August 23, 2011

The love affair continues

We don’t really know Jered Weaver all that well. I mean, as fans – we get a glimpse of his personality every now and then and his character is often on full display in game situations, but when all is said and done – we don’t know Jered.

But we do know things about Jered and over the years, he’s given us an idea of who he really is. It’s all we have, but it’s enough for us to paint a picture of the man.

We know he’s emotional and his family is very important to him. How do we know this?

We saw him write his grandparents initials into the dirt behind the mound the first time he stepped on a diamond; a tradition he continued every time he stepped on the mound for several years. He has spoken often about how much they meant to him.

We saw him at the 2006 World Series, dressed in full Cardinals gear cheering for his brother Jeff as the Cardinals went on to win a championship. Jered Weaver, the major league pitcher played the role of "little brother" proudly.

Weaver began his career wearing #56, but he now wears his brother's #36.

We saw him carry the pain of losing his friend and teammate Nick Adenhart in 2009. He and Nick were to be roommates that year and the agony of losing him was evident all year long. We saw him honor his fallen teammate by writing his initials into the mound every time he stepped on the field. By the way - tomorrow would have been Nick Adenhart's 25th birthday and guess who will be on the mound?

I watched him intently the day he faced off against his brother Jeff, who was pitching for the Dodgers (June 20, 2009). I noticed that he kept looking over at his brother, hoping to make eye contact – only to be ignored. Jered and the Angels would lose that game and Jered would give up an uncharacteristic six runs. I speculated that competing against his own flesh and blood was too much for him and that his brother had psyched him out by not interacting with him before the game.

We saw him carry Adenhart’s jersey onto the field after the Angels clinched the American League West pennant.

We’ve seen him deflect the spotlight from himself and turn around and give all the credit to his teammates time after time.

We saw him step into the role of the “lead dog” when John Lackey departed. He didn’t seek the role of being the ace of the team – he was simply born for it and he earned it with his play on the field.

Yes, we even some him implode when he felt he was being disrespected in Detroit. I even called him “selfish” and although I do believe he was on that particular occasion; I would have to say he is anything but “selfish” when all is said and done.

Like I said, Jered Weaver wears his emotions on his sleeve.

Over the years, we’ve also seen him taking time for autographs and pictures at spring training. He’s as approachable as any player in the game.

Now that he’s signed for the next five years – Weaver has cemented his relationship with Angels fans for life. He’s one of us. In a day and age when loyalty is fleeting, Weaver demonstrated something that Angel fans will never forget.

His loyalty was evident today at his press conference – which I was able to listen to on-line and once again – we got a glimpse into just who he is.

Weaver said it best when he simply said, “I couldn’t see myself anywhere else but here.” Yes, Angel fans – this is a glorious day.

Weaver’s emotions were on display yet again during the press conference. He referenced the alumni in attendance (Bobby Grich and Chuck Finley) and said he wanted to be a part of that “brotherhood.”

He broke up when he thanked his mom and dad, who have played a huge role in his life.

When asked about leaving money on the table, he replied;”How much more can you possibly need?” He went on to say that he doesn’t play this game for money; he plays it “for love and for championships.”

He also said “Loyalty is very important to me.” It’s important to us fans too Jered and we thank you for your dedication to this organization and the fans that support it. Angel fans love Jered Weaver (we've loved him from the beginning) and it's clear he loves us back.

Rock on Jered Weaver, rock on.