WASHINGTON - It's a big weekend for Old Dominion University baseball players - both past and present.
Friday through Sunday, the 25th-ranked ODU baseball team hosts No. 15 Charlotte in one of just four matchups in the country this weekend featuring a pair of top 25 teams. Saturday, at the same time as the Monarchs try to pass first place Charlotte, it's a rite of passage for a former ODU baseball standout.
Daniel Hudson, the Princess Anne High School alumnus from Virginia Beach, played for the Monarchs from 2006-08. Saturday, the Washington Nationals pitcher will be honored with the first bobblehead giveaway of his 12-year Major League Baseball career.
"Usually the guys that have bobbleheads are the superstars of the team: the Juan Sotos, the Ryan Zimmermans - those type of guys," Hudson noted Wednesday during a Zoom interview with News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler. "For a reliever to get a bobblehead, it's kind of - what are we doing here?"
Hudson, in his third season with the Nationals, recorded the final out in the Nats' World Series championship in 2019. The bobblehead being given away depicts and celebrates the moment Hudson struck out Houston's Michael Brantley to win Washington's first World Series title.
The Daniel Hudson World Series bobblehead will be given away to every fan in attendance during Saturday's Nationals game vs. Miami and the team's May 5th game vs. Atlanta. Due to health and safety protocols as a result of COVID-19, the team can only host 25 percent of its capacity of 41,313 for each home game - which is why the bobblehead giveaway is being stretched out to two days.
It was originally slated to be handed out to fans during a game last season, but because no fans were allowed to attend Nationals home games due to COVID-19, Hudson had to wait just a bit longer for his first-career bobblehead giveaway.
During Winkler's chat with Hudson, he asked what his three daughters think of their Dad's bobblehead?
"They thought it was cool for about five minutes, and then, of course, they were just on to the next thing," Hudson said smiling. "They thought it was cool Dad's got an action figure type thing. He's a doll and all this stuff. But hen, five minutes later, they couldn't care less anymore."
Winkler touched base with Daniel's father Sam, who admitted he's yet to score a bobblehead of his own. However, he jokingly said he better come home from Saturday's game with "a box" of his son's bobblehead.
"I'm not sure how many there's going to be," Hudson revealed. "They're breaking it up into two different days, so I'm sure they have plenty. We'll see what we can do as far as fulfilling his requests."
Daniel's mother and father, Kris and Sam, will be making the trip from Virginia Beach to Nationals Park for Saturday's 1:05 p.m. game. As of Wednesday night, tickets were still available for Wednesday's bobblehead giveaway.