Police: Rockies president dies in Utah hotel room

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Associated Press
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
— Colorado Rockies president Keli McGregor, who parlayed a lifelong love of sports into a short stint in the NFL before embarking on a career in the baseball business, was found dead in his hotel room in Salt Lake City on Tuesday.

Detective Rick Wall said two of McGregor’s associates couldn’t get in touch with him and that someone entered his room at The Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City and found the 48-year-old McGregor unconscious Tuesday morning.

Police were called about 9 a.m. MDT and emergency workers arrived on the scene and were unable to revive him.

“There are no signs of foul play. ... Based on the initial investigation (police and fire officials) did not see anything suspicious,” Wall said. “There is nothing suspicious. At this point it would look like it was some sort of a natural cause or something along those lines.”

Brewers coach has cancer

Milwaukee Brewers bullpen coach Stan Kyles has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will leave the team on Friday to have surgery.

The 49-year-old Kyles is expected to be away from the team for four to six weeks. Fred Dabney will fill in —he’s currently the pitching coach at Single-A Brevard County.

Kyles said he took a routine physical in January.

and had a biopsy the day before he left for spring training. He learned the test results about a week later.

“It’s been a while since I first got the news, so I’ve had a lot of information and talked to a lot of people who have gone through it,” Kyles said after pitching batting practice and shagging balls at PNC Park prior to the Brewers’ game against Pittsburgh.

“Right now, I’m just looking forward to getting it done and getting it behind me. Doctors I’ve spoken to all say it (was detected) pretty early, everything looks good. There’s no true test until they actually go in, but they said everything looks good at this point. I’m looking forward to getting it done and returning to the team,” he said.

Kyles is in his second season as the Milwaukee bullpen coach and 10th season as a coach in the organization at various minor league levels.

He said he spoke extensively with Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker about prostate cancer and what to expect from the surgery and recovery period and was “reassured.” Baker was diagnosed in late 2001.

“I told Stan to go talk to Dusty, that was my advice to him,” Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said. “I saw Dusty during a ’B’ (spring training) game ... and mentioned it to him. Dusty was overboard as far as him wanting to get hooked up with Stan and talk to him about stuff. It was very nice of him to do that.”

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre also has been treated for the disease.

“All the information I’ve gotten on it has been pretty positive – as positive as you can get on cancer,” Kyles said. “I’m going into it positive right now. I feel better about it than I did a month ago. I’ve gotten a lot of support from the Brewers organization, the players and coaches. We’re like family here, so I’m going in with a positive frame of mind. That’s the biggest thing when dealing with something like this.”

This is Kyles’ 20th season as a coach after an 11-season minor league playing career that began after being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1979.

The prostate surgery will take place in Spartanburg, S.C., where Kyles resides.

“One of the things, if there is a positive in this, is they have really done good work on this,” Macha said. “The most curable of them all, I think.”

Dabney was chosen for an interim promotion so that as many of the Brewers’ minor league teams as possible could keep their staffs intact.

“I’m not worried about how this is impacting the team. I’m worried about how it is impacting Stan,” Macha said.

“We’re hoping for a really fast recovery. Everything will be found out once they do the surgery, so we didn’t want to make a total disruption of the entire organization. (Promoting Dabney) was a good fit both for the big league team and the organization.”

The Rockies said McGregor was on a business trip with team chairman and CEO Charlie Monfort and executive vice president Greg Feasel.

“Words cannot describe the level of shock and disbelief that we all are feeling this morning at the loss of Keli,” Charlie Monfort said in a statement. “Our thoughts, our prayers are with 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 is survived by his wife, Lori, three daughters and a son.

His voice cracking, manager Jim Tracy said before the Rockies’ game at Washington on Tuesday night that he struggled with what to tell his team about McGregor’s death.

“I’m stunned. I can’t believe what’s happened,” Tracy said. “I told the players in the clubhouse: ‘I want to understand this, but I don’t.’ I don’t know what to say. I don’t understand it.

“We said a little prayer for him. The prayers are as much for him as for Lori and for those four children.”

The clubhouse was closed before the game.

“I guess shock is the word that describes it,” first baseman Todd Helton said as he walked out on the field. “Great man. I’ve known him 15 years. Last person you think you’d be getting that call about.

“He kept himself in great shape, worked hard. He really loved this team, loved his family even more,” Helton said. “We went duck hunting together, pumped up together, stayed up playing cards, golfed several times in the offseason.”

Rockies hitting coach Don Baylor, who was managing the club when McGregor came on board, said he was a passionate person who always put the organization first.

“He was a football guy. He didn’t understand what a 6-4-3 was or what an ERA was. It was a big learning experience for him,” Baylor said. “What a rising star this guy would have been because he really did so much for this organization. Every time you talked to him it was about the Rockies, not about himself, always about improving the club, on the field. He’s really going to be missed.

“Forty-eight years old. You’re still asking, ‘Why?”’

McGregor’s loss shook the sports communities across Colorado, where he was a multi-sport athlete at Lakewood High School, starred as a tight end at Colorado State and was drafted by the Denver Broncos before going into coaching and then embarking on a career in sports administration, joining the Rockies in 1993.

Commissioner Bud Selig called McGregor “one of our game’s rising young stars,” and new union head Michael Weiner sent his condolences to McGregor’s family and the Rockies.

McGregor was in his 17th season with the Rockies, his ninth as club president.

Last updated: 1:23 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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