The game was canceled, yet they still came. Angels fans, all of them somber, many in tears, flocked to Angel Stadium on Thursday to pay their respects to Pitcher Nick Adenhart. The young rookie and two others were killed in a tragic car accident just hours after he pitched six scoreless innings Wednesday night against Oakland.
A makeshift memorial sprung up outside the stadium's home plate entrance. Flowers, jerseys and messages of love colored the concourse. The gathering grew as the hours progressed. Some wore newly made T-shirts in honor of their fallen hero. A written note on a red balloon summed up the mood of the crowd: "You Are An Angel Now."
Coaches and teammates arrived at the stadium with no game to play and no words to speak. The team met with Nick's father Jim Adenhart. They prayed with him and shared words of support after the sudden loss of a beloved member of their family.
Teammate Torii Hunter called Adenhart a great guy, well-liked in the clubhouse.
"Losing a teammate is tough because you're dealing with baseball. Every time you come to the stadium, it's going to be tough. Looking at Nick Adenhart's locker, it's tough," Hunter said.
Eventually the tears and sadness will go away, but teammates and fans will not soon forget a young star taken too soon. Nick Adenhart was 22 years old.