Monday, April 9, 2012



By Brian Waller - AngelsWin.com Columnist

To be quite honest I wasn’t planning on writing anything other than the game recap for the Angels/Twins game but then it occurred to me what day today was, it was April 9th. On this day three years ago, after pitching the game of his major league career the previous night, Nick Adenhart, along with Henry Pearson, Courtney Stewart and Jon Wilhite were hit by a drunk driver. All but Wilhite would die as a result of the accident. I'm sure each of us can recall just where we were when we heard the news and how it made us feel.

I personally didn’t know Nick Adenhart, but I didn’t have to know him to be affected by his passing. This was something that transcended the game of baseball. The loss was something that reminded everyone how fragile life truly is. If tragedy can strike players that are followed and idolized on the diamond, then it can happen to anyone at any given time.

It was a time when Angels' fans, myself included, took a step back and realized that the game that we follow with such passion and vigor was actually just that, a game. As news of the tragedy spread, fans slowly congregated, sometimes dozens at a time outside an empty and dark Angel Stadium to pay their respect to the young promising pitcher. A small collection of hats, cards, flowers and candles left in his memory on the brick pitcher's mound in front of the stadium slowly grew to an overwhelming display. On the radio, sports talk shows that usually debated pitching match-ups and roster moves instead turned the airwaves over to the fans who were calling in to share their memories of Adenhart. There was a unique camaraderie between Halo fans, although many of us never met Adenhart, as long time fans of the franchise the loss still hit close to home.

It’s hard not to think “what might have been” for Nick Adenhart; he most likely would have been pitching in the Angels’ rotation this season. In his last outing, on April 8th, 2009, with his father in the stands, Adenhart pitched like the pitcher everyone expected him to be, he received a no-decision but he kept the Angels in the game. The talented pitcher we all followed through the minor leagues surely would have made his mark on the team in terms of wins and losses, strikeouts, and all other important statistics. His passing however left a greater mark on the franchise, the team and the fans as it reminded us just how fragile life is. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding the Angels this year and get excited about the potential this team has. Let’s take a minute today though to reflect back on the great person this franchise and the world in general lost 3 years ago today.

RIP Nick Adenhart
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