Wednesday, October 7, 2009
This whole story requires a big ol' hat tip to Khair Sadrud-Din.
The Angels clinched the NL West last week, and part of their postgame celebration involved remembrance of and tribute to Nick Adenhart, a former Angels pitcher who was killed earlier in the season. As you can see, part of their celebration involved dousing Adenhart's jersey with beer.
Only problem is, Adenhart was killed by a drunk driver. Now while we can assume Adenhart wouldn't have wanted his friends and teammates to stop drinking simply because he was killed by a drunk driver, and we can also grant that the Angels were just trying to pretend he was there with them, pouring beer on his jersey just as they would have done to him had he been in the locker room, can we at least acknowledge that this scene is sort of uncomfortably ironic?
I mean, I'm pretty sure I've never in my life seen 10-15 people pouring anything on a jersey. And the first time I do see it, it involves guys energetically smothering a jersey with alcohol. And that jersey happens to be that of a guy who isn't celebrating with his teammates because he was killed in an unfortunate accident involving a guy who clearly had too much to drink.
But here's the best part: when a reporter asked the Angels players about this ironic display, third baseman Chone Figgins came up with a response that was as defensive as it was tone deaf:
"He's our teammate. We're allowed to do what we want."
Yes, Chone, that is correct. You can in fact do what you want. But that's not really the point.
The scene made me think: Isn't it a little odd that when a team clinches a playoff spot, youngsters watch their favorite players as they spray champagne, chug beer and pour alcohol everywhere? And that in this case, kids saw their heroes celebrate their lost teammate by taking his jersey and covering it in beer? The fact is, it's probably fair to assume that some of these players drive home with at least a slight level of intoxication. Maybe not the Angels players last week, but with eight of these alcohol orgies at the end of each baseball season, there's bound a few guys driving under the influence. And isn't that the whole reason Nick Adenhart isn't with us today?
But I digress. On the scale of immature things you can do, electing to celebrate your lost teammate with a beer shower is pretty far down on the list. But the irony simply can't be ignored. Unless, of course, you're Chone Figgins.