MONTREAL — One of the best moments of the 2022 MLB All-Star Game came earlier this week courtesy of a Canadiens fan.
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Chicago White Sox assistant pitcher Liam Hendriks, and a devoted Habs fan for more than half a decade, went viral when he begged Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodríguez to throw him a baseball after coming late in the eighth inning. forced a stray ball into midfield .
Rodriguez pretended to throw the ball into the stands at Dodger Stadium, but eventually agreed to the 33-year-old Australian pitcher’s request and handed the ball back to him.
Hendriks was an avid collector of memorabilia and wanted to add this item to his collection.
We had already detailed the real passion of the right-hander for the CH in the article – Hendriks: “I have adopted the Habs lifestyle” — including recounting his once-in-a-lifetime trip to the 2016 NHL Winter Classic against the Bruins at Gillette Stadium.
His wife, Kristi, is primarily responsible for introducing him to the sport and the team.
Born in Ohio, she also “spent a little time in Quebec growing up” and became a partisan. Therefore, she suggested that Montreal should also become his favorite club.
“It is the worst decision she has ever made, because now it has become a problem. All I do is watch as many games as possible,” Hendriks said with a laugh, shortly after returning from the Midsummer Classic in Los Angeles. focused all the time. »
And he really is.
Shortly before the White Sox face the Detroit Tigers in the Windy City on July 7, Hendriks insisted on watching the first round of the NHL Draft to see who General Manager Kent Hughes would reveal who would be the first pick.
“I had put the Draft on TV in the locker room. I made sure to put it on,” said the player who has competed in the all-star game three times. “Slafkovsky is going to be great. He’s a great striker, that’s what we need. I’m looking forward to next season. We’ll start from scratch. Let’s move on to something else. The team will have a full training camp and a full pre-season with Martin St-Louis and his strategies and the ways he wants to attack the puck, so it must be fun.”
Hendriks’ team-mates are well aware of his allegiance to the Canadiens, especially after the remarkable performance in the Stanley Cup play-offs last summer.
He wore the colors whenever he had the chance.
“I wore Canadiens clothes all the time and I had the jerseys from… Carey Price and from Brendan Gallagher in my locker”, Hendriks recalls. “I had everything I needed. »
The Perth native recognizes a special numerical bond with the experienced goalkeeper and winger.
Like Price, Hendriks proudly wears the number 31. It pays tribute to the 31st Australian to play in Major League Baseball. And for Gallagher: “Wearing number 11 was my grandfather’s football number when he played in Australia. »
If only Hendriks could go to the Bell Center to finally see a match in real life…
After attending a game in Arizona last November, he hopes to make the trip soon.
“I’ve only been to Montreal once, and that was during the 2015 season when I played for the Blue Jays. We had our preseason run there against the Cincinnati Reds. It was a little before my obsession started,” he said. Hendriks. “I walked through the team shop a lot. But I couldn’t attend a game. But it’s definitely on the list.”
In the meantime, he will keep adding more and more Habs clothes to his closet.
“I have a lot of T-shirts and caps. I usually visit the Tricolore Sports website and pick up items from Lululemon when they release them,” Hendriks added. Chicago. »