Like many Angels fans, the news of Tyler Skaggs’ passing immediately made me think back to the morning of Nick Adnehart’s death. Initial sadness followed by the thought of “not again.” Then I remembered all the references to Lymon Bostock in the days following Adenhart.
And then the thought came, “this can’t be happening again.”
The link between Skaggs and Adenhart is too obvious. Both were young, both pitchers, both drafted by the Angels. Both had more career ahead of them than behind them and both finally seemed to be coming into their own.
And there’s a deeper connection with homegrown players. Yes, Tyler took a detour to Arizona but he was drafted here and brought back at such a young age he felt like a lifelong Halo.
No disrespect to Luis Valbuena, whose infectious smile and bat flips left us over the off season, but there’s a clearer path from today to April 9, 2009. And the thought of Valbuena brought back that thought, “this can’t be happening again.”
But then I took a deep breath, and realized it isn’t.
No, to the people who truly matter, the loved ones in Skaggs life, this is not happening again. This is happening for the first time. Just like it was the first time for Valbuena’s family, Adenhart’s family, and Bostock’s.
This is the first time they’ve lost a son, a brother, a husband, their friend Tyler Skaggs. Hopefully, in a literal sense this will be the only time they lose a son, a brother, or a husband.
But grief is a cruel, unpredictable thing. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows that grief comes back in unexpected, often brutal ways. The big dates are almost easier because you can see them coming: a birthday, anniversary, for Skaggs family probably Opening Day.
The moments that can knock you to your knees and leave you feeling hollow are generally out of the blue; a song, a commercial they liked, a favorite movie on TV. One of the so called little things.
Skaggs' family will have that to face for the rest of their lives. For them, this will happen again in a figurative sense.
I understand the narrative, “again.” MLB Network, ESPN, even the Padres telecast I’m watching as I type this mentioned the previous deaths. The OC Register is running a piece linking all the death.
But this isn’t about Nick, or Lymon, or a curse. At this time, this is about Tyler, his loss and nothing more.
Yes, we as fans should grieve this moment. We have a connection with these players in one form or another. I take solace in the fact that Tyler lived most of the important moments in life. He had a great relationship with his mom, he fell in love with a girl, he married that girl. And he fulfilled his childhood dream of playing Major League Baseball.
Far too many people I know have received the worst news possible, that their child has died. One of whom is my aunt, who is quite possibly the most loving person I know. She deals with the loss of her son with an unshakable faith that God gives us our loved ones for a limited time and when that time is up, it is up. I can’t imagine her grief.
I can’t imagine the grief Tyler’s mom is feeling right now. But I know for the Skaggs family, this doesn’t keep happening. It happened today, and it will happen a lot of not-so-little times for the rest of their lives. And for that, I offer my deepest sympathies and prayers.