If you're a fan of the Los Angeles Angels -- heck, even Major League Baseball -- the only thing you can say about last Friday's rout of Seattle is, "This was Tyler Skaggs' night."
Less than two weeks after the star pitcher for the Angels was found dead in a hotel room, on the night of what would have been his 28th birthday, came a game that could be called one for the ages.
An emotional pre-game ceremony, on the first night after the All-Star break. A combined no-hitter by Taylor Cole and Felix Pena, the first such game since -- ironically enough -- the day Skaggs was born.
And, of course, the pre-requisite rout of the Mariners.
Yes, Seattle is not exactly a contender this year, mired 19 games below .500 and 21.5 games behind American League West-leader Houston. A decisive win was the likely outcome on this night, what with a team that was looking for an emotional win vs. a team that is struggling mightily and some say might finish with 100 losses. Then again, even a team like Houston, or Minnesota or the New York Yankees -- the three AL divisional leaders -- probably would have been hard-pressed to compete with the Angels on this night.
But reading all the recaps and tributes that came afteward, you've just got to smile in amazement and tip your hat to the Angels. What a tribute to their friend and man that was like a brother to them.
See, I sense that professional teams are like brotherhoods, a family if you will. They're spending months on the road at a time together, away from their families and other loved ones and the bonds that form, I'm supposing, is unlike anything I can imagine.
That might sound cliched, I admit. But ask any professional baseball player who knew and loved Tyler Skaggs, and they'll tell you it's true.
"This is all for him," Pena, speaking through an interpreter, told ESPN during a post-game interview. "I feel like we have an angel looking down on us."
How true those words were.
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Ironically, last Friday also marked a baseball anniversary, one that lives in infamy.
That was the night of the infamous, if not shameful "Disco Demolition Night" at the old Comiskey Park in Chicago, a night that -- looking at this years later -- wasn't just a bad idea, but one that gave people an excuse to behave very badly.
Yes, I was old enough to remember artists like Donna Summer and the Bee Gees and others associated with disco, and songs like "Night Fever" and "Hot Stuff." Many of us from that generation remember fondly those songs, not just as disco music but good music in general.
But apparently, not everyone agreed, and thought it was infringing on good ol' rock n' roll music. So this Chicago disc jockey (and anti-disco activist) Steve Dahl began promoting a night where fans could bring their disco records and have them destroyed in an explosion at the ol' ballpark.
Long story short: What organizers hoped would be a statement (by mostly mainstream rock music fans) that they thought disco was ruining pop music turned into an excuse for drunken people to behave badly, riot and do whatever they wanted.
Cutting straight to the point: If you didn't like disco music then (gasp) you didn't have to listen to it or buy it.
It was that simple.
After all, no matter what you think of music, either then or now, these artists work (or worked) hard to compose, produce, perform, record and promote their product. Some, yes, is bad, but some of it is good.
They worked too hard to let some drunken idiots who hate a particular type of music destroy their records, much less ruin what could have been a good baseball game that night.
I think that had that lesson been followed 40 years ago ... yeah, disco would probably have faded into the background as the prevailing style anyhow, but at least it would have died out on its own without infamy tied to it.
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There was a nice article from Jason Smith, the director of recruiting services for the Chicago-based Next College Student Athlete, about how college coaches evaluate parents and what parents can do to help their child with getting noticed.
Basically, the sense I got from the article is: Know when to butt out and know when it's OK to talk to the coaches or recruiters.
Smith, in an article published recently on the USA Today's High School Sports website, talked to a former Division I baseball coach about what he looks for and spells out some pretty simple rules of etiquette in communicating with coaches and recruiters.
What I see it boiling down to is: If a college coach or recruiter sees something special, unique, outstanding, etc., about a particular high school athlete, he'll get noticed and coaches will let the parents know. I mean, let's face it: I imagine that many, many parents believe their son (or daughter) is the world's greatest athlete, but it's been said that only a few are special enough to play at any post-high school level, even community college.
Yes, there are things parents can do, as Smith points out: Researching the schools that will be at an event, email programs they're interested in and include essential information, including a highlight video.
This is not to imply that Smith's article suggests that parents should butt out altogether. Quite the opposite, as Smith and the Division I coach, JC Field, point out: They are absolutely interested in talking to parents and potential recruits.
But it's knowing when the right time is to talk -- hint: It's more than just the rules set by the NCAA for when contact is and is not allowed -- being prepared and just following basic rules of etiquette.
For those athletes who will be beginning their collegiate experiences this fall for the first time: Best wishes and I hope you have an outstanding experience wherever it takes you. For those who are pondering their futures on the field, court or track, more or less the same thing ... have a great senior (or sometimes junior) season, study hard and prepare for what should be a great, rewarding and promising future.