Adenhart made our dreams come true

Editor's Note: This column by Sports Reporter Bob Parasiliti was published May 4, 2008 after Nick Adenhart was moved up to the major leagues.

Thanks, Nick.

You made our dreams — the ones we could only fantasize about before — come true.

For you, the dream was the big one. You are now Nick Adenhart, the major league pitcher.

Since the turn of the century, all focus has been on you and the dream to pitch on America’s biggest baseball stage — a major league ballpark. As time went by, that dream was not a question of if as much as when. Baseball’s scouts knew you had the talent, probably long before you did.

Our dreams became reality on Thursday ... and fittingly, Nick, you went Hollywood. That coveted first start came in Anaheim, Calif., for the Los Angeles Angels against the Oakland Athletics. OK, it wasn’t everything you wanted since you only pitched two innings and gave up five runs before being lifted in Oakland’s 15-8 victory.

It was a Tinseltown ending more “Rocky Horror Picture Show” than “Rocky,” but you didn’t suffer the loss in what was a whirlwind couple of days. Nick, remember, you were promoted from Triple-A Salt Lake, which was playing in Memphis, flew cross country back to L.A., to be activated and pitch on three days’ rest.

Somehow, you know, think and feel that it will all be better the next time once you get back to a regular routine.

As for me, Nick, you fulfilled one dream and helped prove a fantasy by stepping on the mound at the Big A. Believe me, your one accomplishment dwarfs my two, but let this older, overweight athletic never-was gloat a little.

The dream was being able to watch an athlete with God-given talents get to this level and I was able to do it from the best seat in the house.

I had the honor of covering you on many stops along the way to your debut on Thursday.

I remember driving to Arbutus, Md., to cover a Little League State All-Star game you pitched and easily won. I still have a picture hanging on my desk that someone took to prove that I was working at the Pony League World Series in Washington, Pa. It is one of me gesturing with my hands (like I usually do) while interviewing you on the field after a game you had won.

I was there when you faced Allegany’s Aaron Laffey, another major league pitcher, in Cumberland, Md., when Williamsport opened against the Campers to start your senior year in 2004. You evened your record at 1-1 against Laffey with a no-hit win on that day.

I watched from my corner as you progressed that senior year until you were shut down by the injury. We talked before, during and after the process and I have been able to keep up with you on periodic whistle stops along your professional career and comeback. You haven’t been the easiest guy to get a hold of, but we have made due.

This probably doesn’t mean anything to anyone besides me, but it’s been a fascinating privilege and honor to be able to take the ride with you, be it in the backseat or trunk.

And in all that, you have been able to feed that other fantasy of mine.

You know, Nick, in all the times that you were competing in youth and prep sports, your actions spoke louder than our words.

I don’t ever remember anyone calling and begging to put your name in the paper to make you feel good about yourself. I don’t seem to remember any creative scorebook accounting or cleverly phrased attempts to force your name into the local roundup of The Herald-Mail. Hits were hits, errors were errors and you didn’t have to combine with two other pitchers to get 14 strikeouts, especially when you got 12 of them yourself, Nick.

It’s hard to believe that you, at the tender age of 21, came from another era, Nick. You are a product from when actual accomplishments were more important than the perceived ones of some well-meaning adult’s generous — and rose-colored — imagination.

Your hard work, not your Little League press clippings, got you to where you were on Thursday. There have been some obstacles and personal struggles along the way, Nick, but you earned the realization of your dream on Thursday.

It would be nice to see another athlete move his way up the ladder — using talents instead of the illusion of newspaper ink — like you did Nick. I think we both know how much of a thrill that would be.

But in today’s world of youth sports, that would be a dream and a fantasy.


Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2310, or by e-mail at bobp@herald-mail.com.


Saturday, 11 April 2009

RIP Nick Adenhart

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