Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gone Far Too Soon, Nick Adenhart

I remember the night of April 9, 2009 extremely well. That night, I sat on my couch and watched young Angels right-hander Nick Adenhart hold the Oakland A's scoreless for six innings. Adenhart was a guy I knew about -- battled arm injuries, but had the talent to become a star. Instead, Adenhart's path took a tragic and gut-wrenching turn.

Adenhart was out with friends after his excellent start when a drunk driver collided with the vehicle he was in. Adenhart and two other friends were killed. The lone survivor, Jon Wilhite,  is still not fully recovered from his injuries. The driver, Andrew Thomas Gallo was drunk at the time of the accident. Naturally, he was not hurt in the accident.

When I woke up the next morning and hopped online, I thought I saw some kind of sick joke. Just last night, no more than 12 hours ago, I watched the arrival of a 22-year old pitcher who looked liked he belonged. Now he was dead. There was just no way. Unfortunately, it was true.

I looked around the room, as I tried to make sense of the information I just absorbed. Here was a young kid, just a few years younger than me. I thought of the suffering his family and teammates must be experiencing. His father was in attendance for that start. Imagine the emotional roller coaster -- In 12 hours you experienced the euphoria of watching your son pitch an amazing game at Angel Stadium, then you experience the utter despair of his promising young life ending. The son you raised to the man he became was gone forever. The feeling is unfathomable.

Adenhart may not have been a star if he were still alive day. Or, perhaps he could have formed a formidable 1-2 punch with Jared Weaver. He could have won many ballgames, inspired children, married the girl of his dreams and had children of his own. We will never know. More importantly, his family lost a son, his teammates lost a friend. The only reason he is not here, is because of the criminal act of a loser.

Gallo is in prison. He won't be eligible until he is 72. I hope his actions eat away at him for the rest of his existence. Gallo fled the scene of the accident, clearly not willing to face the horror he caused on that drunken night. I hope the images of testimonies in court are forever ingrained in his memory.

The purpose of this post is not to rehash to call out a convicted murderer -- it is to remember Nick Adenhart. His life and career were entirely too short. If Nick were alive today, he would only be 27, and he would be entering the prime of his career. We will never know how Nick's career. I will always remember that night where he was on top of the baseball world. Rest in peace, Nick.

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