Overtime: LA Team Has Guardian Angel

By Melva N. Lloyd

Image courtesy of www.wikipedia.com

Image courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.com

When the Los Angeles Angels take to the baseball field on Friday (Oct. 16th) against the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series, the franchise will have more than winning on its mind.  After sweeping the Boston Red Sox 3-0 to clinch the division title, the Angels will advance with one less player in the bullpen.  Earlier this year, 22 year-old rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others were killed by a drunk driver, just hours after he started in his first major league game against the Oakland A’s.  Although the game resulted in a loss for the Angels, Adenhart proved himself to the veteran players on the team when he struck out five batters in six innings.  Naturally, his untimely death shocked not only his family and friends, but fans of America’s favorite pastime were saddened when they received word of the tragedy as well.

 The LA Angels were faced with a tough decision: do they celebrate Adenhart’s life or mourn the young player who was steadily making strides in his budding baseball career?  Seems simple enough, but for the organization as a whole they made a conscious decision to remember their fallen star in every way possible.  During the ALDS in September they brought Adenhart’s jersey with them everywhere; it even hangs in its own locker, and during the traditional post-game champagne-drenching festivities, the jersey was soaked in the expensive beverage and to some that came off as disrespectful.  Onlookers felt that the team was exploiting Adenhart rather than praising his skill and remembering his spirit.  General manager, Tony Reagins, reassured the naysayers that they meant no harm, “he’s a part of this organization…he’s a part of what they accomplished.  He’s a teammate.  He’s always going to be a teammate.”

Soon after, officials for the team met and agreed that they would stop selling Adenhart’s jersey, and the team store online will no longer allow fans to use Adenhart’s #34 when customizing their own uniforms.  In addition to that, the Angels were given the Adenhart family’s blessing before giving TBS the go-ahead to air a commercial commemorating the former high school draft pick.

So as the Angels begin their march towards their second World Series title since 2002, they do so by never forgetting Nick Adenhart; their real life angel in the outfield.

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