Rockies team president Keli McGregor dead at 48
The Colorado Rockies will play tonight at Nationals Park following a tragedy at the highest level of their organization. Team President Keli S. McGregor, 48, was found dead this morning in his hotel room in Salt Lake City. McGregor had been traveling on a business trip with Rockies Chairman Charlie Monfort and Executive Vice President Greg Feasel.
No further details about McGregor's death are currently available, according to an official statement from the club.
"Words cannot describe the level of shock and disbelief that we all are feeling this morning at the loss of Keli," Monfort said in a release. "Our thoughts, our prayers are with [McGregor's wife] Lori and the entire family as we all try to cope and understand how such a tragic loss could occur with such a wonderful man."
McGregor, a former NFL tight end with the Broncos, Seahawkas and Colts, joined the Rockies in 1993 and has been with the team since its inception as an MLB expansion team. He became team president in 2001.
"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I am very saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing of Keli McGregor," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "Keli was one of our game's rising young stars. He was a great athlete and equally great as a baseball administrator. Also, he was a great human being. All of baseball will miss him."
Postponing tonight's game was "not really something that was considered," Nationals President Stan Kasten said. Nationals outfielder Willy Taveras, a former Rockie, said "I'm surprised there is a baseball game going on." The Rockies did not want to sit out tonight.
"I know him," Rockies Manager Jim Tracy said. "And that is not what he would want."
The Nationals will hold a moment of silence for McGregor before the game. In the dugout, the Rockies will hang a No. 88 gray Rockies jersey. McGregor wore 88 when he played football. Shocked and sullen, the Rockies will carry on.
"I can't tell you how saddened I am by the news that I got this morning," said Tracy, his eyes red and his voice cracking. "We've lost somebody in this organization that is going to be greatly missed. In the short time that I've worn this shirt, he embraces everything and has been in the forefront of everything that Colorado Rockies are about and that they represent."
Taveras called Rockies outfielder Brad Hawpe this morning and asked what happened. They were both stunned. McGregor was in impeccable shape. When Taveras played for the Rockies, he said he would arrive early in the morning in the gym and find McGregor there, already working out.
"I don't understand what's happenend," Tracy said. "I told so many in that clubhouse, I want to understand this and I don't. I don't know what to say."
Tracy spoke to reporters for four minutes, and as the crowd dispersed, he smacked base of the bench with a fungo bat and bit his lower lip. Two Rockies employees sat on each side of him and threw their arms around him, trying to comfort Tracy hours before he had to manage a game.
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