July 15, 2019
Erie 13s and 45s
Last Friday night the Los Angeles Angels were playing at home hosting the Seattle Mariners and the night was dedicated to the memory of the late Tyler Skaggs, a member of the Angels who tragically passed away on July 1.
Just 27 years of age, the cause of his death is yet to be revealed but he was discovered unresponsive in his hotel room in Texas. On Friday, his mother Debbie Hetman threw out the first pitch and then history took place. The final score on July 12 was 13-0. But more importantly it was a combined no-hitter by the Angels as Taylor Cole and Felix Pena became the pitchers of record to score the no-no.
Tyler Skaggs was born on July 13, just a day after Friday’s game. He would be been 28. His jersey number was 45 and everyone on the Angels wore the number with his name on Friday, the first home game for Los Angeles since his passing. Now the eerie part. Not only did the Angels score 13 runs, they also had EXACTLY 13 hits. This a day before the 13th just hours removed from the end of the game. Mike Trout of the Angels had a home run during the game that traveled exactly “450” feet. 45 again. The time of the game was 2 hours and 54 minutes and if the minutes were reversed, what do you get?
In the first inning when Los Angeles scored seven times, 13 batters stepped to the plate before the third out was made. For the losing Mariners, two of the pitchers that threw in the game, Matt Wisler and Cory Gearrin both posted an ERA in their two innings of work combined of 4.50. Crazy. Trout’s dinger also came in his very first at-bat. Trout also was a good friend of Skaggs.
Making this even more of a question whether this was fate or coincidence is that this was the 13th combined no-hitter in the history of Major League Baseball. One last head scratcher…the last time a combined no-no was tossed in the state of California came on July 13, 1991 when the Baltimore Orioles no-hit the Oakland A’s 2-0. The pitchers of record for Baltimore were Bob Milacki , Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson, and Gregg Olson.
These kind of things just don’t happen often so you have to believe it happened for a reason. That reason was perhaps the spirit of Tyler Skaggs cheering on his teammates and making his presence felt. For curiosity sake, others who wore the #45 not just for the Angels but other teams in history is a bit interesting…
Coming off the All-Star break the Pittsburgh Pirates found themselves just 2 ½ games behind the division lead in the National League Central. Today, they are on a three game losing skid and now 5 ½ games back of the Chicago Cubs who spent the weekend sweeping the Bucs in their three game series and clobbering them along the way winning yesterday 8-3. On Saturday it was a 10-4 drubbing of the Buccos. The series opened with a close game, Pittsburgh getting edged 4-3.
Now Pittsburgh is in St. Louis for a series that begins tonight and the Cardinals are three back from Chicago trailing the Brewers by ½ game. It appears that the Pirates’ only chance to be in the playoffs would be to win their division despite being just 3 ½ back in the wild card race but they need to find their groove again that they had just before the All-Star break.
Just One Punch
If you missed any of UFC Fight Night 155: Sacramento on Saturday, the main event was a women’s bout between a former champion in Germaine de Randamie and the unbeaten Aspen Ladd. Ladd has some extreme difficulties making weight and the weigh-in on Friday she barely made it to the scale appearing sickly. Not a good start to keep her record clean.
When the main event finally went down, it took the Randamie just 16 seconds and one big punch to end the affair, scoring a TKO over Ladd and handing the younger and smaller fighter the first loss of her career. The initial reaction to Herb Dean stopping the fight on one punch was it was an early stoppage. But after further review, he probably did Ladd a favor because she was down and vulnerable to what would have been an onslaught of punches from Randamie who used to be an outstanding kick boxer.
The night was more highlighted by the return from retirement of Sacramento native Urijah Faber. At 40 years old, not many were expecting a solid performance from the former WEC champion including yours truly. His opponent was a fresher and younger Ricky Simon. But Faber landed a perfect solid punch in the first round and then swarmed Simon for the stoppage at 0:46. Faber then called out Henry Cejudo which would be a very intriguing fight and I would like nothing more than to see Faber shut his big mouth.
Finally there was Josh Emmett in the featherweight division who continues to pound out opponents as this tme Mirsad Bektic becamse the victim also in the first round.
How many of you remember the quarterback controversy of 1998’s NFL draft? Going numbers one and two were Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf. The problem was that Indianapolis who had the first pick was trying to decide which the better option was. In learning that Leaf had a disfavor for the city of Indianapolis and its team, the Colts chose Manning. The Chargers were next and they scooped up Leaf who had a pretty solid college career at Washington State University.
The rest is history. Manning is a Hall of Famer to-be. Leaf was a bust and out of pro football within five years. Then he went to experience substance abuse problems and spent time in jail. But Leaf has resurfaced onto the national scene and this time it will be behind the mike. Leaf has joined ESPN as a college football analyst and will join Clay Matvick for games telecast on ESPN2 and ESPNU. Leaf has already been employed by the Pac-12 Network in 2018 and co-hosts a show on SiriusXM's Pac-12 channel.
Congratulations to Novak Djokovic who defeated Roger Federer again yesterday to take the men’s Wimbledon final defending the championship he won in 2018. The final scores were 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, and 13-12 (3). In the women’s final Serena Williams was no match for Simona Halep losing in straight sets 6-2 and 6-2. It was the first Wimbledon title for the Romanian Halep and only her second Grand Slam title ever previously having won the French Open last year.
That Time Again
The Pittsburgh Steelers training camp is just a few short weeks away as the team convenes for the Summer ritual at St. Vincent’s College on July 26 and will close shop and be read for the season on August 15. If you are interested in attending, the public is welcome to watch practices daily from noon until 6:00 p.m.