Thursday, April 09, 2009

The "Unthinkable" Happens to Nick Adenhart

The saddest, most heart-breaking event we can ever witness, is the abrupt and accidental end of a life full of promise.

Nick Adenhart, 22, one of MLB's hotter prospects making his way up the rotation ladder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, died last night in a traffic accident. Wrong place, wrong time, car accident where another dirver is alleged to have run a red light and attempted to flee on foot.

He had pitched 6 innings of shutout baseball vs. the Oakland A's, showing the confidence others said he lacked, commanding hitters' respect and limiting them to 7 scattered hits. No runs, 5 k's. A 22 year old prospect showing tremendous poise and inching that much closer to cementing his place amongst the day-to-day starters for the Angels.

He was making the best of an opportunity.

Having "flown through the minors" according to former GM and Xm Radio host, Jim Duquette, Adenhart was growing, fighting through the many setbacks baseball offers up to its youth, and winning the battle. Last night was proof positive. A shame he didn't get the win, but the same batters he disabled through six innings surged vs his relievers and ultimately won the game.
He was labeled as a "great kid," a smart player with a great head for the game," and a "mature personality."

As a dad of a young pitcher, I feel the pain of this loss directly. I know the hours spent, the support and love offered in assisting a boy in navigating the world of baseball. I experience each day, the agony, nerves and sheer pleasure of seeing my son ply his trade in hopes of realizing his goals. As with all my kids, I want him to have a fair shot, I want him to be safe, I want the world to welcome him and share in his glories. I want people to say the things about my son Avery, that they said about Nick.

If all this ended suddenly, I know life would go on, but it would change forever.

Such is the situation in LA, amongst Nick's teammates, in Hagerstown for his mom and dad Janet and Jim, for his friends and for those of us who love this great game. We'll try to put it in perspective, but it doesn't make sense on many levels, and it never will. The sadness can be overwhelming.

If you have a kiddo in the game, hug him (or her) today and share your pride with others.

Appreciate the moments you do have together, and think of Nick Adenhart's family, friends, fans and teammates. They're in a world of hurt today because someone they helped succeed, who gave back in effort energy and spirit, is now gone. For what Ray Ratto today called "no good reason."

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