In the Angels’ first home game after Tyler Skaggs’ unexpected death last July, a combined no-hitter and blowing the Mariners out. It’s still surreal.
For those of us indulging baseball games past while awaiting the end of the game’s coronavirus isolation, you can find no few heart-warmers among the available survivors. Few may grip as profoundly as how the Los Angeles Angels paid a final tribute to their fallen pitcher Tyler Skaggs, in their first home game following his unexpected death last July.
The way they did it didn’t just defy belief, it drove belief almost as far out of Angel Stadium last July 12 as Mike Trout’s two-run homer flew out in the bottom of the first. On the night before Skaggs would have turned 28, they threw a combined no-hitter and sank the Seattle Mariners all the way to Davy Jones’s Locker while they were at it.
A Friday night that ended in a 13-0 blowout only began with a 45-second, pre-game moment of silence in Skaggs’ memory, the time in honor of his uniform number. The Angels one and all wore Skaggs’ number 45 for the moment and for the game. Some dared call that tempting the baseball demigods, others dared call it divine inspiration.
After the Angels deposited the game squarely into the bank, nobody really knew what to call it. I didn’t know what to call it, either, and I watched the game from the opening pitch to the game-ending ground out. Assuming God was available for comment, even He Himself might have been lost for words, and His words are usually the best words any side of heaven.
“Tyler’s birthday is 7/13. Tomorrow,” said Trout following the game. “They’d tell you to rewrite this script to make it more believable if you turned this in.” Which is pretty astute coming from a guy who claimed to be speechless over what he and his mates just did.
Skip to slide three for an abbreviated play-by-play of the game.