reels post

All about News

World News

Angels Broadcaster, Former Pitcher Still Going Strong After Life-Threatening Event

Approaching the four-year anniversary of a cardiac event that under most any other circumstances would have taken his life, Angels radio broadcaster and former major-league pitcher Mark Langston can joke about it.

That is, after all, how baseball players, and former baseball players, usually deal with adversity and frightening situations.

Mr. Langston was on the air just prior to a game at Houston’s Minute Maid Park on Sept. 20, 2019, having just finished delivering the starting lineups, when completely unexpectedly, he collapsed due to ventricular fibrillation. A type of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, the life-threatening condition requires immediate medical attention.

Had Mr. Langston suffered the episode at almost any other time, say while he was alone in a hotel room or even earlier in the day at the ballpark, he almost certainly would not have lived to tell about it. Only the fortuitous presence of Houston Police Department members nearby made the difference.

“If it wasn’t for the two police officers that were on me quickly doing CPR … that absolutely saved me from potential brain damage,” Mr. Langston told The Epoch Times. “A lot of my friends still question whether there is brain damage. That’s debatable, I guess.”

Portrait of Mark Langston #21 of the California Angels during their 1990 season game at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. (Markus Boesch/Getty Images)

Mr. Langston, 62, “felt totally normal, totally fine,” after being transported to a local hospital, “undergoing every test possible,” and sleeping for approximately two hours.

“I’m in ICU and people are fighting for their lives all around you, and my only thing was ‘Hey, can you tell me what channel ESPN is on?’” he said.

Mr. Langston returned to his radio duties a little more than a week later and is now in his 12th season in the Angels’ broadcast booth. He has become one of the constants for a franchise that has experienced multiple changes of announcers and, despite the presence of two of the game’s biggest superstars in pitcher-designated hitter Shohei Ohtani and currently injured outfielder Mike Trout, has failed to reach expectations in recent years.

“Mark studies the game as hard as anyone I know,” said Roger Lodge, who hosts the Angels pre-game show, as well as an afternoon call-in show, on the club’s flagship radio station, AM-830. “The insight that he brings is second to none. Every broadcast, Mark Langston gets better. You can hear the work he puts in, the preparation.”

A four-time all-star left-hander who won 179 games and three American League strikeout titles during 16 big-league seasons, including eight with the Angels, Mr. Langston didn’t fall into the same trap that plagues many former athletes turned broadcasters. On-air success requires far more than merely relaying old stories from their day.

“Mark was so quick to realize that it’s about the game,” Mr. Lodge said. “It’s about following the ball. It’s about insight on what that pitcher is doing right and what that pitcher is doing wrong, and what this guy should be doing with this particular hitter. … I tell everybody on my radio show every day, ‘Enjoy Mark Langston on the radio while you can, because we’ll probably be losing him to television any minute now.’”

Mr. Langston, though, is quite content with his life these days. He and his wife Michelle recently relocated to her hometown, Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she has opened a women’s boutique store.

“So, I get six months with my youngest daughter who lives out here in Dana Point, and then my oldest daughter and my oldest grandson are with us in Tennessee, so it’s kind of the best of both worlds,” Mr. Langston said. “I’ve enjoyed being around the game of baseball. Now it’s fun to sit around and look at it from a different perspective.”

Of course, work is always more enjoyable for a broadcaster when the team is winning. The Angels started well this season but have since fallen on hard times, having lost nine of their past 10 games entering this weekend’s home series against the defending World Series champion Houston Astros.

A rash of key injuries, including one expected to sideline Trout for probably at least another month, has greatly jeopardized the Angels’ chances of reaching post-season play for the first time since 2014. Mr. Langston, though, has retained optimism, hoping that players such as Trout, third baseman Anthony Rendon, utility man Brandon Drury, rookie shortstop Zach Neto, and relief pitcher Matt Moore can return from injuries to make significant contributions.

“You ride the roller-coaster wave of the success or failures of a team a lot more, it seems, as a broadcaster than I ever did down in the locker room,” Mr. Langston said. “It’s a weird scenario. They have the two greatest players on the planet and just the success, it’s there and then it disappears, and then it comes back and then it disappears.”

Of course, there is also the looming drama surrounding Ohtani, who is set to become a free agent after this season. If the Angels aren’t in playoff contention just ahead of the Aug. 1 trade deadline, do they trade him and recoup some assets or risk being left with nothing if he signs with another team?

Epoch Times Photo
Shohei Ohtani (17) of the Los Angeles Angels reacts during the 93rd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at T-Mobile Park in Seattle on July 11, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

A native of Japan, Ohtani has perhaps already locked up the American League’s most valuable player award with a never-before-seen combination of two-way prowess. He leads the major leagues with 32 home runs and owns a 7–4 record with a 3.32 earned run average and 132 strikeouts in 100 1/3 innings pitched.

“Man, it’s hard to imagine what he’s doing,” Mr. Langston said. “I did one-half of what he does, and I know the preparation and how much went into that, just to get ready for a start. To see that, and then he has to put that same amount of effort into preparing for that night’s [opposing] pitcher, preparing to get his swing right and all the little nuances involved in that. Just the workload alone blows your mind. You could ask any player that’s probably ever played the game and they will say it might be the greatest feat they’ve ever seen, maybe in any sport.”

Fortunately for Mr. Langston, and for baseball fans, he’s here to talk about Ohtani, and everything else Angels.

“God’s timing is what it is, and I’m very blessed to have the second chance,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *