Friday, April 10, 2009

By David Saltzer - Columnist

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”

As I sit here at the keyboard, my stomach still churning from today’s tragic news, I can’t help but think of Mike Scioscia, and his ability to turn the page. Whether it’s a tough loss, a blowout, or a rainout, he just channels the mantra of turning the page. As hard as it may be, in order to move on past today, we need to get back into our regular routines. Life and baseball still happen, and to honor both it’s worth looking at how our minor league teams fared.

While last night's major league game was canceled, life still went on for the rest of organization. And, while the loss of Adenhart still stings, our minor leaguers had to roll on, whether they knew Adenhart or had never even played with him. For many, it was an extremely emotional day.

Aside from our AAA affiliate, the Salt Lake Bees who cancelled their game in honor of Nick Adenhart, three teams in our organization had their debuts. And in all of them, it seems as though the pitching was touched by an Angel, as all three had stellar pitching performances. Nick pitched at all of these levels and knew what it took to win at each one.

At AA-Arkansas, Sean O’Sullivan pitched 6 strong innings, allowing only 3 hits while striking out 6. The Travelers won the game 6-1 with O’Sullivan getting his first win of the season. In 2007, at age 20, Nick pitched for the Travelers, posting a 10-8 record with 116 strikeouts in 153 innings.

At A-Rancho, Trevor Reckling pitched 6 strong innings, allowing only 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7. The Quakes won the game 3-0, with Reckling getting his first win of the season. In 2006, at age 19, Nick pitched for the Quakes, posting a 5-2 record with 46 strikeouts in 53 innings.

At A-Cedar Rapids, Michael Davitt pitched 5.2 strong innings, allowing only 6 hits and 4 walks while striking out 10. The Kernels won the game 7-6, with reliever Christian Scholl getting his first win of the season. In 2006, also at age 19, Nick pitched for the Kernels, posting a 10-2 record with 99 strikeouts in 106 innings.

It’s easy to see why Nick was one of our top prospects for the past few years. And, Wednesday night he seemed to mature in front of all of our eyes with his performance on the mound. His senseless death so shortly thereafter cannot be explained, but we must move forward from it.

While we remember and share in the loss of such a promising youth, let’s remember that for many others, their careers are just starting. Sean O’Sullivan is our #8 prospect this year and Trevor Reckling is our #6 prospect. Both are well worth following this year.

Thursday, April 9th, 2009: Baseball marked it's time. It brought so many of us together on to comfort and support each other through the grief. It is a part of all of our pasts. While Nick reminded so many of us of what was once so good in life and for the Angels, may we soon all be able to turn the page so that we can see all that could be good again. As hard as it may be, in the coming days, we will all need to turn the page and get back to discussing baseball, trades, lineups and prospects. I’m betting that Nick would want it that way.
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