Unlike baseball, life does have a clock.
Whether we like it or not, we aren't getting out of here alive, and every time a young person passes away, it's a fateful reminder to not take this whole thing for granted.
Los Angeles Angels pitcher, Tyler Skaggs, just threw five shutout innings against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Sunday Night Baseball eight days ago. He was going to turn 28 years old a week from Saturday. He was a California native living the dream.
He passed away suddenly Monday in a hotel in Southlake, Texas. No foul play was reported by the local police, and there are no answers provided at this time about the case of his death. That will come later.
For now, it's a good time to sit back, take a look around, and appreciate the air that you are breathing. Pardon me if I am being sentimental, but life comes at you fast when you are least paying attention to your mortality.
An example: I spent the better part of the past 48 hours worrying about my car. The brakes were squealing early Sunday morning, causing me to acknowledge that money was going to be transferred from my bank account to a car repair shop soon. As I drove it up to Midas today, I was going over in my head what it could be. It's like taking your car to the doctor.
I didn't even think about waking up tomorrow. I didn't think about my son living until 27. Or what tragedy would await me next. That's the thing about life. Danger sits at every corner and turn, but we are stubborn about its effect, no matter how often we see other lives cut short.
I didn't know Skaggs or even know much of him before he took the mound against the Cardinals on that Sunday night. He was just another arm standing in the way of a Cardinal sweep. I wanted him to get rocked or at least give up a few runs towards the path of a St. Louis win. Skaggs instead gave up zero runs in five innings, and the Angels won. His efforts were overshadowed by the return of a certain former Cardinal named Albert Pujols.
Speaking of Pujols, this is the third time he has played on a team where a teammate suddenly died during the season. Darryl Kile passed away in Chicago a little over 17 years ago, and Josh Hancock died in early 2007. I can't imagine what's going through his mind, seeing another young teammate pass. Kile was 33 years old and Hancock had just turned 29.
Athletes seem like untouchable beings to fans at times. Since they are playing at the highest level of a sport, there is often the perception that they can escape the hazards that sit on every human being's road every single day of their life. It's an emotional misconception that never gets old.
The collateral damage with these deaths is always tough to swallow.
Kile had a wife and kids. Skaggs was married, and according to ESPN reporter Alden Gonzalez, a great guy and momma's boy.
Skaggs last pitched in Oakland on Saturday night, going 4.1 innings and allowing two earned runs. One last time pitching under his California roof. It was his seventh season. He won 28 games in his Major League career, but sadly, he will not reach 28 years of age. Reason 82,291 that life is not fair, and shouldn't be taken for granted.
Unlike baseball, life does have a clock. Time will tick off, and you will be gone. Make it count, ladies and gents. Make it all count.