Why Mike Trout is the face of baseball

By Bill Barrows

A couple of weeks ago, the day of the All-Star Game, Major League Commissioner Rob Manfred said that star outfielder Mike Trout would be an even bigger start if he would spend more time marketing himself. Trout, 26, is a two-time American League MVP and a seven-time All-Star in seven seasons. He plays on the west coast so there is a perceived east coast bias because two-thirds of the baseball population of fans has gone to bed before Trout goes to bat for the first time each night of the season. Some people probably aren’t as familiar with him as they would be if he played for the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox instead of the Los Angeles Angels.

However, Trout is a tremendous player, although understated by nature. His stats match up to players like Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. That is impressive and actually legendary when you think about it. But the fun-loving , yet humble kid from New Jersey also compares with baseball legend Stan Musial is being the consummate “gentleman of the game.” In fact, Musial was described like this upon his death in 2013, “as leading the league in being a great guy.” Well, Trout is close. It is more important to him to be a good teammate, work on his craft and continue to be humble … a refreshing trait in this day and age of inflated egos and chest pumping. Instead of drawing attention to him when he makes a good defensive play or hits a home run, Trout continues to be understated.

About the commissioner’s comments, "I have received lots of questions about Commissioner Manfred's recent statement," Trout said. "I am not a petty guy and would really encourage everyone to just move forward. Everything is cool between the Commissioner and myself. End of story. I am ready to just play some baseball!"

The Angels called Trout "an exceptional ambassador for the game" in their statement the next day. "Combined with his talent, his solid character creates a perfect role model for young people everywhere. Each year, Mike devotes a tremendous amount of his time and effort contributing to our Organization and marketing Major League Baseball. He continually chooses to participate in the community, visiting hospitals, schools and countless other charities. A lot of this is not in the spotlight.

There is a national MLB promotion that airs on ESPN, FOX as well as MLB Network of Trout playing catch in between innings of a game with a kid in the stands. During the video, he asks the kid if his arm is tired yet. I’d say Trout does his part in being one of the faces of the game, something that he is not really comfortable with. The commissioner thinks that player marketing takes one thing for sure, the player himself. It’s apparent that Trout, who is signed through 2020, is content with his situation and wants to play on and help his team succeed.

Then there is this -- A writer in Baltimore observed the following: A couple weeks ago at Camden Yards, Trout pulled a 6-year-old out of the pregame crowd. He spent time with the kid by his side during batting practice. Stretched with him, and talked with him. He even gave him his bat. This is why Mike Trout is the best player in baseball … enough said.

Posted on 2018 Jul 31