Nick: Always and Forever

It’s not easy, but we’re moving on, moving forward, because that’s what we do. We’re professional athletes. We’ll go about our business and play quality, exciting baseball for you fans. But no one will walk into our clubhouse this year without thinking about Nick Adenhart. He’ll always be with us, this year and forever.

We all have our own ways of grieving and coping, of dealing with a tragedy like this. You’ve got to live your life and treat people the way you want to be treated. It starts right there. Do what you can to help others. Don’t always be so concerned about yourself. Think about making others around you comfortable and happy, and that will affect you in a positive way.

You never know when God calls you to come home. We’re a family here, and when He called Nick, it was like losing a brother. It hurts. One of the first things I did was call all my family members and tell them I love them. Every time I leave the house, I tell my wife and kids I love them. It’s something we all should do every chance we get. Talk to your kids, your brothers and sisters, tell them how you feel. You never know when something like that, what happened to Nick, might happen to you.

When you’re on a team like this, you spend more time with your teammates than you do your own family. So you become close, and naturally it hits everybody hard. Nick was just a kid, really, but he was a popular kid, a great kid. He was on his way to great accomplishments in this game. He wasn’t here long, but he did get to live out his dream to play in the big leagues – and shut out the Oakland A’s for six innings. That was the kind of performance that showed what was ahead of him. He pitched with his head and his heart. He had a gift and knew what to do with it.

Nick struck out guys he’d been watching since he was in junior high school. He was living out his dream. I kept pumping him up between innings, and I’ll never forget that look he had, that determination. When he came off the field after that last inning, when he put them away in order in the sixth, I could feel him, what it meant to him.

I left the stadium around 11:30. It just so happened Nick’s dad was here. It must be incredibly hard on his family right now, but at least his dad was able to see him, and Nick was able to tell his dad he loved him. Nick dropped him off at his hotel and went out with some friends, and they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. He did nothing wrong. It could have happened to any of us.

That’s why I encourage everyone to look your loved ones in the eyes and tell them how you feel, how you love and appreciate them. And when I called my brothers the next day and told them I loved them, I also told them to please never drink and drive. That has to stop. No more drinking and driving. Period. We have to be more respectful to each other.
 
Those of us who make good livings playing a game know how fortunate we are. Not everyone can make it to the big leagues, obviously. But you can take something from Nick and his life, how he went after what he wanted, how he pushed through some adversity last year and kept believing in himself.

He was a tremendous young man, kind of quiet but funny in his way with his easy manner and style. He had a great work ethic and amazing talent. He loved his family. Those are some of the things we should remember when we think about Nick. He was one of us, a baseball player, a competitor, and we’re carrying on in his spirit and memory. It’s the best way we can honor him.

That’s what Nick would want us to do. I know he’ll be watching us, pulling for us, an eternal Angel. We’ll never stop thinking about Nick Adenhart, keeping him in our hearts and minds for the rest of our careers and our lives. A guy like that never really goes away. He’s always a part of you.

 

 

 

 

19 Comments

thanks torii i knew Nick as a fan. but i don’t really think you guys now how much you guys are in our lives. i live in salt lake so i go and watch the tirple A team for you angels and i get really close to the guys. Seeing Nick picth down here all last year i watched him everytime he went up to the bigs. i have taken a lot out of Nicks passing i tell everyone that how much they mean to me. and telling all the ball players thanks for what they do. i know i will miss Nick but like you said he will always be in our heart and he will never leave. thanks for doing what you love Torii i love watching you guys and i will always be an ANGELS fan.

anna

thanks torii i knew Nick as a fan. but i don’t really think you guys now how much you guys are in our lives. i live in salt lake so i go and watch the tirple A team for you angels and i get really close to the guys. Seeing Nick picth down here all last year i watched him everytime he went up to the bigs. i have taken a lot out of Nicks passing i tell everyone that how much they mean to me. and telling all the ball players thanks for what they do. i know i will miss Nick but like you said he will always be in our heart and he will never leave. thanks for doing what you love Torii i love watching you guys and i will always be an ANGELS fan.

anna

thanks torii i knew Nick as a fan. but i don’t really think you guys now how much you guys are in our lives. i live in salt lake so i go and watch the tirple A team for you angels and i get really close to the guys. Seeing Nick picth down here all last year i watched him everytime he went up to the bigs. i have taken a lot out of Nicks passing i tell everyone that how much they mean to me. and telling all the ball players thanks for what they do. i know i will miss Nick but like you said he will always be in our heart and he will never leave. thanks for doing what you love Torii i love watching you guys and i will always be an ANGELS fan.

anna

This was a great entry, Torii. I hope you and your teammates have an great season, despite this tragedy. I hope people learn from this. Like you said, the drinking and driving has to stop. Accidents like these scare me to death, which is why I never do it. Thank you for sharing your feelings with us, and good luck for the rest of the season.
Jen
http://ajroxmywhitesox.mlblogs.com

Torii , I want to thank you for that awesome entry , The Angels
organization and the fans are so blessed to have individuals like yourself there to put youre hand out to pick us up and lead us forward .

It’s strange for me as a fan. I go to every home game and watch every road game. Every day throughout the season I see you guys in some sort of way for 3 hours a day. As a fan you may not ever meet a player, but you feel like you have a relationship with the person. I was at the game the night Nick pitched 6 scoreless. He reminded me of when Jered Weaver came up and he had that swagger and felt like he was still better than every hitter he faced. Nick didn’t have that last year and when you saw him with that confidence this year it only made you smile. It’s tragic to see a kid like that with so much promise lose his life.

Torii, I wish my words could convey the depth of my sorrow for Nick’s family and the Angels organization. Words on paper just don’t do justice to the emotions that I know you are feeling. As a person that survived a devastating illness and also lost my husband of 25 years to cancer, I have learned that life is very precious and each day should be lived as if it were your last. You just never know what lurks around the next corner. I just want you to know that I am praying for you and for Nick’s family. I pray that God will sustain you through this difficult time.

Amen. Well spoken; Nick’s family and friends are in my prayers.

Jason

Torii you have a lot of class, and I always listen when you speak. This blog was no different.

I would like to see the Angels and MADD or another local or national group team up and start a campaign against drunk driving. What a powerful message athletes such as yourself can send to people of all ages (not just the youth). If one person puts down the keys and picks up a phone to call for a ride the campaign would be a success.

Hey Torii

This entry has so much of soul in it.
I’m a big fan stay like you are, I think you have a great personality and heart.
I wish you the best for your future!
I wasn’t a big baseball fan before I was in the United States (I live in Switzerland) but since then when I was at a game and bought my Angels, #48 T-shirt I know i’ll always be a big Angels fan!

We had waited with breathless anticipation for this young man to arrive in the bigs.. we get a glimpse of what he would do in years to follow and then he is gone.. the words “pointless” and “senseless” have been used to describe this loss.. they are not strong enough words.. forget about the loss of a pitcher and team mate.. the world lost a good young man.. this kid showed everyone exactly what playing in the bigs is supposed to be.. not $, not fame.. but joy, and passion.. it is rare that you can see what a good person is just by watching them play this game.. but when you do see it.. it should behoove you to take notice and be grateful for the opportunity to witness it.. i think we Halo fans were fortunate to see what other teams and fans will miss out on. I, for one am grateful and will never forget #34.. Torri thank you for taking the leadership role on this team.. you along with big John and Scot are the men i want to hear from on this team.. we are grateful to get to witness you guys too..

Torii, thank you for this post. I live right down the street from the stadium and it both warmed and broke my heart to see the fans standing outside the entrance that night. Everyone misses Nick. Even those of us that didn’t have the privilege of knowing him.

And I would like to thank you for your poise and grace through all of this. You are someone that my nephews can look up to as a good example of what athletes should be.

Torii you and all of the players have shared your lives with Nick and each other in the most incredible way. All working so very hard to reach your goals and to create a path for your lives. It takes time to allow yourself to heal from such pain. You are doing as best as you can right now. Your playing Torii has impressed me over the last few games. Keep focused and play your heart out. I am so very proud of you and the entire team for thier dedication and amazing talent. Keep playing HARD!!

Torii, thank you so much for this. I have been an angel fan since I was a little girl. Though I didn’t see much of Nick, I had high hopes for him having pitched such an awesome game that night and the talent I saw in him. I can’t help but get tears in my eyes every time I think about him, his family and you guys on the team. Every time I come home, I pass by the accident sight and I am just numb. I feel for everyone involved. I hope that there is a lesson learned from this accident to anyone who drinks, that they will not drive. I wish you guys strength to continue on through the season, I know he is on the field with you all.

Torii, this was a beautiful post. I am so sorry for your loss. Drunk driving is so terrible and reckless, and it makes me so sad to think of all the innocent people whose lives have been affected it. Nick was going to be a great pitcher. During spring training, I went to a Brewers/Angels game, and I sat next to these Angels fans who spoke so highly of him, and I could see it too, he had something special, and that was just on the field. I’m sure there was so much more to him off the field. What is truly shocking about death, though, is how is puts life in to perspective and how it affects more people than anyone knows. I live in Wisconsin, but I have some friends from California, and they knew Courtney, who died with Nick. I truly believe that everyone is connected somehow. And it is sad that death puts this in perspective, but it is my hope that the lives of the three people who died will help stop put an end to drunk driving.

Thanks, and good luck with the rest of your season.

God Bless,
Kristin

Torii – thank you so much for the special person you are. Please keep the Angels strong during this very difficult time…I know that’s a big responsibility, but I know you can do it.

The Angels have had an incredibly rough first two weeks of the season, and from the message boards I can see the fans are going a little crazy. No one wants the Angels to win more than I do – but I will always be an Angel fan, good years, bad years, and everything in between. I hope the fans will remember Nick every time we go to a game or watch a game on TV. This is basebally, and it is a great sport, and so much fun, and a joy to be a part of…

The REAL Angel fans will be there for you, and all of the Angel players, so hang in there. We Love you!!

Cheryl from Corona

I know that this blog was posted about a week ago now, but I just had the chance to read it all thoroughly and put a lot of thought into it. Torii you did a wonderful job explaining what happens in your life as a baseball player, as well as what it is going to take to go on from here. You are right that Nick would want you guys to continue playing hard every night on the baseball field because that is exactly what he would do if he was there on the field with you. I am from Minnesota but I have always liked the Angels, and I like them even more now since you are playing for them. When I saw this on ESPN it just made me stop in my tracks and I sat down and listened to the entire story. To think that he is the same age as me and something like this happened. It makes a person realize that they cannot take anything for granted in life because we never know what is coming our way. I turned 21 a little over a year ago and I really don’t drink because I feel that too many mistakes are made with alcohol involved. Nick was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and this happening made me reflect on my own life. I always make sure that I never go to bed or leave the house mad at anyone because I don’t want to live with regrets in my life. I wanted to thank you for writing something about Nick. You are a great baseball player, but also a great person off of the baseball field. I pray for the team and for Nick’s family to get through this tough time. Take care.
Trisha

As of Tuesday, April 21. Angels vs. Detroit. Torii I do believe that you have become a very important player to this Angels organization. Your playing is hard and you turn the game to the Angels favor. I am very proud to see that you put all of your effort in the game. I watch you before the game and notice that you are all for the WIN!! I see that your energy and your support for yourself and team members is Amazing!! Thank you for all that you do for this team and it is very apparent why you have recieved so many golder gloves. Keep playing hard. Please take care of yourself while off the field. Strengthen your body to withstand the long season ahead. I will keep you and all of the team in my prayers to stay healthy and to have many WINS!!

Earlier this year, I was in a horrible wreck that I am lucky to have survived. By sheer luck or will of God, I was ON MY WAY to the hospital to pick up my wife and new born baby girl. I can only imagine what that would have been like if they had been in the car with me. Accidents like this are freaky, and like Torii said, you never know when God will call you home. It changed my life forever. I am saddened for anyone that has ever lost a family member this way. In the past, when I was held up in traffic due to an accident, I looked at is as more of an annoyance. Now, I say a small prayer in hopes that no one was seriously hurt. Thank you Torii for your kind words – I am sure the Adenhart fmaily thanks and admires you.
Randy – ExposurePerfect.com

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