We scream at them when they don’t get that clutch hit. We curse at them when they walk that runner with bases loaded. We hate them when they bat .188.
We love them when they are doing super-human things.
It’s hard to remember sometimes that they are just human. They are simply really good at something we aren’t.
And then, when the reality of their humanity hits home like it did yesterday with the Angels’ Tyler Skaggs, it’s all too sobering.
The Angels seem to have more than their fair share of bad luck.
In 1978, budding superstar Lyman Bostock was gunned down in Gary, Indiana, in the passenger seat of a car a few hours after playing a game against the White Sox, on his way to visit his uncle. Bostock was one of the first big money free agents, singing with the Angels for $2.3 million for six years. After his first month hitting .150, he attempted to give back his salary, saying he hadn’t earned it. The Angels front office refused, replying that they weren’t going to make him pay them back if he’s hitting .150 because if he hits .600 they sure as heck weren’t going to pay him more. He died at age 27.
In 2009, Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart just thrown six shutout innings in just his third major league game. After the game, he was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Adenhart was the number three starter in the Angels rotation in 2009, and the Angels number one prospect. He died at the age of 22.
And then, yesterday, in the middle of the afternoon, Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room. Skaggs was born in Los Angeles, went to high school at Santa Monica High, where his mom was the long-time high school softball coach who would often offer post-game tips and critique of his pitching performances. He was the Angels first-round pick in 2009, the same year Adenhart died. He was traded to Arizona, where he made his major league debut in 2012. The Diamonbacks traded him back to the Angels in 2014. He sat out 2015 with Tommy John surgery.
It’s way too early to know what caused it. And way too early for him to leave this earth. Skaggs was just 27.
It’s hard to remember these guys are human. Until they become all too human.
Rest in peace, Tyler Skaggs.
Jose Suarez (2-1, 5.57) vs. Mike Minor (8-4, 2.40)
Game time: 7:05