This ‘N That

If you’re a regular reader of, you know that my wife and I have been planning for an eventual move to Florida.

We listed our house for sale last Sunday. The first couple to walk through made an offer for what we asked, so we’re in escrow.

We can easily fall out of escrow, of course, especially in this economy. But if everything goes as scheduled, we could be on our way to Florida by June 1.

How does this affect

Well, not much.

The main impact should be on Rancho Cucamonga, since I won’t be 45 miles away any more. I won’t be able to drive to Tempe any more, but U.S. Airways flies directly to Phoenix from Orlando so it’ll be just the cost of the flight and a rental car. Delta flies non-stop to Salt Lake City, so I expect to visit the Orem Owlz this summer.

This should make it a bit easier to visit Cedar Rapids and Arkansas, but we’ll see.

I’m tentatively planning to drive to Tempe for extended spring training games April 27-29, but that depends on what happens with escrow.

Owlz fans are familiar with Gandolfo’s Deli, an historic sandwich shop in the basement of what was once the Provo Angels offices until they moved to Orem. Gandolfo’s has opened a shop in Rancho Cucamonga, and the franchise has become a big sponsor of the Quakes. They’re at 9090 Milliken, at 7th Street. Give them a try; here’s their menu.

Has anybody managed to get the Bees webcast to work? Either we get the sports talk radio feed, or the link is bad, or just nothing happens on my end.

The Quakes asked me to write an article for their game program about my memories of Nick Adenhart. This is the original draft I gave them.

The first time I saw Nick Adenhart, he was a batboy.

No, he wasn’t ten years old, although he wasn’t much older. He was actually three weeks short of his eighteenth birthday, assigned to the Angels’ minor league complex in Arizona as he recovered from reconstructive elbow surgery.

Six months before, Nick was ranked by Baseball America as the top high school prospect in the nation. But just before the June 2004 draft, Adenhart blew out his elbow, and was viewed by most teams as too risky to select.

No problem, as far as the Angels were concerned. They selected Nick in the 14th round, offered him half of the usual first round bonus money that year, and paid for his surgery. With nothing else to do but heal, Adenhart was assigned to be the team batboy, collecting bats from the field between at-bats. His teammates nicknamed him “Doogie Howser” after the fictional TV teenage doctor.

A year later, Nick was healed, and on June 26, 2005 he made his professional debut in the Rookie-A Arizona League, pitching for the Mesa Angels against the Surprise Rangers. He got a late-season promotion to the Orem Owlz and won a game for them in the playoffs en route to a Pioneer League championship.

Adenhart’s 2006 season began with another promotion, to the Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels in the Midwest League. He started for the West Division in the league’s All-Star Game. In sixteen starts with the Kernels, Nick was 10-2 with a 1.95 ERA.

On July 2, 2006, Adenhart made his first start with the Advanced-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. He was six weeks from his 20th birthday. Nick made nine starts with the Quakes, posting a 5-2 record with a 3.78 ERA. He struck out 46 and walked only 16 in 52 1/3 innings.

Entering 2007, Baseball America named Adenhart the Angels’ #2 prospect behind former Quakes slugger Brandon Wood. He spent the season with the Double-A Arkansas Travelers, turning 21 on August 24. He was one of the youngest top pitching prospects in the minors, and opened 2008 with the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees, one step from the majors.

After injuries to starters John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar, the Angels called up Nick after only three Triple-A starts. On May 1, 2008, he made his major league debut against the A’s. Adenhart made three starts before returning to Salt Lake for the rest of the year.

During the spring of 2009, more starting pitcher injuries created more opportunities, and Nick was selected to begin the season with the Angels. On April 8, 2009, he pitched six shutout innings against the A’s. After the game, he was in a car with three friends when it was struck by an alleged drunk driver. Nick and two companions were killed, and the one survivor was left in critical condition.

Nick was a kind, humble, and calm soul. He pitched with an almost detached demeanor. He struggled in his three 2008 starts, perhaps in over his head, but when he joined the Angels this year he had far more confidence in himself. Angels fandom saw the real Nick Adenhart the night of April 8, and it will be the final memory they will have of him.

He was a long way from playing batboy in Mesa.

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