Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Won't you help me, if you can, to shake this anger?

A lot goes into the writing of one blog entry for me. Finding and editing the right pictures, choosing an entry title, quotes and links take up a bit of time. If I know what I’m going to write about, I check around to as many other Red Sox or baseball-related blogs as I can to make sure others aren’t writing about the same thing (which is one of the reasons I rarely just rehash each game. There are plenty of places to find that information; you don’t need me re-inventing the wheel). If I’m stumped for something to write, I read various feeds to see what peaks my interest.

I really didn’t have to think about what to write tonight and that’s unfortunate. By now, anyone stopping by here has heard about Nick Adenhart. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a baseball or general sports-related blog today or tomorrow that doesn’t cover Nick’s horrible death. I find that the older I get, the harder news like this hits me. Not just news about a famous person dying but any tragic news. I’m just so damned tired of all the terrible things that go on.

But I didn’t want to write about Nick. I didn’t know Nick. I’d guess that most people reading this didn’t know who he was. The first time I ever saw him was Wednesday night after the Sox game. I went home and crashed. Decided not to edit pictures from the night. Put off writing my entry for the blog until morning. I snuggled into bed, shut out all the lights and put the baseball game on the television. Wednesday night I fell asleep to Nick Adenhart pitching.

I found out about the accident a little after 11am when Bruce Allen posted a link via Twitter:

Angels Rookie Pitcher killed in Hit and Run incident: http://tinyurl.com/cqg3s4

I was working and the notification popped up on my screen. Then I alternated between being numb and crying the rest of the day.

But I don’t cry because of any personal connection I have to Nick. I don’t cry because a future baseball star is dead. I cry because parents lost a son today. Many people lost a friend. And the world lost someone who could have potentially been great. Not just at baseball but at life.

No drunken ass has the right to take that away from us.

This doesn’t “put things into perspective” for me. I hate when people say that. I’m forty years old for God’s sake, I’ve seen enough death and tragedy in my life to have proper perspective, thank you. I don’t watch baseball and think that what goes on down on that field is life or death and more important than anything else in my life. I’d argue that most sports fans, even if they act like they have no perspective, have exactly that. Baseball is an outlet to forget about the realities of life for a few hours.

When I’m watching a game, I don’t have to think about how there are people in the world like Andrew Gallo. A man who was driving drunk on a suspended license and left the scene of the crime. Not only did he leave the victims in the other car, strangers that he didn’t care a whit about, but he left someone he knew in his own car. Someone who was wounded. Gallo ran away on foot like the coward we’ve discovered he is. He left five people wounded and suffering just to protect his own drunken self. I watch baseball to pretend for a few hours that a world doesn’t exist where men like Gallo live.

But I felt uncomfortable writing a “Nick was so great and it’s terrible that he’s gone” post. It felt very fake to me. Some of the write-ups I’ve read tonight really felt forced. Much like I’m writing this mostly because it’s what people expect, I read a lot of different posts from other bloggers and thought “But you didn’t even know him. How can you call him a ‘beautiful person’? You’re only writing this to write it”. But after giving it more thought maybe that isn’t so terrible. If people want to deal with their grief (and, yes, you can grieve for a person you didn’t know) who am I to judge them? I’m doing the same thing right now, aren’t I?

Part of me wishes I wasn’t so tired Wednesday night. Part of me wishes I actually paid attention to the Angels/A’s game instead of using it to fall asleep. But there’s no sense in wishing for something that can’t happen and the wish doesn’t make much sense anyway. Before he died, Nick Adenhart was just another name I scrolled by while choosing my fantasy baseball team. Who knew the first time I saw him pitch would also be the last?

I had the Bisons/PawSox game up online today while I worked. Every so often I’d glance at the screen and wonder what kind of families those players had and how losing one of them would affect them. Even though I don’t have children, the story of Nick’s dad spending the morning sitting in his locker will be with me for a long time.

Most of us didn’t know Nick but we know A Nick. We know someone who is young and full of life with everything ahead of them. No one deserves to die the way Nick and his friends did. Young or old. So while I bristle at the notion that this “puts things into perspective”, I will admit to looking at those I love with a little bit of a different eye tonight.

As terrible as this is, don’t let it make you feel guilty for caring about the Red Sox (or whichever team you’re rooting for!). Every moment in our lives is there for a reason, whether to remind us how precious life is or to help us get through the reality of a crappy day. Nick dying is terribly sad and it isn’t something that will soon leave me, but I’m still going to be watching baseball and caring about Jon Lester’s crappy ERA or Daisuke’s latest meltdown.

If we don’t care deeply about anything, even baseball, then we won’t be affected deeply by events like today.

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April 9, 2009 - Posted by | 2009 |

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