Thursday, April 9, 2009
He Plays For A Different Team of Angels Now..
He had just pitched the game of his young MLB career. Six scoreless innings, allowing only seven hits against a tough Oakland Athletics squad. Even though his bullpen let that lead slip away and cost him the win, it was still the most promising start of this budding young baseball superstar that no one had heard about. That night would be the last game he would ever pitch
He was drafted in the 14th-round of the MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels a couple of years ago out of a Baltimore high school, slipping that far because of arm problems. Some even viewed him as the top pitching prospect in the nation. But the Angels took a chance on this kid with a golden arm. He spent two seasons in the minors and made his first MLB start on May 1, 2008. He went on to make four more starts that year, picking up his first MLB win along the way.
To the Angels organization, they knew him as "Nicky" and to the rest of the world he went by Nick Adenhart. On Wednesday night/early Thursday morning Adenhart was one of four passengers in a Mitsubishi Eclipse that was sideswiped by a minivan running a red light, the driver, Andrew Gallo, a 22-year-old who has a prior DUI conviction and a suspended license. Early reports indicate that after he was apprehended (he fled the scene on foot), that his blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit.
Two of the passengers were killed instantly and Adenhart died later in surgery. The fourth remains in critical condition and in intensive care.
He was only 22 years old.
Shockwaves rippled around the country on Thursday after the death was made official by the Angels. The Angels postponed their game that night against the Athletics and players were there to console one another. Fans who watched the game that night before saw Adenhart pitch out of his mind for six innings, in line for his second MLB win, his promising future coming to fruition before their very eyes. The player that was ranked as the top prospect in their organization was finally making an impact, far from the high school player they drafted in 2004.
Fans from all over California drove to the stadium and began memorials against the fences, leaving hats and posters and flowers. The pain of the loss being felt throughout the Angels organization.
Perhaps the most painful part was that Adenhart was an only child and since he was making his first start of the season hours before his death, his dad was in the stands watching his every pitch in the last game he will ever see his son play. Jim, his father, had flown out from Maryland to watch his son live his dream, little knowing that within hours, he would be back. When he returned, he stood next to his son's empty locker, filled with memories and heartache. He was handed the jersey Nick had wore the night before. The flags were lowered to half-staff at the stadium and there stood Jim Adenhart on the pitcher's mound in a red Angels pullover, saying goodbye to his son in the best way he knew how.
This is just a reminder that those people in that car could have been any one of us and that life could end at any moment, you just never know when. Show love to those who are special to you and live life for today. Nick Adenhart did just that, playing baseball and making friends.
Now he plays for a different team of Angels...RIP Nick Adenhart