Daniel Hudson unexpectedly finds himself a national topic of conversation

Todd Dybas

Daniel Hudson tried to conduct his personal business as adroitly and privately as possible. He knew his third daughter, Millie, was arriving soon and the Nationals' sudden playoff run posed a scheduling conflict. He also knew he wasn't going to miss the birth of his child for a baseball game.

Simplicity can still find trouble. Social media -- the feral home to belching, polluted minds willing to dispatch nonsense with a few taps and a grin -- wriggled its way into Hudson's life despite his lack of usage. He canned the apps a few years ago to, in his Saturday pregame words, "try to focus myself on more positive stuff in my life."

Yet, criticism found its way back to the Hudsons. The negative always tends to ooze like an unwanted pollutant, tainting a lot of the positive feedback Hudson was thankful for, and Hudson's situation became no different despite his multiple attempts to manage it with clear-headed decisions.

Dissolving his social media presence was his first way to combat the feedback -- a term loosely used here -- from the environment. Knowing Millie was en route, and the team had an off-day Thursday no matter what, he and his wife tried to manage the real-life situation accordingly. 

"Her due date was originally the 14th," Hudson told reporters Saturday in St. Louis. "Once we kind of had an idea of a playoff schedule, if we got past the wild-card round who we were going to play, obviously Game 5 if we got to it in Los Angeles it was a little more convenient for me to get home. So we tried to schedule an induction for the 10th, which was [Thursday]. Just kind of made sense to go in between. If we were able to advance, obviously the 14th and my first two kids came a little bit later than their due date, so if you push it back a couple days you're looking at maybe Game 6, Game 7 of a championship series. I figure Game 1 is a little bit better to miss than an elimination game.

"So that's the way we tried to plan it. Obviously things changed. Thursday morning we were trying to see if we could get in early for the induction and the way it works, people that are doing natural birth come first, so we couldn't get a bed until [Friday] afternoon, [Friday] evening. So that's kind of the timeline and that's how it went. It's just the way -- you try to plan something and everything goes crazy, so."

Meanwhile, Hudson's decision became part of national discourse, even if just a slice. Should he miss a postseason game to attend the birth of his third daughter? Should this even be a question? Who gets to decide?

In Davey Martinez's view, the answers to those questions were easy. Of course he should put his family first. No, it's not a question. Hudson gets to decide. 

"I mean, I get it, I understand," Martinez told reporters Friday. "The timing didn't work out like we thought, baby wasn't ready to come out. So we get him back when we get him back."

 

Often in these instances, the mother's understanding is mentioned. What seems to be an uncommon discussion feels more ordinary to those married into the sport. Hudson said his wife  -- a "rock star" in his verbiage -- understood the parameters and focus to try to manage the overall situation as well as possible. Millie was well in the mix when Hudson arrived in Washington after a July 31 trade. He even mentioned October back then when talking about what was to come. He could not have predicted the fervor which eventually enveloped the situation. 

"I'm not on social media anymore," Hudson said. "I got rid of it a couple years ago. It's just something, a decision I made to try to focus myself one more positive stuff in my life. Obviously it's great tool. We were made aware of a lot of stuff that was going on, obviously, watching the game it was hard to ignore. I mean, I went, I was just telling somebody, I went from not having a job on March 21st to this huge national conversation on family values going into the playoffs, like, hey, 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. And like I said, the support I got from this organization, and most people, obviously, we were made aware of a lot of negative comments, but everybody's got their opinions and everybody's got their own priorities. And this organization was a hundred percent on board with what my priorities are and I'm really appreciative of that."

His priorities? 

"I have two older girls as well, so this is my third girl," Hudson said. "My oldest is 5, my middle one is 3. So needless to say my oldest was pretty excited to meet her new baby sister [Friday]. So to be able to have that experience with my family and be there for the whole thing was everything I could have imagined. Obviously, it is my third kid. And top-3 things in my life, 1A, 1B and 1C, was being there for the birth of all three of my daughters."

Seems simple enough.

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Daniel Hudson unexpectedly finds himself a national topic of conversation originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington