Philip George / Roundup
As Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard Round the World” propelled the Giants to the World Series, Dodger fans’ hearts sank. It was tragic.
As Mookie Wilson’s grounder dribbled up the line and through Bill Buckner’s legs, Red Sox fans looked on in horror. It was tragic.
And as Steve Bartman ensured the Cubs’ “curse” would reach 95 years without a championship, the Chicago faithful were outraged. It was tragic.
But to awaken Thursday morning to the jarring news that Nick Adenhart, the 22-year-old former Angels’ top prospect, had passed away after a deadly hit-and-run accident in Fullerton, puts things in perspective.
No matter how emotionally invested you are in a team, in a game, it is just that — a game. You lose the game of baseball and you come back the next day or next season with another chance at victory. You lose the game of life and there is no next day or next season. That is a true tragedy.
Adenhart’s death is not just a blow to the Angels’ rotation or to Major League Baseball. We as baseball fans may have only known Adenhart the pitcher, but one must never forget that he or any other athlete has the same impact on the lives of others as you or I do. Aside from 24 other men on Anaheim’s roster who considered Adenhart a beloved friend as well as a teammate, Adenhart is survived by parents Jim and Janet.
Imagine the thoughts of Jim Adenhart, who recieved a phone call from Nick prior to the pitcher’s season debut, summoning him from Baltimore to Anaheim because “something special” was about to happen. Jim complied with his son’s wishes and was rewarded by witnessing his best pitching performance to date. In just his fourth major league start, Nick threw six scoreless innings against the Oakland Athletics. After the game, Jim and Nick — father and son — shared the moment together, something special indeed. Mere hours later, Jim’s only son was gone.
But why? Adenhart did nothing wrong. Neither did Courtney Stewart, Henry Pearson or John Wilhite, all in the car with him. Four innocent friends were simply headed to a club to dance and to celebrate the pitching performance of a lifetime.