July 2, 2019

This is Painfully All Too Familiar

Not again, Oh no, please - not again.

Tyler Skaggs is gone.  Unfortunately for Angels fans, this is an all-too-familiar place.  We’ve been here before.  It’s not a comfortable place.  It’s a very sad and very confusing place and we will never, ever get used to it.

We Angels fans, like every other fan base often use terms like “us” and “we” when discussing our favorite team.  That speaks to the level of connection we have with our team.  We experience the emotional highs and lows that go along with winning and losing.  Even though it may be a bit silly, we feel that the team’s victories are also our victories.  

We all lost Tyler Skaggs,  but… this loss is not about us.

This time is about Tyler’s family and those that were close to him.  Our thoughts and our prayers go out to them as they try to manage their grief, their sorrow and their pain.

I don’t know how the Angels move forward from this.  I really don’t.  Baseball is hard enough as it is. 

Perhaps we fans can play a role in helping the team move forward by simply showing up.  It’s time to show how much we care and that when we say “we” and “us” we really mean it.  

It is my hope that on July 12 when the Angels return home for their first home game since Tyler's passing, Angels fans show up in huge numbers. We need to show up even if it's hard. We need to show up even if we don't want to because again, it's not about us and showing up matters.

We also "show up" by telling stories.  It’s important to tell the stories that speak to a time when we might have had an interaction with Tyler that meant something special to us.  We share the good things we’ve read or heard about Tyler too. We recount those stories to others and in doing so we all remember. 

We remember that Tyler Skaggs was one of us. We remember that Tyler Skaggs competed at the highest level and he sought out victories so that we could experience joy.   

We are also thankful for having had the opportunity to be connected to him in some small way.  He may not have known our names, but he definitely felt our presence every time he stepped on a baseball field. Tyler showed up for us and now it's time for us to do the same.

We will all miss Tyler Skaggs, but more importantly – we will never forget him.

March 20, 2019

Worth the Wait

The Angels haven’t had a history of iconic players who they could call their very own.  There isn’t a guy out there, whose storied career and great accomplishments are tied solely to the Angels.

Of the players whose numbers have been retired by the Angels - Rod Carew is better known as a Twin and Nolan Ryan, an Astro and a Ranger.  There are even members of the team’s own Hall of Fame who are better known for being a part of other franchises. 

Until Vladimir Guerrero was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame, they didn’t have anyone representing the team in Cooperstown and Vlad put up most of his Hall of Famer numbers in Montreal.

Tim Salmon is the closest thing the Angels have to an iconic figure who played his entire career in Anaheim and although he is very much beloved by the Anaheim faithful, he’s not a Hall of Famer or an all-time baseball great by any means.  Salmon never even made an all-star game, unfortunately.

That all changed with the news that Mike Trout will be Angel for his entire career.  For the first time in the franchise’s 58 year history – they have a player who can be mentioned in the same breath as Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson and other greats, who they can also call their very own.

It’s been a long time coming and quite frankly, it’s been worth the wait.

If you’re going to wait 50+ years to find such a player – might as well have that player the greatest player in the history of baseball.  Yes, I said greatest ever.  If you want to debate that fine – but he’s at least in that very limited conversation.

The Trout extension is quite possibly, the most significant event in the history of the franchise (outside of the 2002 World Series). 

Just up the road – the Dodgers can claim ownership of names like Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax and Duke Snider.  Down south – the Padres can boast about Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman. 

As great as those names are – Trout’s overall statistical career is going to better than all of them.

Name a team and who comes to mind?  Cardinals – Stan Musial and Bob Gibson.  Cubs – Ernie Banks.  Reds – Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan.  Pirates – Roberto Clemente.  And now whenever anyone mentions the Angels – the one name that will always be associated with the franchise is Mike Trout.

It’s a beautiful thing.

What’s even more beautiful about all of this is that Mike Trout is even a better human being than he is a baseball player.  He does amazing things out of the public eye and away from the spotlight.  I’m quite certain we don’t even have anywhere near an idea of just how much he does for others.

I can’t think of another baseball player I would rather have my favorite team be associated with.

He may be the most humble superstar on the face of the planet.  His humbleness is even greater than his talent.  He doesn’t seek the spotlight.  He doesn’t seek accolades. He lets his play do all of his talking and his talent screams at us every time he steps on a baseball field. 

All he wants to do is play baseball.  I am beyond thankful – that he’ll be doing just that in Anaheim for the next 12 years.