Moving away hasn’t kept Hazelhurst, Hyde from being a part of JUCO
You can take the boy out of baseball, but you can’t take baseball out of the boy.
Just ask veteran Alpine Bank Junior College World Series committee members Matt Hyde and Greg Hazelhurst.
As their jobs took them hundreds of miles away from the center of the JUCO action, both men, who have been committee members for a combined 38 years, have made sacrifices to make sure they were able to return during the week to witness the baseball action.
Hyde, who coordinates tournament play, moved out of Grand Junction and relocated to a small town in Idaho as a farm manager two years ago because of worsening economic conditions. Despite the distance, he knew he had to return for the annual tournament.
“I’m compelled (to return) because of the relationship I have with the committee members,” he said. “It’s the fraternity of baseball that draws me back, really. Even though I’m back this week, I feel like I haven’t been gone.”
Hyde told his boss that time off for return trips to the World Series was a necessary condition of his employment.
“Part of the agreement that I made with the employer that I’m working for there was that this is part of my job,” he said. “Whether it was part of my vacation or not, it’s part of what I need to do.”
It’s a sentiment Hazelhurst shares.
“I love doing it. I’m a worker guy. If I gave it to someone else, what else would I do?” he said.
Hazelhurst, who operates the scoreboard and supplies information to media outlets and teams, followed the oil and gas industry to North Dakota in February. He works there for about three weeks before returning to Grand Junction for a week. This year, Hazelhurst was out of town for a large chunk of tournament play.
“It’s a real challenge to do this stuff from out of town,” he said. He also heavily relies on other scorekeeping personnel to keep things running smoothly, he added.
Still, Hazelhurst doesn’t plan on shirking any of his responsibilities.
“It takes a certain type of person to do this,” he said. “It keeps me young. I live at the ballpark.”
With the fate of the tournament sealed for the next 25 years, Hyde and Hazelhurst plan on sticking around, too.
“As long as ya’ll have me, I’ll be coming back,” Hyde said.