While authorities continue to search for the cause of death for Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, his former teammates are finally opening up about their memories of the 27-year-old. The Angels and Rangers held a moment of silence before their game Tuesday night and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Mike Trout, a New Jersey native and huge Philadelphia Eagles fan, broke down in tears talking about Skaggs and remembering the good times they enjoyed together after the Angels’ 9-4 win Tuesday night. Trout admitted that he couldn’t fight the extreme emotion coursing through his veins during his first at-bat of the game.
“We lost a teammate, we lost a friend, a brother,” Trout told reporters, via CBS Sports. “We just gotta get through it. Skaggs was an unbelievable person. It was tough playing out there today, like [manager] Brad [Ausmus] said earlier, Skaggs wouldn’t have wanted us to take another day off. All these guys in here, I see these guys as more than my family. To lose somebody like him, it’s tough. My first at-bat, I get up there, all I do is think about him. It’s bigger than the game. The friendship and love I had for him and his family, it’s more than that.”
Rewind the clock to January 2018. Trout and Skaggs attended the Eagles-Vikings NFC Championship Game together in Philadelphia, an impressive feat considering that Skaggs was a lifelong Vikings fan. Trout, wearing one of those lucky Eagles underdog masks, is seen playfully trolling Skaggs and his wife in a series of videos posted by NBC10’s John Clark. Trout claimed he turned Skaggs into an Eagles fan.
Skaggs grew up in Southern California but gravitated toward the Vikings due to Los Angeles not having a pro football team when he was growing up. That, and he really liked Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper.
“I grew up being a big fan of Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper. I loved the Vikings. It was like a weird trend,” Skaggs told Vikings.com in May 2019. “I watch every Sunday and go to this hometown bar.”
He even got to meet a bunch of the current Vikings players prior to a Twins-Angels game back in May, including Kyle Rudolph, Kirk Cousins, Harrison Smith, Everson Griffen and Eric Kendricks.
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The Angels painted Skaggs’ No. 45 on the pitcher’s mound Tuesday night and they will wear a No. 45 patch in his honor for the remainder of the season. Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in Texas, but no cause of death has been determined. Suicide and foul play have been ruled out by police.