I’m a huge fan of Jered Weaver. But it’s not just me who loves him. Angels fans as a whole support him. He’s the Angels’ ace for a reason, watching him pitch is a how-to for any aspiring pitcher. He doesn’t have to throw 100 MPH like Justin Verlander or Aroldis Chapman and blow the ball by hitters to get them out. Instead, he uses deception and accuracy in each pitch so his off-speeds compliment his fastballs, making his velocity seem comparable to pitchers whose velocity is greater, and he’s proven that for years as an elite pitcher in the Majors.
On top of that, he’s a force on the mound, a fierce competitor with an intimidating presence who backs it up with his game, which commands recognition from opponents. Watching interviews with him off the mound, he seems like a laid-back guy, the kind of attitude expected from Californians, but I’ve been able to witness for years that Jered Weaver is even more than that perception would lead to believe.
He’s shown he can be a firecracker
When Jered pitched in Detroit against the Tigers on June 27th I was watching Quick Pitch on the MLB Network. They started talking about the match up of Weaver vs. Doug Fister and opened saying that Jered Weaver was voted one of the most hated athletes in Detroit. The reason why dates back to July of 2011. Another game in Detroit pitched by Jered, this one billed a pitchers’ duel, two post season hopefuls’ aces facing each other: Justin Verlander vs. Jered Weaver. I watched the highlights they played, thought back to that game, I remembered watching it and the zeal illustrated in it.
The game got out of hand when it was interpreted that Magglio Ordonez appreciated his home run off Weaver too long and took his time to run the bases (which Jered expressed his displeasure at). Carlos Guillen followed that up by not only relishing his home run, but showboating, looking at Weaver after he hit it and taking a couple of hops down the line while still looking at him, despite knowing how mad it would make any pitcher. Sure enough, Jered was mad, he concluded his outing when he threw above the head of next batter, Alex Avila, which was construed as trying to throw at his head, and led to Jered being ejected and given a 6 game suspension, his passion was apparent as he left that game.
He’s shown reliability and respect
While fans realize his great enthusiasm when playing and admire that he’s the proven ace of the staff, those aren’t the only reasons he’s beloved in Anaheim. Probably the biggest reason he’s so highly regarded at home is the loyalty he’s shown. In August 2011 he signed a deal for $85 million to keep him with the Angels for another 5 years. At a time when players are leaving organizations left and right for the most lucrative deal possible, Jered made it known that he didn’t want to be a free agent, didn’t want to see how much more money he could make in a bidding war that was sure to ensue for his services, and told his agent, the infamous Scott Boras, to get a deal done.
He’s shown fierce loyalty
Another anecdote that accounts for the affection felt by fans happened Friday evening. Twitter exploded with reports that Jered Weaver’s wife, Kristin, had given birth to their first child earlier that day. Then word of what they named their firstborn child trickled down: Aden David Weaver. When the name was first announced there was speculation that it was in honor of Nick Adenhart, who tragically died in a car crash when a drunk driver hit the car he was in just hours after he made his season debut for the Angels on April 8, 2009, throwing 6 innings of scoreless ball. Ever since then, Jered has written his initials, NA, on the back of the mound when he pitches to commemorate him, and not long after the speculation began about the Weavers’ naming their first son Aden as a tribute to his fallen teammate, it was confirmed that it was true. The name was in memoriam to Nick.
These are just a few of the many reasons fans have for applauding Jered Weaver. I commend him for all he has given to Angels fans and the organization and write this as my ode to him on behalf of Jered Weaver fans everywhere. It is a small thing, but it’s written as an acknowledgment of what he’s done, in gratitude as a fan, and to publicly declare that we do appreciate him.