson said. “Some of my best memories in baseball are here in Oakland, and obviously Barry pitched for both teams. For me, I feel like it’s like a celebration for both of our careers and we played for both teams. Something that’s very cool, very unique – something that just don’t happen.”
Tomorrow will be the day the two pitchers will face off on the mound. Despite both teams likely to be eliminated from the playoffs. The A’s don’t have any pressure, they have the worst record in the American League. The Giants who won three World Series in the last five years, seem to only win in the even years. They’re on the bubble for elimination.
“We wish we were in a better position talking about something else,” Bochy said. “But tomorrow will be a special day. I’m sure it will bring back a lot of memories for the Bay Area fans. And I think we get the better end of the deal, we don’t know how long Zito will be out there.”