Friday, October 16, 2009

no Angel left behind

The Angels who pretend to be in Los Angeles but actually have a stadium in Anaheim play the first game of the American League Championship Series today against the New York Yankees. They had clinched the America League West, but their celebration drew some criticism.

It's customary in baseball victory celebrations to pop champagne and, instead of actually consuming it, shower fellow teammates with it. In their celebration and champagne dousing, they did not forget a member of the team who was no longer with them, Nick Adenhart, who had been killed early in the season by a drunk driver in a crash that also killed two others in the car and severely injured the fourth person. The Angels had Adenhart's jersey and included it in the dousing as well.

However, those actions drew criticism from some who thought it in bad taste to drench Adenhart's jersey in alcohol when he'd been killed by a drunk driver. I suppose on some level, it might be a little odd, but I guess I didn't look at it that way. When I heard what they had done, I was touched and in tears. It was the normal way for them to celebrate, but it's not normal to have one of your teammates murdered early in the season. And they never forgot about him. He wasn't an ex-teammate. He was right there with them, and they wanted to celebrate with him, to include him in their victory.

Shortly after this happened, I was talking to the husband about the entire situation, and he relayed to me that a friend of his had been at the Angels game the night they clinched the title. The friend hung out for a while after the game ended, and then those still in the stadium noticed the Angels coming out of the dugout and heading for the center field wall. I hadn't known about this, but since Adenhart's death, a picture of him and his number had been up on that wall. The Angels went to that spot to be with Adenhart for a moment before going back to the clubhouse for the traditional celebration.

Here's an article about the celebration and tribute.

And then in looking around, I found that someone who had also been at the game that night actually captured the moment on video when the team was at the wall with Adenhart's picture.

When the team takes the field today, they will do so knowing that one Angel will be looking down on them, cheering them on.

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