DeMello teacher heading to the major leagues in Florida

Feb 4, 2019

DeMello Elementary School teacher Josh Rodrigues is taking his love of baseball - and data - to the major leagues.

After three years as the school’s technology instructor, Rodrigues is saying goodbye to his students and heading to Florida for his new gig: Replay Administrator for the Tampa Bay Rays.

In his new role, Rodrigues will be behind the dugout at home and away Rays games monitoring an array of television screens to look out for rules violations or close calls, like a possible out that is too close to call.

“I’ll see if there are any plays that could be challenged, or any rulings that were wrong,” Rodrigues said. “It can have a pretty direct impact on the field.”

He was also brought on board owing to his reputation for data analytics. As technology and mathematics increasingly became relevant in baseball, Rodrigues built a reputation on social media in data analysis.

He became an expert in Statcast, an advanced metrics system used in MLB stadiums to track everything from from the spin rate of pitched baseballs to speeds and step times made by baserunners.

“Social media became my baseball resume,” Rodrigues said, noting his reputation online is what helped him meet the right people to launch his career. 

With the Rays, Rodrigues will also serve as a conduit between the team’s data analytics and field units. 

The new position has been a long time coming for the lifelong baseball fan. In his Potter Elementary School yearbook, he wrote “All I can think about is baseball.” It’s something that is still true today. 

The Dartmouth High grad began coaching at the Dartmouth Youth Activities Association, but kept moving up from there. He coached high school baseball at Sandwich and Old Colony, and at the college level in the Cape Cod League.

His teaching career began as he moved forward in coaching, but he soon discovered something more about the job.

“I got into teaching because I wanted to get into coaching, but I ended up falling in love with [teaching],” Rodrigues said.

His last day on the job at DeMello was Feb. 4, and to celebrate his students created a video highlighting just how much of an impact Rodrigues had on their lives.

The at times tearful farewell was held during the school’s routine PBIS rally, which promote good behavior and positive role models around the school. DeMello Principal Catherine Pavao  felt it was important to also highlight Rodrigues as a staff role model.

He offered his students three tips to achieve their dreams: Always be positive, be grateful, and always follow your dreams.

“I’ll miss being able to see the kids every day,” Rodrigues said. “Seeing them, talking to them and knowing who they are.”