Absent from the memorial process, though is merchandising; they don’t sell t-shirts at funerals, after all. To that end, when you try to order a Nick Adenhart jersey at MLB.com, the site rejects the order. It’s not out of reverence for the Adenhart family, though; it’s apparently a strange roster-based idiosyncrasy:
“Your current entry cannot be processed. Some entries are prohibited due to guidelines for past and present player names. Please create a new entry.”
You’re probably reading that and thinking, “huh?” So was DEADSPIN, who got a response from the league:
“The reason, according to MLB reps, is that the system won’t allow use of real players that aren’t on a current roster. So, if you wanted to have a ‘Sheets, 15′ shirt or some other actual player that might be on a current team, you’re not going to get the jersey you want. Even if your name is ‘Miranda Sheets’, your favorite number is ‘15′ and your favorite team is the Brewers, you’re out of luck. That’s just how the system works.”
The problem is this: Adenhart’s death is going to be a source of grief for the organization and its fans for, undoubtedly, the rest of the season, even as it fades out of the news cycle and peoples’ immediate consciousness. To buy a jersey like that brings back the pain for any Angels fan who sees it, perpetuating a somber mood when, at some point, the fans will need to start associating happiness with the team again.
Furthermore, once the years start piling up, what happens to the jerseys? Do you really want to be the first person to put yours on eBay to try to get $30 out of it? We’re not sure if the Angels have an acrimonious rivalry with anyone, but suppose an especially devious Oakland fan starts wearing one. Would anything be so guaranteed to get a reaction out of people than wearing one of these, or giving it to someone?
The inimitable ‘Duk over at BIG LEAGUE STEW says this:
Why MLB can’t — or won’t? — pay an Internet engineer to fix up a workaround on that ordering system is beyond me, but if it’s really a problem, why not make a special t-shirt with all the proceeds going to benefit the Nick Adenhart Memorial Fund or Angels charities? Hopefully a plan like that it is in the works, because there’s definitely a better way.
We’re inclined to agree. Instead of selling normal Adenhart memorabilia, it’s up to the league to create a shirt that A) acknowledges the tragedy, removing any “shock” value therein, and B) funnels all proceeds to the family of the one survivor of the crash, who was just upgraded to serious condition. The sooner, the better.