ST. LOUIS — Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez suggested a name for Daniel Hudson’s new daughter — “Anibala Sean Hudson,” a nod to how Anibal Sanchez and Sean Doolittle combined to shut out the St. Louis Cardinals while Hudson was away for Game 1 of the National League Championship Series.
Hudson and his wife, Sara, ultimately went with Millie.
Sara gave birth to the couple’s third daughter in Scottsdale, Arizona, early Friday morning. Later that night, Hudson watched his Nationals beat the Cardinals 2-0 from a hospital room. Hudson, who emerged as the team’s closer late in the season, tuned in late and didn’t immediately realize Sanchez was carrying a no-hitter that ultimately lasted into the eighth inning.
Hudson deleted his social media accounts a couple of years ago with hopes that it would help foster a positive mindset. But he was made aware of some of the backlash on Twitter, with several people criticizing Hudson for missing an important game to witness the birth of a child.
“I went from not having a job on March 21 to this huge national conversation on family values going into the playoffs,” Hudson said. “Life comes at you fast, man. I don’t know how that happened and how I became the face for whatever conversation was going on. Everybody’s got their opinions, man, and I really value my family and my family time.”
Sara’s original due date was Oct. 14. The couple’s other two children — 5-year-old Baylor and 2-year-old Parker — were born later than expected, and Hudson was worried that if that happened again, Millie wouldn’t arrive until late in the NLCS. They scheduled an induction for Oct. 10 because doing so between the National League Division Series and the NLCS made the most sense. But Sara was induced later than expected.
“You try to plan something,” Hudson said, “and everything goes crazy.”
Hudson said he received full support from the Nationals throughout the process. The 32-year-old right-hander was activated off the paternity list prior to Saturday’s Game 2 and came out of the bullpen to draw the final two outs and earn the save in a 3-1 win. Hudson hadn’t pitched in three days, but wasn’t necessarily be fresh. He had a 7:10 a.m. PT flight from Los Angeles to Phoenix on Thursday, then a 6:05 a.m. flight to St. Louis on Saturday. Hudson arrived at 11 a.m., less than two hours before he talked about all of it in Busch Stadium’s interview room.
“Mentally, I’m there,” Hudson said prior to his contributions to the game. “Physically, I’m a little tired.”
Hudson reported the family and the baby are doing well and added that he would try to treat Saturday as routinely as possible while acknowledging it might be difficult.
Not going through this process was never an option for him.
“I knew I was going to go no matter what,” Hudson said. “I didn’t know that this was a new thing, to have a playoff paternity leave list. I had no idea. I was like, ‘I can’t be the only person to have a baby in the middle of the postseason.’ And for it to blow up like it did, man, it’s kind of crazy. But I didn’t really give much thought about not going. My family is top priority for me.”