Cane in the corner

I tend to handle bad news fairly well. Certainly tragedy affects me like anyone else, but I’m just kind of programmed to keep it together OK when others are not doing as well. I’m way worse about things a bit after the fact, however, as the smallest, random things can set me off. Everyday things, like seeing my late father-in-law’s cane in the corner a few weeks after he died. It’s that sort of thing, far more than the emotion-laded moment of death itself, that makes you keenly aware that the person you’ve lost is never coming back.

I had no personal connection to Nick Adenhart, but reader Richard G. pointed out to me a definite cane-in-the-corner moment in the form of today’s ERA leaders. By virtue of alphabetical order and the six strong innings he pitched the night of his death, Adenhart sits atop the list.

Because a pitcher must have at least one inning per team game played to qualify, Adenhart will disappear from the list as soon as the Angels take the field against the Mariners tomorrow evening.

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  1. Pete Toms said...

    A fan died as a result of a fight on Opening Day in Anaheim.  None of us know his name, nor have I seen any tributes to him on the web. 

    Yes the passing of Adenhart, particularly given the circumstances (killed by a drunk) is sad.  But, is the reaction amongst the baseball media and particularly the baseball bloggers contrived and sentimental?  At least some of the baseball writers probably met this young man at one time, but the bloggers? 

    In a nutshell, why are we saddened (or pretend to be saddened) more by the passing of a young pro athlete that none of us knew (or ever would know) than anybody else? 

    Even in a forum such as this, where a lot of smart folks congregate, there is still plenty of jock worship.  A lot of these guys are spoiled ***holes (which isn’t to say that Adenhart was).

    Craig, why does this death sadden you more than the thousands? of others caused by drunk drivers every year?

  2. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Pete— I don’t mean to overstate my grief here—and if I have, I apologize—but there’s clearly a direct relationship between one’s familiarity with a person and how their death affects you.

    10,000 die in a monsoon in Bangladesh, eh. 32 die in a shooting at a college a couple of hundred miles away: big news.  Person I’ve never heard of dies in a fight at Anaheim Stadium?  I wrote a quick blurb about it, but I quickly moved on.  Ballplayer whose name I’ve known and whose career I’ve casually followed for a couple of years (and whom I gave a few thoughts to mere hours before he died): it’s worth a pause.

    Adenhart’s death to me is kind of like the death of the guy in payroll at my wife’s office.  I never met him.  I don’t know him.  But I’ve seen him and been generally aware for him for a while, and it’s just natural that I’m going to feel differently about him.

  3. Richard in Dallas said...

    Thanks for the props, Craig.  What I sent you certainly adds new meaning to the phrase “going out on top”, doesn’t it?

  4. Seitz said...

    A fan died as a result of a fight on Opening Day in Anaheim.  None of us know his name, nor have I seen any tributes to him on the web.

    We certainly do know his name.  It’s Brian Powers.  And if you haven’t seen any tributes, perhaps it’s because you’re not looking hard enough.

  5. Pete Toms said...

    @ Seitz; fair enough, I have not looked at all.  Doesn’t change my opinion about the reaction to Adenhart’s death though.

  6. Jason B said...

    I tend to think of it in the same terms that Craig does – it all depends on proximity, I think.  None of us really “knew” Adenhart any more than we did Brian Powers, but as a major league ballplayer playing the game we all love, he’s slightly more “proximate” to us than a random fan we didn’t know.  But certainly less “proximate” than a close friend or family member.

    Alternatives? If we treated every death the same way, we would either be mired in misery all day every day, or be stone cold to all of ‘em.  Neither of which seems to be a particularly healthy alternative.

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