- Marty Dobrow, ESPNBoston.com
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Wednesday night's hockey-baseball extravaganza was especially satisfying for Matt Gedman. The 22-year-old Gedman clicked back and forth between the Bruins and the Sox. He reveled in both triumphs: the B's wipeout of Vancouver that knotted the Stanley Cup finals at two games apiece, and the Sox's latest blitzing of the Yankees, vaulting Boston past the Bronx Bombers into first place.
That daily double was a satisfying way to celebrate some good news from earlier in the day. Stepping off a ball field in Yarmouth, Gedman saw his cell phone lit with messages and texts, congratulating him on being selected by the Boston Red Sox on the final day of the Major League Baseball draft.
An infielder who led both the University of Massachusetts and the Atlantic 10 Conference in batting at .402 this spring, Gedman was selected in the 45th round by the Sox.
"A door has been opened," Gedman said. "It's up to me to take advantage of it."
The Gedmans have some familiarity with both rink and diamond. Matt was a goalie for UMass for two years. His kid sister, Marissa, is a standout at Harvard, named to the ECAC Hockey All-Rookie team this past season. So Matt had one eye on the Bruins last night: "It's hard not to get caught up in it."
But the Gedmans have even more chops when it comes to the bat and ball and glove. Sherry, the mom, was a star softball player at the University of Connecticut. Matt's brother, Michael, a teammate at UMass, is now playing professional baseball in the Can-Am League for the Worcester Tornadoes.
And, of course, the dad knows a thing or two about the game. Rich Gedman, who grew up in Worcester, became a two-time All-Star for the Red Sox in the mid-1980s. This year, after a two-decade hiatus, he has rejoined the organization as the hitting coach for the Lowell Spinners, the short-season Class-A team that begins its season next week.
Matt Gedman spoke with all family members yesterday, including his dad, who is in Florida until the weekend. "He was excited about it," Matt said, "but he's a pretty quiet guy who kind of goes about his business."
The younger Gedman was told by Red Sox area scout Ray Fagnant that he will be assigned to one of two teams later in the week. One would be the Gulf Coast Red Sox in Fort Myers. The other would be the Spinners, where the instruction would be familiar.
"I just want to get an opportunity to play," Matt said, "but if I got to play in Lowell, I'd love it. He's been my hitting coach my whole life."
As a 45th-rounder, the odds are significantly against Matt Gedman making it to the big leagues. Since the draft was capped at 50 rounds in 1998, only a tiny percentage of people picked that late have made it. From 1998 to 2005, there were 2,102 players selected between the 41st and 50th rounds of the draft. Only 26 ever got to the big leagues, scarcely more than 1 percent.
Still, one of those players was Scott Atchison, a 49th-rounder in 1998, who now pitches for the Red Sox. Even some players overlooked entirely in the draft occasionally break through. There was, for instance, that guy named Gedman, who wound up playing 13 years in the bigs, (parts of 11 of them with Boston).
"When I'm done with it all, I don't want to have any regrets about how I went about my business every day," Matt Gedman said. "Don't look back and say, 'I wish I did this. I wish I did that.' No matter what happens in the future, as long as I know that I did what I had to do, I'll be satisfied."
Marty Dobrow is a contributor to ESPNBoston.com and the author of "Knocking on Heaven's Door: Six Minor Leaguers in Search of the Baseball Dream" (University of Massachusetts Press, 2010).
Matt Gedman, who the Red Sox picked in the 45th round, is excited for the chance.