Baseball is a game where the slightest mistake could cost any team an opportunity at winning. Sometimes, though, those teams get to make up for things like unearned runs by coming through in the clutch when they need it the most, but, in other instances, those mistakes prove to be the deciding factor. In some sort of way, one could say that baseball is a lot like life. Like a team that lost the game on an unearned run, Andrew Thomas Gallo made an error in judgment that cost not only him, but also the lives of others.
Early Thursday morning, Gallo hit the car that carried Angels’ pitcher Nick Adenhart and three other individuals, two of which, along with Adenhart, died in the crash. The 22-year-old Silver Spring resident and graduate of Williamsport High School had pitched six scoreless innings against the Oakland Athletics just hours earlier at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, but that was all but forgotten as the news of his death ran shock waves throughout Major League Baseball. What looked to be a promising career for this young man was cut short by an individual who was under the influence of alcohol, an offense which caused problems for Gallo in previous years. He now faces up to 55 years in prison for his crimes, which include hit-and-run, driving under the influence, and murder. His future is not controlled by his own will anymore, but instead now rests within the hands of a jury of his peers. No longer will he be able to live his life without being identified as the man who took away the life of someone who had such a promising career ahead of him.
This horrible incident proves to be another case of a Major League baseball player who passed away too soon. Great players like Lyman Bostock, Darryl Kile, Bob Moose, and Roberto Clemente are prime examples of those that had so much to look forward to, but died in the prime of their careers. Death is sometimes unexplainable, but everyone can now say that while Nick Adenhart played for a team named the Angels, it is nothing compared to the fact that he is now among them in a place that cannot be compared to this planet. No longer will he receive the standing ovations, the respectful comments from teammates and coaches, or maybe even the candidacy for the A.L. Cy Young Award. Now, as the crowds fall silent and the locker room clears out, all the fans can do is pray for Nick’s family and teammates as they try to move on from these unfortunate sets of circumstances. The Angels locker room will no longer be the same, but Nick’s memory will forever live on in the hearts of those who were closest to him. His picture on the outfield wall and the #34 on each of his teammates jerseys are excellent examples of this mutual respect.
In the end, this tragedy is living proof that the contracts, stats and luxury cars are nothing compared to the life of one individual. The value of a pay check will never surpass the value of a human life. No longer will Angels fans nor fans of this great sport called baseball be able to view Nick Adenhart in action. Although his career was brief, the impact he could have left on this game will never be disregarded. The one victory he earned in his Major League career will never compare to the one loss of life this sport, not to mention this world, has suffered.
Rest in peace, Nick Adenhart (8/24/86 – 4/9/09). May you be safe with the true Angels now. God bless you.