White Hat Sports Headlines

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tragic times

There is a common believe amongst morning radio show hosts, that celebrity death's happen in 3's or trifectas. Unfortunately we have had 4 in recent weeks, starting with the tragic losses of George Kell, Nick Adenhart, Harry Kalas and then Mark "The Bird" Fidrych. It has hit every aspect of Baseball, you have a hall of fame broadcaster (Kalas), you have a hall of famer turned broadcaster (Kell), one of the most unforgettable characters in the history of the game (The Bird) and a young gun who was about to get his first shot at becoming a starting pitcher (Adenhart).
How do things like this happen so close to each other? Hearing that George Kell passed was too bad, he was a baseball lifter who went from being a tremendous ballplayer and became an excellent broadcaster.
Harry Kalas was very surprising, he was an active broadcaster who at 73 years old was still at the top of his game. After calling the number of games that I have, I have determined that a broadcaster's performance on a single game basis depends on how good the game is. The greats rise to the occasion, they get taken to another level when the game is either A. a big game or B. a game that ends in a walk off or a potential no-hitter. Kalas might have been at his absolute best the last few years, which all culminated in a Phillies World Series title last October. He passed away in the broadcast booth.
I was on my way to Fenway Park last Thursday when I received three texts messages simultaneously all alerting me of the death of Nick Adenhart. It was shocking to me, I was very aware of who he was and what his story had been. How he was coming off shoulder surgery as a phenom and was being groomed last season by the Angels to become their next stud pitcher in a rotation that was starting to fall apart this spring. Adenhart's passing was tragic because he was 22, he didn't have his chance to make his impact on the game or at least give it his best shot. To me the worst part of his premature passing is that his name will be remembered for the rest of the season and his number 34 will be seen during each game that the Angels play, but 10 years from now he will be brought up only when a current player passes on. Sort of the same way that Lyman Bostock or Donnie Moore is mentioned now.
Next to Adenhart the most shocking passing was The Bird, Mark Fidrych. Seeing the news go by on the ESPN scroll, my jaw instantly dropped. He wasn't an old man, just 54 years old, The Bird was not a tragic tale as so many phenoms are or become after they are phenoms. The Bird burst onto the scene and became a must see attraction between 1976 and 77. After getting injured he wasn't able to bounce back with the Tigers and tried a comeback in 1983 with his hometown Boston Red Sox which sputtered out in the minors. He went on to start his own trucking company and whenever he was shown on television or was interviewed he always seemed to be at peace with the way his career went and wouldn't change much about his life.

With the way things have been recently, you can imagine my first thoughts when watching ESPN News a few hours ago, the breaking news broke that Celtics GM Danny Ainge had suffered a heart attack this morning. He is resting comfortably in a Boston hospital right now, and that is the best news that sports fans have heard recently.
Sterling Pingree

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