Patrick Corbin wearing a No. 45 jersey in honor of Tyler Skaggs is as touching a tribute you'll see
“There’s no handbook for this,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said of trying to deal with Monday’s tragic passing of left-hander Tyler Skaggs during his team’s press conference on Tuesday, adding that you have to act as your emotions suggest. The Angels were back at it on Tuesday night for a game against the Rangers, forging ahead in collective tribute to Skaggs’ memory.
For Nationals lefty Patrick Corbin, who was drafted with Skaggs in 2009 and included in the same trade a year later, this meant mustering up the courage to make his scheduled start on Tuesday night against the Marlins in a No. 45 jersey in memory of his longtime friend, taken away far too young at the age of just 27.
Patrick Corbin will wear Tyler Skaggs’ No. 45 jersey on the mound tonight to honor him. Dave Martinez said the two were best friends, but Corbin wanted to pitch tonight— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) July 2, 2019
“He wants to pitch, he feels like it’s what he needs to do.”
Warming up in a jersey commemorating his friend made for as powerful an image as you’ll see on the baseball diamond:
4⃣5⃣ forever. pic.twitter.com/sWDZAT2FEe— MLB (@MLB) July 2, 2019
And when he took the mound, Corbin drew '45' in the dirt.
Patrick Corbin writes 45 on the mound to pay tribute to his best friend Tyler Skaggs. pic.twitter.com/tUVbZRb3mK— Cut4 (@Cut4) July 2, 2019
Skaggs’ shocking passing on Monday afternoon in Texas was a harsh lesson for all of us, a reminder that everything can be taken away from us at any moment. We aren’t promised tomorrow. All we have is today, now, this moment.
It can be exceedingly challenging to remember this, especially with the daily grind of jobs and responsibilities -- which, for baseball players and the media members who cover them, make moments like these as devastating as they are.
Patrick Corbin could have told manager Dave Martinez that he wasn’t up to making his start on Tuesday night. He might have needed a few days off to get back on track mentally.
But he didn’t -- and, instead, took the mound in a way that exhibited a deep love for his fallen friend, a talented pitcher (and even better person) taken from the world far too soon.
That takes strength.
Rest in peace, Tyler Skaggs.
Adrian Garro joined MLB.com in 2016. Throughout his travels, both Bartolo Colon and Vin Scully have placed their hands on his shoulders. Not at the same time, though. That'd be amazing.