Hudler upbeat after dismissal from Halos
Former broadcaster not upset, looking forward to the future
Nothing fazes Rex Hudler. Handed his walking papers as an Angels broadcaster for FOX Sports West and KCOP on Tuesday along with longtime partner Steve Physioc, Hudler, the perpetual motion man, was characteristically upbeat and optimistic on Wednesday.
"Please tell the fans thank you for me," Hudler said over the phone. "Don't cry over your coffee for me. I'm a better person for having been a broadcaster for a great team and fan base for 11 years.
"Way too many positive things have happened in my 11 years with the Angels. There are no negatives. That was a tremendous run. I got to meet a lot of ballplayers, talk baseball, maybe teach people a little about the game I love. What's better than that?
"I came right off the best job in the world, playing professionally for 21 years, and had 11 years with the next-best job. From that perspective, wow! When they told me what they were doing, I think I probably surprised them with the way I took it. I thanked them."
Hudler said he has exchanged voice mails with Physioc, an Angels play-by-play voice for 14 seasons, and the two will remain close.
"We'll be talking," Hudler said. "Phys was a little socked. I wasn't. I've been through everything. As soon as it was out of their mouth, I was able to turn the page quick.
"Sure, there's a part of me that's a little sad, but I was with a winner for 10 of those 11 years. That was a home run."
Physioc alluded to the overwhelmingly positive show of support he'd received within the industry and among fans in the hours after his and Hudler's dismissals. But the critical words of encouragement came from inside his own home, from Stacey Physioc.
"My wife said, 'Hey, it's a new adventure. We've had 14 wonderful years here, it's time to move on to something else,'" Physioc said. "I'm blessed to have a wife like that, such a supportive family.
"It is a new adventure. I'm going to keep my eye on the open door, not the closed one. There are four things I've always done: be on time, be prepared, be enthusiastic and be easy to work with. I know there are people who say I'm a homer, I'm too enthusiastic. I just want to see everyone do well, no matter what I'm covering."
Physioc will stay busy the next three months, he said, with college football and college basketball while keeping his eyes on the job market.
"I'm going to be aggressive," he said. "I'm putting tapes together. I'm motivated to be enthusiastic. You have to keep your chin up and be positive."
Hudler published his memoir, "Splinters," before the 2009 season. It is available on his Web site, RexHudler.com. Dodgers manager Joe Torre provides the book's preface with his impressions of a unique athlete he managed in St. Louis.
At 17 years old in 1978, out of Bullard High School in Fresno, Hudler turned down a football scholarship to Notre Dame to launch his baseball career with the Yankees organization. He played for 18 different teams, including the 1993 champion Yakult Swallows in Japan.
"I added another chapter to the book," said Hudler, who has four children with his wife, Jennifer. "It can be seen as another splinter, but I don't look at it that way. I see it as another opportunity. I put my faith in God. He drives the ship. How can I go wrong? How can I lose?"
Hudler said he's open to anything, and that he has been encouraged by his agent, Arn Tellem, that "I'll have 11 more years as great as the last 11."
He'll continue with motivational speaking, immersing himself in the community with a wide range of charity work he has handled with the same passion he took to playing and talking baseball.
"One of the greatest things ever is this gave me a platform to reach out in the community, something I've loved doing," Hudler said.
Rory Markas and Terry Smith will continue as play-by-play men for the Angels, with Mark Gubicza and Jose Mota handling analysis.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.