Wonderful World of Sports

Sports are wonderful.

You already knew that.

We were all given a reminder of this last week.

On July 1 Tyler Skaggs, a 27 year old pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels, was found dead in his Texas hotel room. Let’s put aside any speculation about the cause of death, and focus on the aftermath.

The Angels and Texas Rangers game scheduled for that night was quickly canceled. Moments of silence were observed throughout Major League Baseball. Skaggs’ teammates had to come to grips with the loss of a teammate, a friend, a brother.

Sports teams are essentially a family. Sure they don’t always get along, and sometimes a separation even has to happen. For the most part, though, a team spends so much time together that you become united in good times and bad. Therefore, Skaggs’ unthinkable and unfortunate death forced the rest of his Angels brothers to come together.

This is where the shot of wonderful was injected.

The All Star break gave everyone with the Angels a chance to take a breath. Mike Trout, as always, did a great job representing the team, and Skaggs, at the All Star game.

Then came last Thursday night, when the Angels played their first game in Anaheim since the death of Skaggs. Every Angels player wore Skaggs number 45, and the number was painted onto the mound. Finally, the team had Skaggs’ mother throw out the first pitch to his best friend on the team, Andrew Heaney. Of course she threw a perfect strike.

Then we got a booster shot of wonderful.

Taylor Cole and Felix Pena combined on a no-hitter, as the Angels throttled the Seattle Mariners 13-0. A no hitter on the night the team honored their fallen pitcher. Only sports can write this kind of script.

As the entire team gathered on the field to celebrate look what happened next.

That is powerful stuff.

Nothing will bring back Tyler Skaggs. However, for at least one night his family got to see how much their son, brother, husband meant to his teammates, and how much those teammates cared for him.

Bad things happen in life. We all wish the bad stuff would stay away, but unfortunately it rears its ugly head from time to time. Often times sports are there to give relief, honor the fallen, and provide at least a small sense of comfort to those affected by the bad events.

Sports truly are wonderful.

Tim Clark is a columnist and editor for PennSports.LIVE, and a wonderful writer of words. He is a lifelong sports fanatic with an eclectic mix of favorite teams including USC Trojans football, Louisville Cardinals basketball, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins in pro sports.

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All Quiet on the Western(PA) Front

June is a time for warm summer breezes, golden rays of sunshine bursting out of white billowy clouds, and clear starry nights. June always puts me in a peaceful state of mind.

After taking out the garbage this offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a peacefulness about them this June.

OTA’s, ETA’s, HSA’s, MTO’s or whatever all of these labeled workouts are called are over, and now is down time for NFL teams.

The Steelers report for training camp in Latrobe on July 25. Between that date and September 8 when the 2019 season gets underway, we will start analyzing the team’s strengths and weaknesses. We will preview the season, and I will make my fateful Two Cent predictions. Until then, let’s enjoy the calm before the storm.

It really is calm for the first time in quite a while around the Steelers.

Gone is Antonio Brown.

Last year Brown spent part of his summer chucking furniture off of a hotel balcony, nearly decapitating innocent people below. He arrived in Latrobe last July in a self promoted helicopter landing. This all followed a season that ended with Brown’s now infamous Facebook Live post from the middle of the Steeler’s locker room.

All that was missing was a big red nose and giant red shoes.

Okay, maybe the nose and shoes aren’t really necessary.

Brown, now with the Oakland Raiders, said recently that catching Jerry Rice is his goal. No mention of a Super Bowl. No mention of winning the AFC West. Not even a mention of making the floundering Raiders respectable. He did say it would be cool to play for the last Raider team in Oakland, so there’s that.

Furthermore, fans will be able to catch Brown’s act on the HBO series Hard Knocks this coming August. Oh what fun that has the potential to be. Most importantly, the Steelers won’t have to be there front and center. They can watch and breathe a sigh of relief from afar.

Gone is Le’Veon Bell.

Bell spent last season jet skiing and partying at strip clubs. Oh, and let’s not forget his burgeoning rap career. He opted to sit out the season trying to prove a point. That point apparently was how to lose out on millions of dollars he will never get back.

Bell signed with the New York Jets and immediately made friends by not showing up to the team workouts last month. Of course, Bell released a workout video with his second favorite rapper, Cardi B, playing in the background to prove he would be in shape.

See, Bell doesn’t get it. Nobody thought he wouldn’t be in great shape. The Jets, and any other team for that fact, just want him to be a good teammate. That requires a player to show up , if for no other reason than to hang out with your new teammates.

Then, for good measure, it was reported that Bell was robbed of $520,000 worth of jewelry and valuables by his girlfriends. That’s girlfriends plural. The best part is how he described these young ladies in the 911 call. Listen for yourself courtesy of TMZ.

To start with, Bell apparently prefers his girls naked, whether at the club or at home. Second, tell me why you need to go to the gym when you have a naked 21 year old and a naked 23 year old in bed? Maybe I’m showing my age here, but that seems like more than enough of a workout for one day.

Best of all, you know who gets to deal with this particular clown show? The New York Jets. The Pittsburgh Steelers don’t have to worry about Bell smoking weed, Bell getting robbed by naked chicks, or Bell rapping about the team not respecting him. He’s New York’s problem now.

Let’s review. Brown is gone. Bell is gone. Pouting James Harrison is gone. Even lifelong malcontent coach Joey Porter is gone.

Im not prepared to make my death defying prediction on the Steelers season just yet. However, I know one thing to be true. There are still enough talented performers to put on a great show this coming season. The only difference will be putting on the show without any clowns. Most people hate clowns anyway.

Enjoy the peace and quiet Steelers fans.

Tim Clark is a columnist and editor for PennSports.LIVE, and a wonderful writer of words. He is a lifelong sports fanatic with an eclectic mix of favorite teams including USC Trojans football, Louisville Cardinals basketball, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins in pro sports.

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