Angels manager Mike Scioscia believes criticism of the team’s celebration after its American League West title-clinching on Monday night at Angel Stadium is unwarranted.
By dousing the late Nick Adenhart’s jersey with beer and champagne and making a trip to the center field wall to touch his memorial, players brought the memory of their former teammate into the celebration. Adenhart was killed in an April 9 car crash by an intoxicated motorist charged with multiple murders of the pitcher and companions Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson.
Those who would contend the manner of celebration was inappropriate, given the conditions under which Adenhart lost his life, are off base in Scioscia’s judgment. He felt it was an honor and a tribute by the Angels players with respect to Adenhart, a 22-year-old right-hander who shut out the Athletics in six innings hours before he was killed in his only start of the season.
“You have to understand these players and the tribute it really means to pour champagne on them,” Scioscia said. “It’s not the alcohol. It’s like a whipped cream pie in the face.
“The whole thing with Nick was an extraordinary time for all of us. It was very sincere and special, and it was meaningful to the clubhouse.
“Last night was helpful maybe to a lot of players, being able to be at peace with it in honoring Nick in a special way. It will be a part of everybody here who experienced it.”
Scioscia said pitching coach Mike Butcher was in contact with Adenhart’s father, Jim, after the title clinching and was told the celebration was “very touching.”