Walking through the clubhouse at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Alex Richardson looks right at home.
However, the former Bishop Feehan High School Shamrock, a four-year member of the Assumption College baseball team with 138 career games to his credit, has not been promoted from Double-A Portland to the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Instead, Richardson is learning what life is like outside the lines of the ballpark, serving the summer season as an intern with Boston’s Triple-A affiliate in the International League.
“There’s so, so much that goes on — even before the first pitch is thrown — that a ballclub has to deal with,” Richardson said.
Among the tasks are arranging for the national anthem singers and appearances by American military members for salutes, and summoning players to come out of the dugout to catch the ceremonial first pitches. He also helped orchestrate the Roger Clemens Hall of Fame induction.
Richardson also assists with the PawSox social media services throughout the day and during the game.
“It’s been eye-opening,” said the Rehoboth resident, who for the past 16 to 17 years has only had to worry about his bat and glove, his game shoes and uniform, and getting on base.
When the PawSox are in town for a homestand and players make community service appearances, Richardson is there to set up the “meet and greet” occasions — right down to adjusting the heads for the PawSox mascots.
Recently, he and members of the PawSox ventured to Camp Hope in North Scituate, R.I. to chat it up with disadvantaged and handicapped youth.
“We were able to spend the day with kids who had cancer or are recovering,” he said. “It was very special.”
Richardson works in unison with PawSox special events coordinator Joe Bradley.
“I help him out, especially when there are two events going on at once,” Richardson said. “It’s helping him out with whatever he needs, and believe me there are a lot of needs every day before, during and after a game.
“We want fans to have a fun experience. Being able to go to games and watch as a fan, you don’t see or recognize how much hard work gets done every single day so that PawSox fans have the best experience.”
That hard work extends from the ticket takers and ushers, to the security personnel, to the concession stand workers, and to the people who clean the bathrooms.
“To have everything up and running, it’s an everyday process,” Richardson said.
One thing the former Shamrock has learned on the job is that “little things go a long way,” whether it’s “a simple conversation, a simple hello or a player signing an autograph or taking a picture.”
“It brings joy to the kids, to families,” Richardson said. “A lot of these things have nothing to do with baseball, but it’s that interaction, that communication, that one-on-one meeting, simple gestures go a long way.
“I’ve learned how much of an impact that these players can have on someone. Not just on the field, but more importantly off the field. They’re creating memories for these kids, for these families.”
Richardson has been impressed by how many of the PawSox players offer their time off the field for community service.
“These guys step up to the plate,” he said.
Richardson, a lifetime baseball devotee, learned a lot about allegiance and devotion from his dad, Adolph “Dolfi” Richardson, who played pro baseball in the Caribbean League representing his native Aruba.
“Baseball has always been my first love, since I was a little kid,” Richardson said. “Especially with my dad playing pro ball in the Caribbean islands, it grew in my blood.”
Richardson’s dad was a pitcher and infielder. One season, though, a team’s two catchers got hurt and he was recruited to crouch behind the plate. As the story goes, he was named an All Star and started, catching his brother (Jeff), the starting pitcher.
“He always threw batting practice for me as a kid and even when I’d come home from college during the summer, we’d go out and he’d pitch and I’d get my swings in,” Richardson said.
At Feehan, Richardson was a four-year starter on the baseball field, playing his first three seasons for coach Mark Cook then for current Shamrock coach Erik Everton as a senior.
Richardson was also a member of the Curt Smith-coached Bishop Feehan High football team, which during his sophomore year won an MIAA Super Bowl championship, beating Lynnfield at Gillette Stadium.
“I went to PawSox games when I was a kid and I saw (Aruba native) Xander Boegarts’ last game at the AAA level before he got called up,” Richardson said. “Even better, my dad told him that we were from Aruba, got in contact with him and we were trading Aruba baseball stories and he gave me one of his broken bats — I still have it!”
Richardson amassed 84 hits, 41 walks and 37 RBI during his collegiate career as an Assumption Greyhound in Worcester.
He had his best year as a senior, hitting .277 with a .366 OBP and a .326 slugging rate as Assumption (26-20) qualified for the NCAA Division II Eastern Regional Tournament.
Richardson produced 11 multi-hit games this spring for Assumption, having a six-game hitting streak in one stretch. And in the outfield, in any of the three positions he played, he committed just five career errors through 296 chances, while also achieving 13 assists.
Richardson studied sociology, criminology, and human services and rehabilitation while at Assumption, and figured an internship with the PawSox might lead him to a baseball career path in that his playing days were over.
“I had done internships in those fields and this with baseball, with the PawSox, has been life-changing in terms of the career path I want to go down,” he said. “It’s an incredible experience to be able to show up at the ballpark every day and help fans enjoy their time.
Sometimes, Richardson will stroll through the clubhouse, looking for volunteers, and says “all of the players are very willing to help.”
“I personally enjoy this, I want to stick in the game of baseball because it has given me so much,” he said. ““I’m a baseball lover. I want people to enjoy the game as much as I do.”