Rocket City Trash Pandas owner speaks after MLB player dies

The 27-year-old was found dead in a Texas hotel room on Monday. Suicide and foul play have been ruled out. The Trash Pandas are the double-A minor league affiliate of the Angels.

Posted: Jul 2, 2019 6:35 PM
Updated: Jul 2, 2019 6:43 PM

The owner of the Rocket City Trash Pandas addressed the sudden death of a Major League Baseball player. We are still awaiting the autopsy results to learn how Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died.

The 27-year-old was found dead in a Texas hotel room on Monday. Suicide and foul play have been ruled out. The Trash Pandas are the double-A minor league affiliate of the Angels.

Skaggs spent two years in Alabama as a player for the Mobile Baybears, the team that soon will move to north Alabama and become the Trash Pandas. Team owner Ralph Nelson tells WAAY31 he's seen tragedies like this happen before. 

Nelson says he's been with 20 Major League teams. To this day, he remembers the death of a player while he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

"Actually I experienced it myself when one of our pitchers, Ken Robinson, was killed in spring training in 1998, and it always really just tears apart the team," Nelson recalled. 

Now, another tragedy pulls at the hearts of Nelson, the Trash Pandas and the entire baseball world. Skaggs, a left-handed pitcher, and his Angels teammates were getting ready to play against the Texas Rangers on Monday night. The game was postponed after news of his death. Nelson said it was difficult hearing a player in their organization was gone.

"We're still members of the Angels family and when this happens, we all feel it," Nelson said.

Skaggs' death triggered plenty of tributes on social media. A post by the Trash Pandas was one of the many. Nelson says it's still early, but he won't rule out doing something to remember the young pitcher.

"Something like maybe dedicating part of the locker room or something to him, I haven't really thought of it," Nelson said. 

The Rangers and Angels are expected to play Tuesday night. The Rangers posted on Twitter all proceeds from their in-game raffle will go to the Angels Foundation. 

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