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Hudler teams up with Angels, MLB on All-Star fields

July 12, 2010 |  7:30 pm

Rex Hudler was all smiles  Monday. No surprise there.

But the perpetually sunny Hudler was beaming even brighter than usual, as the Angels and Major League Baseball officially presented two youth fields to the city of Anaheim as part of the All-Star festivities.

The Angels dropped Hudler from their broadcast team last fall, but he had no hesitation about taking part in Monday's ceremony. He does not hold grudges. And, more importantly, this was for the kids, and for his kid.

Hudler's son, Cade, 12, has Down's syndrome. Since his birth, the Hudler family has pushed for the construction of a field that would enable special-needs children to play ball, with a synthetic surface rather than dirt so a kid in a wheelchair could get

  around the bases without getting stuck or tipping over.

The Hudler foundation -- "Team Up for Down Syndrome" -- could not deliver by itself. But, with the Angels, MLB and the league's business partners also contributing so that the All-Star game would leave a community legacy, Anaheim finally got its special field.

"Hallelujah," Hudler said. "We were one of the last big cities in America without one. The stars lined up -- the All-Stars."

Cade Hudler helped cut the ribbon to open the two fields at Anaheim's Pioneer Park, one a traditional dirt field and the other featuring a synthetic surface. Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle, Angels owner Arte Moreno and baseball Commissioner Bud Selig headlined the ceremony, with the scores of youth players on hand antsy for the distinguished speakers to wrap up so the games could start.

"The smiles on everyone's faces are why I feel so privileged to be here," Selig said.

-- Bill Shaikin