Watch: Laughter Turns to Tears Following Angels' First Game After Pitcher's Death


The Los Angeles Angels played their first game Tuesday after the tragic death of teammate Tyler Skaggs, and they paid tribute to their teammate and friend.

“To lose somebody like him, it’s tough,” Angels superstar Mike Trout said of Skaggs, fighting back the tears during a news conference in Arlington, Texas, after a game against the Rangers.

Skaggs, 27, was found unconscious Monday in his hotel room in Southlake, north of Arlington, and after police arrived he was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of death is unknown.

“My first at-bat, I get up there and all I do is think about him,” Trout said, surrounded by his teammates. “I talked to Brad [Ausmus, Angels manager] in the hotel, actually before the game, and it’s just a different feeling. … I’m just in shock. I’m walking around the hotel and you just always think about him.”

“It’s going to be tough, but like Brad said, getting to the game and playing through the game got our minds off it but it’s bigger than the game,” Trout said. “The friendship and the love I had for him and his family … it’s more than that.”

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The Rangers held a moment of silence before the game at Globe Life Park in Arlington for Skaggs. Angels pitchers Andrew Heaney and Cam Bedrosian held up Skaggs’ jersey, No. 45, during the moment of silence. They then hung his jersey in their dugout during the game.

After the game, Heaney, who was Skaggs’ best friend on the team, couldn’t contain his emotions.

“That was just kind of something unplanned,” he said about bringing Skaggs’ jersey out to the field. “His jersey was hanging in his locker, and we wanted to take him out here with us one more time.”

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“He meant so much to all of us,” the pitcher said, breaking down as Trout hugged him for support.

“He was definitely my best friend,” Heaney said. “There are probably about 100 other people out there who would say that he was their best friend too because he treated everybody like that. He just had such an infectious personality.”

Angels outfielder Justin Upton made everyone laugh with a comment that Skaggs would have said about the team. But then that laughter soon turned to tears.

“Right now he’d be saying we’re nasty,” Upton said, bringing a moment of levity to the room.

“Honestly, there was nobody happier to win a ballgame than Skaggs,” Upton said. “Every time he came off the mound and got done pitching, he would stay in the dugout and pump the guys up. And he’d go upstairs and wait in that hallway when we’d win a ball game. There was no more energy than he brought.”

The Rangers painted 45 on the mound in honor of Skaggs.

His loss was felt throughout the league. Washington Nationals pitcher Patrick Corbin, a good friend of Skaggs, wore No. 45 as he pitched a gem in the Nats’ 3-2 win over the Marlins on Tuesday.

“There’s no playbook on how it’s supposed to go today and how you’re supposed to act and react,” Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun said after the game, USA Today reported.

Calhoun went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs to lead the Angels to a 9-4 win Tuesday.

“It kind of felt right, you know?” he said. “When I got to the plate, it just felt right to pay some respects to him. You know we’ve got an Angel watching over us.”

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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