The Don Says…

In Columns, Sports

IMG_0688By Adan Vasquez
Daily Titan Sports Editor

On Monday night, the Los Angeles Angels clinched their third consecutive American League West Division title with an 11-0 smashing of the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium.

It has been a long season for the Angels, who took a big hit back on the early morning of April 9, with the sudden death of 22-year-old pitcher Nick Adenhart.

After their AL West-clinching victory, a lot of controversy arose after the Angels decided to include Adenhart in their celebration.

Everyone knows how teams celebrate big wins in all sports: You bust out the champagne, the beer and, most importantly, the swim goggles, then commence to empty each bottle or can over a teammate’s head.

I get it. You probably get it. We see it all the time. The LA Lakers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins all drowned themselves in alcohol following championships in 2009; it’s how sports teams celebrate.

Yet, when the Angels decided to honor Adenhart while making sure that he was recognized by everyone as still being a part of the team, people began complaining, citing poor judgment on the part of the players and the organization for allowing this to happen.

Angels pitcher John Lackey walks off the field carrying the late Nick Adenhart’s jersey. Photo courtesy MCT.
Angels pitcher John Lackey walks off the field carrying the late Nick Adenhart’s jersey. Photo courtesy MCT.

Had Adenhart’s life not been lost because of a drunk driver, you can rest assured that he would have been right there celebrating with his teammates, pouring just as much champagne as anyone else.

All season long, the Angels have made sure Adenhart’s presence did not vanish in the clubhouse – evidenced by his locker remaining intact. After they were done dousing each other with all the alcohol they could get their hands on, they headed back out and made their way to centerfield, where the now-unmistakable photo was taken.

All the players gathered with arms around one another and made sure their fallen teammate was included alongside them in a championship photo.

Many have been crying foul over this incident, saying that it was insensitive when considering the manner in which he died. But really people, let’s take a step back and stop trying to find something to complain about.

Adenhart’s family has stated that they have no problem with the way their son was honored by teammates, so why should any of us have any problem with it?

As a true-blue LA Dodgers fan, one might assume that it would be easy and fun to try to call the Angels idiots for their actions. But this is a case of teammates innocently wanting to tell the world, themselves and the Adenhart family how much he meant to them, and that they have him in their hearts.

It’s easy to point the finger. But how many of us haven’t had one of those moments with friends where we pay tribute to someone while having drinks?

I understand why people are mad and taking the gesture in a negative way. After all, the lives of Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson were also lost alongside Adenhart’s. Former Cal State Fullerton baseball player Jon Wilhite, who nearly lost his life in the accident, has just recently gotten his life back together after countless hours of rehabilitation.

Sadly, no one can do anything to bring the dead back, but taking what the Angels did and calling it stupid and irresponsible is ridiculous. Let them celebrate and include him in whatever way they please.

They did nothing wrong, so stop crying foul people.

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One commentOn The Don Says…

  • Honestly….Here my take. Alcohol didn’t get Adenhart killed.It was the poor judgement by the driver to overconsume Alcohol,and take the wheel that got him killed. I’m sorry, I didn’t find it poor judgement by the Angels to spray that jersey,i found it heart-felt. Even the team running to the picture of him in center-field, and im a hard-core Dodger fan. In the end, alcohol been around for millions of years, and it not going anywhere. But we got to realize the decision we make, like abusing alcohol, can lead to deadly consequences. And i’m pretty sure there is going to be a few more beer baths after that one.

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