We'll get to the lineups for tonight's Nationals-Rockies game in a little bit. But I wanted to touch first on the backdrop on which tonight's game will be played: the grief the Rockies are dealing with following the death of their team president.
Keli McGregor, who had been with the Rockies since their inception in 1993 and was named team president in 2001, was found dead in his Salt Lake City hotel room this morning at the age of 48. He was traveling on a business trip with Rockies chairman Charlie Monfort and executive vice president Greg Feasel.
The Rockies released a statement this afternoon saying no further details about McGregor's death are immediately available.
McGregor, a former NFL tight end, was known around baseball as a rising star, a bright, patient executive who helped build the Rockies into the 2007 NL pennant winner. The Rockies' sorrow reverberated around Nationals Park on Tuesday afternoon; officials from both teams said postponement was not considered, and manager Jim Tracy said McGregor would have wanted the teams to play.
"I came to love him in a very short period of time," Tracy said. "In the short time I've been around this man, he embraced all the values that were very pertinent to the way I was raised. I'm stunned. I can't believe what's happened, I don't understand. I've told so many people in that clubhouse, I want to understand this, but I don't."
Team president Stan Kasten and manager Jim Riggleman expressed condolences to the Rockies and to McGregor's family; he leaves behind his wife Lori and four children.
"Like everyone else, I was shocked when I heard today's news," Kasten said. "Keli was a great guy. He was a smart guy -- a talented guy. Like everyone in baseball, we're very saddened to hear about it. Our thoughts, our prayers are of course with his wife and kids."
First baseman Todd Helton, who's been with the organization since 1995, called McGregor a "very compassionate man," recalling the times he'd played cards with McGregor and golfed with his family and him this offseason. Nationals outfielder Willy Taveras, who played with the Rockies for two seasons, said he saw McGregor working out every day.
"I know he was in great shape," said Taveras, who found out from Rockies outfielder Brad Hawppe. "The guy looked great, great attitude, great person. It was very surprising."
The Nationals will honor McGregor with a moment of silence before tonight's game. And Tracy, who pounded a bat into the floor of the visitors' dugout and held the hand of a team radio broadcaster while he choked back tears, vowed the Rockies would honor McGregor by the way they play out the season.
"We're very professional people," Tracy said. "We're not the only organization in baseball the past few years that has experienced tragedy and had to deal with it. When it hits you, your professional mettle is tested. And you know something? Knowing this group of people, and knowing this man that we represent, this organization we represent, we'll pass. We're going to pass this test, I promise you."
With that, here are tonight's lineups:
Spilborghs - LF
Fowler - CF
Helton - 1B
Tulowitzki - SS
Hawpe - RF
Mora - 2B
Olivo - C
Stewart - 3B
De La Rosa - P
Morgan - CF
Guzman - 2B
Zimmerman - 3B
Dunn - 1B
Willingham - LF
Rodriguez - C
Maxwell - RF
Desmond - SS
Olsen - P