Friedman wings west for baseball


Baseball has been a big part of Jack Friedman’s life for some time, going back as far as first grade. And now, after four very successful seasons at American Studies, where has the game taken him?

“I’m working as a baseball coach at a camp called Kids of Summer,” Friedman said. “I’m working with the littlest kids in the rookie ball division. It’s a little baseball, but it’s more about keeping them from hitting each other and picking their noses.”

Friedman was kidding, of course. He is doing a lot more than babysitting baseball’s future. He’s giving back to the game he loves.

“It’s been fun teaching them how to throw and hit and everything,” said Friedman, the Senators’ former catcher.

“I went to Kids of Summer for years for two or three weeks every summer from when I was 5 to 13. So it was definitely a place I wanted to come back and work for. The youngest kid I work with just had his fourth birthday this week, and the oldest is about 6 years old. It’s fun, but it takes a lot of patience.”

Once Friedman is done coaching his young charges this summer, baseball will take him somewhere completely different — to college.

“I’m going to Pitzer College out in Claremont, California,” Friedman said. “It’s a very small school right outside Los Angeles. I really liked the environment of the school and the liberal arts education, and it also had a lot of my interests, like political science. International relations is what I’m probably looking to major in.”

Going to Pitzer will also provide Friedman with an added bonus — seeing his former teammate and best friend, Ari Wigder, who’s attending nearby Occidental College.

“We’re going to be about 30 minutes away from each other,” said Friedman, who shared Senators team captain duties with Wigder. “We’ve already figured that out, and the baseball team at Pitzer and the baseball team at Occidental play in the same league. So we’re going to see each other on the field as well.”

Friedman, a Harlem resident, said it’s stunning how quickly his four years at American Studies came and went.

“It’s crazy to think four years flew by already,” Friedman said. “I had a great time, but high school does come with its ups and downs. There were nights when I hated it with all the studying I had to do and waking up at 5:30 a.m., so I could get to 7 a.m. practices. It was quite a commute for me.

“But looking back, I really enjoyed every moment, and I’d give anything to wake up early and have another practice with the guys. That’s definitely what I’ll miss the most.”

In a career full of big wins and clutch performances, Friedman said it was a game this past season that will always stand out as his finest memory on the diamond.

“Nothing encapsulated our team more than our second Evander game,” Friedman said. “We had a lot of high hopes for the season, and to lose the first game of the year to them was definitely a shock. But then we played them at home and we had a pretty decent crowd for that game, and we went out and jumped on them early and beat them 10-0. That was a huge game for us.”

So what is Friedman looking forward to the most once he hits the west coast in late August? Star sightings? Shopping on Rodeo Drive? Surfing?

“I’m looking forward to meeting all kinds of different people,” he said. “I’ve already been talking to the guys on the baseball team out there, and they’re from Washington (state) and Chicago, but most of them are from California. So they’re the kinds of guys I have never really had an opportunity to talk to before. So I think it’s going to be something new and exciting for me.”

Friedman says he’ll also bring along his side hobby for his trip out west.

“I’m pretty into photography,” he said. “I love taking pictures in the city. I go around the city a lot, and if I can get a friend to go out with me, I have them pose for me and stuff like that.”

And now Los Angeles will present Friedman with a whole new city to explore with his lens.

“That’s something that I’m really looking forward to,” Friedman said. “Pitzer is kind of an outdoors-y school surrounded by mountains, which is just one of the reasons I’m looking forward to being out there.”