Nick Adenhart 1986-2009
Last night I was watching the game and thought with the number of flameouts and never has beens - Nick Adenhart may have been the best pitcher from the 2004 draft.
Here he is pitching at 22 on opening week for the Angels - throwing six shutout innings. Watching him leave game, I said there he goes into the clubhouse [the young kid did his job].
I kind of went back to a half-sleep - I kept thinking it was a mistake and if someone was killed, maybe it was someone else. It wasn't Adenhart, right? He was the great hope for the Angels on the mound for the last several years and considering where he was, things kind of worked out for him Wednesday night.
Fans who follow the Angels' system knows the story about Adenhart being a 'highly regarded' 14th round choice - whose stock plummeted because he had to go get Tommy John surgery in high school.
All I knew now was an Angels pitcher was killed - it wasn't a dream and as Adenhart realized his dream for one night, it was all taken away hours later.
I didn't want to see it, didn't want the news confirmed, but I turned on the TV and it was on SportsCenter - anchor Chris McKendry [and Buck Showalter] was talking about Adenhart getting into a fatal hit-and-run accident [along with two others who perished with him, Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson and a former Cal State Fullerton baseball player Jon Wilhite who was in critical condition].
There was a statement from Torii Hunter read over the air - I go to MLB Network and Hunter was basically saying what was on the statement. You take it for granted, but never know when its your time to go.
Lots of things going through my mind and it seemed almost canned and petty - would I post a pic on the blog? What will the Angels do with a depleted starting rotation? The Angels were to induct Brian Downing and Chuck Finley to their Hall of Fame Thursday night, but the game vs. the Oakland Athletics was postponed and what may have been a celebration of two franchise stars turned into a mourning party.
Random memories as a fan - passed over an Adenhart 2004 Donruss EEE certified autograph rookie card and got a Phil Hughes instead [both were $5 each] at the 2006 Seattle Mariners/San Diego Padres Fan Fest card show in Peoria.
Saw him signing autographs at Rancho Cucamonga [Los Angeles Angels high-A affiliate] in 2006 after he was called up from low-A, saw him at Meet the Quakes day and got a mini-bat signed the same year - saw him a couple of spring trainings in 2007 and in 2009.
The Angels have had bad luck this week with Adenhart's death and an Angels' fan [Brian Powers] - getting into a fatal fight after an Angels' game opening night. You really can't say you hope things 'bounce back' into place, the way it was before like if this was a game played. I think you just let things sink in and let things be.
When reality hits - it leaves you cold and befuddled.