Chit-chat with Crash

BOB ELLIOTT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

Matt Stairs isn't the only Fredericton boyo living in the bright lights of the big city.

Paul Hodgson, also from Fredericton, N.B., played 20 games with the 1980 Blue Jays and has been running with the Hollywood and Nashville sets.

A few weeks back, Hodgson and his better half, Lisa, out for a walk in Yorkville, dropped into the Four Seasons. There were Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill doing a 90-minuite jam session.

Hodgson played against McGraw's father, Tim McGraw -- the former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies reliever -- in spring training.

Yet that wasn't his first brush with greatness. During last season's Toronto Film Festival, Hodgson headed to the washroom of the Ultra night club on Queen St.

The washroom was crowded but, at the sink, Hodgson found himself looking at Kevin Costner in the mirror. Costner was in town promoting that coastguard movie The Guardian, with Ashton Kutcher.

"I said: 'Nice job on those baseball movies. What did you think of Yankee Sta- dium?' " Hodgson recounted. "We talked from there, about the stadium, the monuments, Fenway Park, the scoreboard inside the Green Monster, Tiger Stadium and his movie For the Love of the Game.

"He asked me if I'd played and I told him about playing for the Jays in Boston and how the guys inside the scoreboard talked to me for the whole series I played in front of it."

Costner also played washed-up minor-league catcher Crash Davis in Bull Durham and later starred in Field of Dreams and Chasing Dreams, all baseball movies.

"He's a real ball fan," Hodgson said. "It was a nice conversation. I came away thinking that there wasn't anything I wish I'd said that I didn't say in such a short opportunity."

Hodgson hit one home run -- off Baltimore Orioles' Dennis Martinez -- which puts him 236 behind Stairs.

"I'm Don Cherry, Matty is Dougie Gilmour," Hodgson said jokingly.

The New Brunswick Hall of Fame in Fredericton has a giant baseball display, which includes pictures of Hodgson and Stairs. Hodgson's home run ball off Martinez, the ball from his first hit off Doc Medich of the Texas Rangers, and a Louisville Model M-159 bat he used are also on display.

No. 8 with a bullet

First baseman David Van Ostrand of Richmond, B.C., was rated the eighth best prospect in the California college summer league by Baseball America.

He will follow his brother, Jimmy, who was drafted and signed by the Houston Astros, by attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo University.

The 6-foot-7 Van Ostrand hit .430 at Alan Hancock Junior College last spring.

Coaching hire

Hamilton's Tanner Hill has taken over as the head coach of the Salem International University Tigers, an NCAA Division II program.


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