On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by one of the Red Sox’ newest minor-league coaches in Chris Hess.
Among the topics Hess and I discussed were his college career at the University of Rhode Island, how he found out he got drafted in 2017, his professional career with the Yankees, what led him to join the Red Sox as a minor-league coach, what it will be like to work with Bianca Smith, and much more.
The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.
Thanks to Chris for taking some time out of his Thursday night to have a conversation with me. You can check out his 401 Elite Baseball Training program by clicking here.
Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!
Even before he was drafted by the Red Sox in the third round of the 2018 amateur draft, Durbin Feltman’s New England connections ran deep.
Despite being born and raised in the Houston area, the 23-year-old right-hander grew up a fan of the New England Patriots.
One might think that may be due to former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s rise to stardom in the early 2000s, but Feltman’s fandom actually goes back to the days leading up to Super Bowl 38 in Houston.
Then six years old, Feltman had the chance to attend some of the fan-centered events with his family the week of the big game.
“They came to play in Houston in the Super Bowl in ’04 against the [Carolina] Panthers, so we went downtown to all the fan events,” Feltman explained to BloggingtheRedSox.com last week. “I’m like six at the time and at that age, you have no idea what’s going on in football. So, I was like ‘Ooh, I like this team’ and ever since then I was like ‘All right, well, they won the Super Bowl then.’ I picked them the week before the Super Bowl, and then I was just hooked ever since.”
Still, even though Brady may not have been Feltman’s sole reason for becoming a Patriots fan, the six-time Super Bowl champion certainly helped seal the deal.
“Once I actually got to know what was going on, Brady just solidified it,” the righty said. “Just watching how he works and just being a winner and doing whatever it takes to win. Probably the hardest worker out there [yet] he’s not the most talented guy. He’s got some gifts, obviously, but I try to take that same mindset of: I’m not 6’6”, I’m not super physically gifted, so it’s just ‘Hey you got to work. You got to work.’
“And he goes day in and day out, just does everything he can,” added Feltman. “Does his job, puts his head down, and goes to work. He solidified it, but he wasn’t the only reason — he wasn’t the main reason I picked them.”
Because Brady was not the main reason Feltman chose to support the Patriots way back when, he still closely follows the team today despite their struggles. The flame-throwing hurler gave his prognosis on what’s gone wrong in New England in 2020.
“It’s been a tough year,” he said. “We need some weapons, we really need some weapons. It’s been tough watching Brady. I’m still rooting for him down in Tampa, but man, it’s almost unnatural to watch the Patriots do what they’re doing. They were two plays away from being 8-4, three plays away from being 9-4, now they’re 6-8 after losing to Miami.
“We got to either find a new quarterback — I don’t feel like Cam [Newton] is too bad — but we need some new receivers, new tight ends,” Feltman continued. “We got a whole running back corps, just got to fix up the offense to do something. We haven’t scored a [passing] touchdown since [Jarrett] Stidham threw one three weeks ago, so it’s been tough.”
As a Patriots fan himself, Feltman had the opportunity to live with some native New England football fans when he played for the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod Baseball League in 2017.
“They were awesome,” Feltman said of his host family that summer. “They came up to Lowell and saw me play. I flew up there, we went to a Patriots game together, got to watch Tom Brady beat up on Aaron Rodgers on Sunday Night Football, which was awesome. They were awesome.”
Feltman, then in between his sophomore and junior seasons at Texas Christian University, posted a 1.69 ERA and 1.13 WHIP over five appearances and 5 1/3 innings pitched for Falmouth in 2017.
Per an official release, the league’s executive committee “voted unanimously to cancel the 2020 Cape Cod Baseball League season. The decision was based on the health concerns and safety needs of all involved. Following CDC guidelines and medical recommendations, the league determined it would be impossible to guarantee the safety of players, coaches, umpires, host families, volunteers and fans during this unprecedented health crisis.”
Made up of 10 teams scattered across the cape, the Cape League was founded in 1885 and has become one of the top summer collegiate baseball leagues in the country.
Notable Red Sox players and prospects who spent their college summers on the cape include Chris Sale, Mitch Moreland, Matt Barnes, Jackie Bradley Jr., Brian Johnson, Bobby Poyner, Brandon Workman, Bobby Dalbec, and Cameron Cannon to name a few.
“We would like to thank all our dedicated volunteers and sponsors for their support and look forward to playing again in 2021,” the aforementioned statement read. “Thank you for your continued support and stay safe and healthy.”
On a personal note, this news stinks. Going to a handful of Cape League games every summer was always something I looked forward to. Now, it looks like we’ll have to wait until 2021 for the CCBL to return.