Royals’ Mourning of Ventura Reminds Angels of Nick Adenhart

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Updated: April 14, 2017

This weekend the Angels are squaring off against the Kansas City Royals. Alas, their competitor is currently undergoing a sensation that defies words. Occasionally, words are not enough. To use a common term like “heartbroken” does not seem to cut it. It is because the Royals are currently in a state of mourning.

The Royals had their home opener this week. But it differed from past home openers. That is for sure. A vibe that carried with it no true traces of happiness or renewal. In the air echoed a breeze of melancholy proportions. At that home opener, the mother of the recently deceased Yordano Ventura threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Earlier this year, her son was killed in a devastating car accident. News no mother ever wishes to hear. News no one in general ever desires to hear.

Alas, it is something the Halos can resonate with all too well. In the earlier stages of 2009, the AL West ball club discovered news that was similarly devastating. Flat out devastating. It is information that can never really soak in. Regardless of the effort exerted, it is the kind of thing that is incomprehensible. After he made his first start of the young season, righty Nick Adenhart’s life was taken from his in the same manner Ventura’s was. Considering the Angels still think about Nick, the Royals’ grieving process should likewise carry no timetable.

In a recent article from The Los Angeles Times, Mike Scioscia reflects on the event that traumatized the team he has led for so long.

“‘It was tough,’ Manager Mike Scioscia said. ‘It’s still difficult, when you think about a family that has all their holiday dinners and there’s an empty chair. That’s who’s really affected the most. We lost a friend and we lost a player, and you feel like he’s your son when these guys are on the team. It took some time. It took a lot of time.’”

Scioscia hits the nail right on the head in his assessment of the whole situation. Adenhart’s connection with the organization itself can never be discounted. However, the family element is one that simply drowns the spirits. It is a void that can never be replaced no matter how hard it is yearned for. Scioscia dives into this in further details, and explains how Adenhart’s memory is still being handled to this very day.

“‘Believe me, we pray for Nick and his family,’ Scioscia said. ‘Every year, we take a collection in spring training and give it to his foundation. We have an award for our best pitcher in his honor. As difficult as it is, these are some ways we try to cope with it and try to move on. It takes time. We have great memories of Nick and the type of kid he was. It’s always going to be with us.’”

Such slivers of information speak to how hard it is for anyone in general to lose someone. But it also sheds light on the fact that baseball is a sport that is, well, more than a sport. It is game centered on togetherness. That component can never be extinguished. It is precisely what made that 2009 Halos’ squad so special to behold. They essentially dedicated that year to Adenhart.

“‘That group of guys was a special team in ’09,’ Scioscia said. ‘They embraced Nick’s family. They embraced honoring Nick in a lot of different ways, from bringing his jersey with us on the road to going out when we clinched to where his number was on the wall and taking a team picture. Those were special moments.’”

With all of that out there, the Royals should be embraced as well. Embraced like a child embraces his or her teddy bear when taking a nap. Times like these seem unfair. Illogical. It is all so very true. All that the Halos can perhaps say right now to their fellow competitor is something akin to the following: “You are not alone.”

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