WORCESTER — Brandon Smith and Jack Simonetty have been joined at the hip for the past seven months.
Since meeting for the first time on Feb. 20, the two recent college grads have spent nearly every single second of the Worcester Red Sox season together as minor league affiliate video and technology associates for the Boston Red Sox.
Sharing their first year in professional baseball — side by side — is an experience Smith and Simonetty won’t soon forget.
“Despite being together quite literally 24/7 for the last (seven) months, we’re still able to show up every day, have fun at the park, do our jobs to the best of our ability and still push each other,” Simonetty, 24, said.
“Being able to have someone that you can relate to and just talk about anything with, that’s been great,” Smith, 22, said. “Going into this, you’re getting paired blindly with a stranger. I had no idea. I don’t think it could’ve been a better fit.”
A hit both on and off the diamond
After being hired by the Red Sox late last year, Smith and Simonetty met in person for the first time at LaGuardia Airport in Queens, New York, before heading on a plane to Fort Myers, Florida, for Spring Training.
From there, a friendship budded between the two New Yorkers.
“We’ve kind of hit it off ever since,” Smith said.
In Florida, the pair of associates learned everything they needed to know about their new job. They collected video of bullpen sessions and batting practices, and everything else in between, before sharing that information and technology with the Red Sox player development department.
And that’s been their role with the organization for the past 200-plus days.
“We’re the liaison of data collection here,” Smith said. “That’s a big part of our job.”
“(We do) all that kind of stuff so that coaches and players can work together to get these guys to the big leagues,” Simonetty said.
A dream come true this summer
Each gameday (when the first pitch is at 6:45 p.m.), Smith and Simonetty show up in the WooSox clubhouse around 10 a.m. They upload videos from the night before, prepare game reports and queue up videos for players and coaches to access on their iPads.
At roughly 1 p.m., the duo presents reports to catchers, position players and pitchers before setting up cameras around the ballpark and transitioning to the press box, where they collect video data that tracks the efficiency of each player during a game.
Following the final out, the two associates cut up videotape and ensure all technology is in order before wrapping up their day around midnight. As if the 12-hour workday wasn’t enough facetime for the pair of video interns, Smith and Simonetty then walk back to their apartment in Worcester where they are roommates.
They’ve basically become each other’s shadow.
“Over the course of the last eight or nine months, I think I’ve spent more time with Brandon Smith than I’ve spent with anyone else over a similar length of time,” Simonetty said.
Said WooSox catcher Caleb Hamilton: “I’m surprised they’re not sick of each other yet.”
“I feel like Jack and I have basically become brothers,” Smith added.
From road trips to Rochester to walks to Polar Park, Smith and Simonetty are in lock step. All while helping Triple-A players navigate their hopeful journeys to the majors.
“Certainly a dream come true and no better organization to work for than the Boston Red Sox,” Smith said. “So it’s been great.”
“The coolest part for me is being around the coaching staff all day,” Simonetty said. “You’re dealing with a staff of guys who are baseball lifers. For Brandon and I — this is our first year working for a pro organization working in the clubhouse and we learned so much throughout the year working with all these guys.”
So what do WooSox coaches, players and personnel think about the job the two video associates have done this season?
“They’re both personal and hard workers,” Red Sox director of player development Brian Abraham said. “Being able to interact with those players in a high-pressure environment on a daily basis is something they handle very well.”
Said WooSox manager Chad Tracy: “They just bust their butt.”
“They’re good dudes,” WooSox assistant strength coach Jordan Fiske said. “They’re tech guys, so obviously they get called ‘Nerds.’ They’ve been awesome; two very smart dudes and they’ve learned as the season has gone along and matured a lot and they’ve done a great job this year.”
It’s been quite the year with the Worcester Red Sox for Jack Simonetty and Brandon Smith. The video and technology associates hope the relationships they’ve built with others — and one another — will help spur a career in baseball moving forward.
“Just very grateful that Jack and I have crossed paths,” Smith said. “I’m happy that for our first full year of professional baseball that we were able to be together.”
“It’s been a great learning experience for me and I hope him as well,” Simonetty said. “I know that we’ll continue to be friends in the future no matter where we end up and hopefully it’s still with the Red Sox.”
— Contact Tommy Cassell at email@example.com. Follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, @tommycassell44.
This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: WooSox video associates grow strong bond over course of the season
Source: Yahoo Sports