SweetSpot: Nick Adenhart

Six major league players have been arrested for DUI since Jan. 1: Miguel Cabrera, Coco Crisp, Austin Kearns, Derek Lowe, Shin-Soo Choo and Adam Kennedy. Law enforcement is doing its job. Major League Baseball and the players' association is not. After the tragic death of Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock and the unfortunate death caused in an accident involving former Yankee Jim Leyritz in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., haven’t we learned our lesson?

How many more deaths will it take before baseball does something about this problem? Do we have to lose our children, parents, siblings or friends before we take action? Enough of the problem. Let’s find a solution.

Here are my ideas:

1. If convicted of a DUI, you receive the same punishment as testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs: a 50-game suspension without pay the first time; 100-game suspension for the second violation; and if there’s a third offense, you are banned for life. That is more than fair in an effort to save lives.

2. Bring parents who have lost their children to drunken driving accidents into each of the 30 clubhouses. Show the players pictures and videos of the 8-year-old children playing baseball the night before they were killed. Let the players see the parents crying while telling the story. Let them feel the lifetime of pain and agony that they have to live through.

3. Provide players with the phone numbers of cabs, town car or limo services in every city.

4. Implement a club rule: No drinking and driving, period. No exceptions.

In April 2006, I was arrested for DUI, and although the charges were later dropped, the process was a learning experience that changed my life. I spent considerable time learning the negative effects of drinking and driving, and never again will I have a single glass of wine, or a single bottle of beer and get behind the wheel of the car. It’s not worth it. I owe it to your family and friends, and you owe it to mine. I’m a proponent of saving lives and using cars as transportation, not as potential weapons.

Podcast: Phillips on the Angels

April, 10, 2009
ESPN's Steve Phillips discusses how he thinks the Angels will deal with the death of Nick Adenhart.

Friday Filberts

April, 10, 2009
Sorry, no snappy banter or little joke in this space today. Not in the mood. Maybe next week.

• Three years ago, Rich Lederer interviewed Nick Adenhart.

• Joshua Fruhlinger presents the best baseball tech of 2009 (and be sure to click through to No. 11 on the list).

• This time, Darryl Strawberry really seems to have turned his life around. Good for him. Does that mean it's time to retire his and Dwight Gooden's numbers? No way!

• Can Carlos Silva thrive while essentially throwing just one pitch? As Dave Cameron writes, it's certainly an interesting experiment.

• He's more than the answer to a trivia question; he's "Spook" Jacobs!

    He was drafted out of the Brooklyn Dodgers chain and joined the Athletics in the last season they called Philadelphia home. His opening day show, in which he grounded out only in his last at-bat, began an eventful 17-year Major League career.

    He stayed with the Athletics when they moved to Kansas City, then went to the Pittsburgh Pirates. But both before and during his time in the Majors, he had some pretty good years with other leagues.

Seventeen years in the majors? Wow. I didn't remember Jacobs having that kind of career.

Oh. He didn't. Jacobs spent three seasons -- well, one season and parts of two others -- in the majors (which is, of course, three more than I spent in the majors). Jacobs did bat .300 on the nose in 14 seasons, including a healthy .342 while playing Triple-A ball in 1956.

Wondering why I'm writing so much about a guy with 164 career hits in the majors? It's because, though I don't have much of a baseball card collection, for some reason I do have this one.

• Do you want to work in baseball? Or: Do you want to work for Baseball Prospectus? The latter has been known to lead to the former. Anyway, here's your big chance!

• Inspired by the odd sight of Garret Anderson in Braves livery, Bill Chuck presents a list of the players who have played the most games with their current teams.

• David Broder really, really, really likes the latest edition of The Dickson Baseball Dictionary. So do I.

Adenhart gone far too soon

April, 9, 2009

What a gut punch.

I don't want to belabor this point because it's been made before, and anyway, terrible coincidences don't tell us anything except that terrible coincidences are a part of our sometimes terrible existence. But the Angels must be the unluckiest franchise ever, and I don't know of another franchise that's even in the running.

• In 1965, rookie pitcher Dick Wantz earned a roster spot in the spring, then died of a brain tumor one month after making his major league debut.

• In 1968, reliever Minnie Rojas was paralyzed in an offseason car accident that killed his wife and two of his three children.

• In 1972, utility infielder Chico Ruiz was killed in a car accident.

• In 1974, rookie reliever Bruce Heinbechner was killed in a car accident.

• In 1977, shortstop Mike Miley was killed in a car accident.

• Near the end of the 1978 season, star outfielder Lyman Bostock -- with the Angels visiting Chicago -- drove to Gary, Ind., to see friends and family. That night, he was shot dead while sitting in the back of the car. His murderer was trying to kill someone else.

And then there were all the devastating injuries over the years: Ken McBride, Rick Reichardt, Bobby Valentine, Joe Rudi, Bobby Grich, Bruce Kison, Rick Burleson, Mo Vaughn ...

Not to mention the unfortunate nature of the 1986 American League Championship Series (which may have indirectly led to the death of Donnie Moore).

Last night, Nick Adenhart seemed terribly unlucky after the Angels' bullpen blew a big lead and cost him his second major league win. Today, that and everything else pale next to the 22-year-old pitcher's early and terrible end. Today, we can only offer our best wishes and our prayers to Adenhart's teammates, his friends, and especially to his family. Rest in peace, Nick. We hardly knew you.