Kazmir mirrors Adenhart

Scott Kazmir was throwing the longest pre-game toss I’ve ever seen a few minutes ago, from the warning track in left center at Fenway Park all the way across the outfield to a spot about 40 feet from the right-field foul line.

Finishing his long toss, Kazmir threw some flat-ground deliveries and headed for the bullpen, casually tossing a ball into the crowd on his way.

The Angels’ southpaw looked like a kid in the park, having a good time, which is how I would expect him to be. He loves this type of challenge, pitching on the big stage. If the Red Sox beat him in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, it won’t have anything to do with Kazmir being intimidated by the crowd or the moment.

He’s a pure-bred athlete, a former high school QB in Houston who simply loves to compete.

Among the many things I’ve grown to like about Kazmir is that he reminds me so much of Nick Adenhart. I was thinking about this on the long flight from LA to Boston. Those quiet moments alone are when I generally start thinking about Adenhart and the tragedy. I knew him and cared deeply about him, and it still hurts every day.

Kazmir didn’t get to know Adenhart, which is a shame, because I’m sure they’d have become fast friends. On the other hand, it’s possible Kazmir wouldn’t be here if a drunken driver hadn’t killed Adenhart, Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson in the early hours of April 9.

It is entirely possible Adenhart, if not for that act of criminal insanity, would have been pitching Game 3 of this series.

Having uncovered some missing ingredients in his delivery, and recovering his confidence, which had sagged in 2008, Nick was just getting started in what would have been a breakout season when his life ended so prematurely at 22.

That’s not just my opinion, that Adenhart had stardom in his future. Those who knew him best – teammates and especially catchers – are convinced he’d have had a big year, and then many more.

Kazmir is right there with you, in the moment, when you’re talking with him. He’s not somewhere else. He has that cool, easy manner that Nick embodied, an effortless grace that marks the premier athletes. Adenhart studied video of past greats and loved hearing stories about pitchers from previous eras. He laughed as I told him stories about some I’ve covered through the years, especially former Dodgers and A’s star Bobby Welch. Welch was so much like Adenhart, and now we have Kazmir, too. It’s comforting.   

Kazmir’s arrival on Aug. 28 changed the season for the Angels. It gave them a sense that they had everything they needed now. Veterans privately expressed shock that Tampa Bay would let a talent like this get away, and that the Angels would be lucky enough to land him through a waiver deal.

“This guy is really, really good,” Bobby Abreu said that day. “I love that we got him. I’ve faced him – I know how tough he is. He is really going to help us.”

John Lackey and Jered Weaver were brilliant in Anaheim, but this, of course, is a different venue. The Red Sox will feel the energy of the crowd, and if they regain their confidence, they can be dangerous.

The Angels have a cushion, but they are advised to do everything possible to finish off Boston today. You don’t want the Red Sox gaining momentum and feeling good about themselves again.

 

6 Comments

Great post. Congrtulations to the Angels in one of the best games I have seen in the playoffs. Even though tbs had a bunch of red sox hommers anouncing the game it was nice to hear them suffer when the angels won. Also good job on cutting away from the angels celebration to show a re-run episode of singfield. It doesn’t matter because angel nation is strong and I’m proud to be an Angels fan.

Congrats A’s. All this season I’ve hoped that you’d go all the way… for Nick. Just keep it going! Kaz… we sure miss you.

What an amazing game. Somehow it was no surprise that when that door opened in the Green Monster, the Angels were able to walk right through. Miss you, Nick. You’ll be in the hearts of Angels fans always. Wonderful post, Lyle – thank you. On to the next challenge …. :)

It was a crazy.. fabulous game.. which seems to be following the script for the ’09 Post Season.

Buz – http://buzblog.mlblogs.com/

Lyle,
Dodger fan here. I clicked on this post and noticed the tag “bobby Welch” Ahh, one of my favorite back when. A nice gesture on his part back in the Summer of 1981, turned me into a Bobby Welch. Good memories that team with Mike Scioscia, another of my favorites.
I love the “About you.”
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com/

ANGELS FAN SINCE 82…The first game i ever saw on TV, was an Angels game vs the mariners on channel 5 ktla, i still have a recording (somewhere in the garage) on VHS with commercials and everything . But all i wanted to say is that the Angels have come a long way, not just as a team but also with the quality of people the hire. I love the Angels and when the Angels are not playing or the season is over it feels like your child or spouse aren’t around. Go Halos let’s win this one for Nick,the fans,players and for Arte..he definately deserves to pop open the big bottle……..Retire #34 there’s an Angels that going to wear that number for ever…plus a statue of Nick as you enter the stadium between the hats would be awsome.

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