Entertainment

Here’s What We Know So Far About The Untimely Death Of Mexican-American Pitcher Tyler Skaggs

Less than a week after the unexpected passing of 27-year-old Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Tyler Skaggs, there is new controversy surrounding the reporting of his death. The Santa Monica Observer sparked widespread outrage when it speculated that Skaggs had died of an opioid overdose. But after receiving a wave of blowback, the California newspaper scrapped the piece and wrote an op-ed explaining why it did so. The explanation has been met with a tepid response from police and the Angels organization.

There are few details surrounding the reason behind Skagg’s death so far.

Credit: @peteabe / Twitter

Tragedy struck the baseball world last week when Skaggs, who is of Mexican descent, was found by the Southlake Police Department unconscious in a hotel room hours before his team was about to play the Texas Rangers. Authorities pronounced the 27-year-old dead at the scene, a police press release said. But there were still many questions about how such a young promising star like Skaggs could be found like this.

Shortly after, the Santa Monica Observer reported that Skaggs may have been getting opioid prescriptions from doctors who were unaware of each other’s treatments. That report was quickly shot down by Texas police who said there was no credible information to support that Skaggs died of an overdose or suicide.

Angels spokesperson, Marie Garvey, said the report was also wrong citing that the investigation is still ongoing at this time. While an autopsy has reportedly been completed, the results of it and a toxicology report will not be released until October.

“This article is categorically incorrect,” Garvey said in a statement. “The cause of death is still under investigation as stated by the Southlake Police Department. We have tried to contact the paper to correct this story but have [been] unsuccessful in our attempts. This sort of reckless reporting from Tyler’s hometown paper is disappointing and harmful.”

The Op-Ed piece did little to clear things up as many wonder why this was published in the first place.

Credit: @nwkmf / Twitter

The op-ed, published this past Saturday, titled “Why Did We Take Down Our Original Story About The Death of a Ballplayer?” says the publication took down the story due to multiple threats. Santa Monica Observer publisher David Ganezer wrote the op-ed and defended it’s publishing. He said the newspaper’s staff received “multiple personal threats and attacks from anonymous sources,” including “a creepy text message” that was sent to a young female intern’s cellphone.

“She wasn’t frightened about it at all,” Ganezer wrote. “But I was. I’m older, much older; and I know more about how out of hand the potential pile-on is getting in this country.”

“Not simply in the form of a threat letter from lawyers Kirkland and Ellis, representing the Angels and a certain deceased ball player. And not just in the form of anonymous phone calls and emails,” Ganezer said. “No, we also received multiple personal threats and attacks from anonymous sources.

The original article was ultimately scrubbed of the opioid details but Ganezer said in his op-ed it was made clear from the author, Stan Greene, the piece was “speculation.”

This isn’t the first time the newspaper publishes “speculative information.”

Credit: @alden_gonzalez / Twitter

The baseball world is still in mourning over the death of Skaggs and many teammates have shown their respect for their fallen teammate in various ways since last Monday. But for Skagg’s family, the last thing they want at this time is presumptive information being released about him.

According to the Santa Monica Lookout, the Observer has had previous situations where the paper published incorrect stories. This past January, a story ran with the headline, “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Will Retire from the US Supreme Court in January 2019.” This was false. In December 2016, the headline, “Kanye West Appointed Under-Secretary of the Interior After Meeting at Trump Tower” was published, which was also false. Both pieces were written by Greene, who also wrote the article on Skaggs’ passing.

At this time, the paper says they would comment further on the story when Skaggs’ autopsy and toxicology reports are released in October. Maybe by then, we’ll have a more accurate picture on this unfortunate passing.

READ: Trump Put A Stop To The MLB And Cuban Baseball Federation Deal And Here’s Why It Matters

Bad Bunny And Marc Anthony Will Rebuild Baseball Parks In Puerto Rico Destroyed By Hurricane María

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Bad Bunny And Marc Anthony Will Rebuild Baseball Parks In Puerto Rico Destroyed By Hurricane María

badbunnypr / marcanthony / Instagram

While it’s been two years since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, the recovery efforts aren’t finishing anytime soon. Many people on the island are still trying to put their lives back together, which includes rebuilding homes, churches, and schools. What many might not know is the recovery efforts have also included revitalizing baseball fields on the island where Puerto Ricans once played. 

Among the destruction that both Hurricanes Irma and Maria left in 2017 is more than 300 small league baseball parks that were found inoperative. As a result, many community ball programs were essentially eliminated and youths on the island were essentially left in the dark without fields to play the sport.

Leading the revitalization efforts are Puerto Rico’s own two native sons: Bad Bunny and Marc Anthony. The duo, along with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a U.S. community development non-profit, has teamed up for a new program called Play Ball Again. The purpose of the initiative will be to help rebuild some of those damaged baseball fields and facilitate local programming for 17,500 youth. It is expected that in total, about 300 facilities will be impacted by this initiative. 

The duo hopes the contributions play a huge role in bringing not only baseball back to the island but a place where people can escape from their worries. 

Credit: @laguerradelbsn / Twitter

The initiative is special to both of them not only because they’re helping youth but they hoping these recovery efforts go a long way in bringing back a sense of community. Maestro Cares Foundation, which Anthony owns, is putting money towards the program with a goal of restoring “normalcy” in Puerto Rico.

“Sports and recreation activities help restore a sense of normalcy, in the wake of disasters,” Anthony, who is among the program’s earliest supporters, said in a press release.” Baseball isn’t just a game in this context. It helps young people do better in school and improves family life and health in difficult circumstances.”

Maestro Cares, along with the Good Bunny Foundation and UNICEF USA, will all be putting forth $300,000 of what LISC expects to be more than $1.6 million in baseball field renovations. Joining the efforts is Chicago Cubs second baseman Javi Baez with his Cubs Charities, which will donate an additional $100,000 in support. This also includes the Kohler Company, which made a donation to fund bathroom fixtures for onsite facilities.

“Two years after these devastating storms, the need to rebuild the island remains strong,” Báez, whose family is from the Bayamón area, said in a press release. “Cubs Charities understood the need and has stepped up to the plate to help restore baseball fields and give kids throughout Puerto Rico the opportunity to play the game. This rebuild will make a big difference for the community, and I am proud to continue my efforts to restore the island.”

The recovery efforts in Puerto Rico have been long and tiresome but the fuel behind the revitalization has always been the people. 

 Credit: UNICEF / MAESTRO CARES

While time may have passed, many on the island of Puerto Rico are still trying to get back on their feet. For Bad Bunny, he knows firsthand the power that activities like baseball have on youth. Growing up, baseball was part of his life and much of his time was spent at many of the ballparks that were destroyed in 2017. 

“Growing up on the island I spent a lot of time in some of these parks that are now destroyed,” says Bad Bunny, whose Good Bunny Foundation is part of the initiative. “In parks similar to these, a lot of great athletes like Roberto Clemente, Yadier Molina, Roberto Alomar, Edgar Martinez, and Ivan Rodriguez grew up. Our commitment is to rebuild these parks so that we can help new athletes grow. This is the first step for the rebirth of sports within the island.”

The rebirth of Puerto Rico is taking time but in that process, there is a sense that an even stronger community will come out of this disaster. While simple things like baseball may not seem significant, it’s a part of the fabric of Puerto Rico and displays the love that is shared playing on a field. This rebirth has already started as construction on the baseball field is underway and most field renovations are set for completion by the 2020 season.

READ: The Death of Four-Year-Old Noah Cuatro Has Rocked the Los Angeles Community As They Come to Grips With the Failure of Child Protective Services

After Spending His Life in Foster Care, 4 Year Old Noah Cuatro Was Returned To His Parents, Where He Died Shortly After

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After Spending His Life in Foster Care, 4 Year Old Noah Cuatro Was Returned To His Parents, Where He Died Shortly After

On July 5th of this year, a 4-year-old boy named Noah Cuatro was found dead by first res ponders in the pool of the apartment complex he was living in. His parents Jose Cuatro Jr. and Ursula Elaine Juarez, insisted that they had found his body already lifeless, floating in the pool. The couple claimed he had drowned. But the police were immediately on alert to the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death. Authorities quickly suspected foul play in the 4-year-old’s death. 

On Thursday morning, law enforcement officials arrested both Cuatro Jr. and Juarez, charging them with the murder of their son.

As soon as Noah’s body was taken to the hospital the parents’ supposed cause of death and the reality of his injuries were inconsistent. Although his parents claimed Noah died by drowning, his injuries were inconsistent with that claim. What’s more, the hospital staff  “observed evidence of injuries to Victim Noah Cuatro’s body” that were consistent with signs of abuse. All of the coinciding evidence made it more likely that his death was not a straight-forward accident. 

In late September, the death was officially ruled a homicide by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner. Two days later, Cuatro Jr. and Juarez were arrested. According to officials, the parents are being charged with a litany of crimes: murder, torture, assault on a child causing death, and child abuse resulting in death. Cuatro Jr. and Juarez are being held on $3 million bail each. If they are convicted Cuatro and Juarez might be sentenced to a maximum of life in prison, or a minimum of 32 years. 

Before he died, Noah spent his short life being shuttled between the care of his parents, the foster system, and his great-grandmother. 

Social workers were involved in Noah’s life from birth. He was first removed from the custody of his parents in 2014 and placed in foster care. Later in the year, his great-grandmother, Eva Hernandez, was given temporary custody of him. Although he spent much of his life in Hernandez’s care, Noah also bounced between the foster system, his parents, and his great-grandmother’s care throughout his life. In 2018, he was, for one final time, given back to his biological parents, although the reason for his most recent removal was due to “medical neglect”. 

According to his grandmother, Noah had been vocal about his fear of returning to his parents’ house. “I just wish [the Department of Child and Family Services] would have listened to him,” Hernandez told reporters in July. “He did say, ‘Please don’t do this, don’t send me back.'” But according to Hernandez, Noah refused to tell her about any abuse that was happening at his parents’ home. “He would not say,” said Hernandez. “He did tell me one time that they used to make his older brother punch him, hit him.”

Four-year-old Noah’s death seems all the more tragic because, according to reports, it may have been preventable. 

As the story has developed, the story has illuminated the failures of the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) to protect Noah. Evidence suggests that the DCFS were directed by courts to investigate anonymous claims that Noah was being sexually abused in May–mere weeks before his death. If this were the case, the department legally had 72 hours to conduct a forensic examination of Noah. According to Eva Hernandez’s attorney, Brian Claypool, the department failed to do so. 

According to Claypool, if the examination had taken place, sexual abuse “would’ve been confirmed, he would’ve been permanently removed from his home and he would be alive today”. “This little boy should’ve been removed from that house when he was two years old,” Claypool continued. “Let alone waiting until he was four and a half years old and watching him die.” Claypool has announced that he and Hernandez “plan to hold the Department of Children and Family Services accountable” for what they perceive as neglect. As for Los Angeles DCFS, they have recently issued an apology for the failure of their “safety net”.

As for the public, they are struggling to come to terms with the senseless and tragic death of a child that looks as if it could’ve been prevented.

There should be iron-clad safe guards against children losing their lives to abusive parents. 

Many people are disappointed in what they see as institutional shortcomings of child welfare systems.

Because children are so defenseless, it’s up to others to protect them from harm. That responsibility should not be taken lightly. 

This person believes that just because someone is a biological parent, doesn’t mean they are emotionally prepared to raise a child:

All in all, it seems like another senseless tragedy has taken another young life much too soon.