If you’ve been living under a rock this past wek you missed one hell of an All-Star Game and some pretty incredible dongs at the Home Run Derby. You also missed a few insane things that happened. First off Bryce Harper was out there complimenting the New York Mets staff, which was… off-putting to say the least. The other insane thing to happen was MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, Jr. picking a fight with the best baseball player I will see play in my lifetime, Mike Trout.
“Mike has made decisions on what he wants to do, doesn’t want to do, how he wants to spend his free time or not spend his free time,” Manfred said in the hours before MLB’s All-Star Game at Nationals Park. “I think we could help him make his brand very big. But he has to make a decision to engage. It takes time and effort.” – Rob Manfred, MLB Commissioner (via USAToday)
Before going forward it should be said that Mike Trout is about to reach a higher career WAR than Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle did when they were 26. Mike Trout is very, very, very good at baseball. The fact that he’s the best player in the game should also let you know how stupid Manfred’s comments on this matter are.
With reports of fans leaving baseball for more exciting sports like basketball and soccer, Manfred needs Mike Trout above any other player in the game. Is there a better player to watch? No. Is there a more exciting player to watch? No. Mike Trout is the truth and the future of the game. He needs to be everywhere, and that is something MLB should embrace.
So why is Manfred beefing?
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The main problem is that Mike Trout happens to play on a team that doesn’t get a lot off major TV exposure either in the regular season or the postseason. Trout and the Angels have only played in the spotlight once in his entire career, getting swept by the Royals in 2014.
In regards to marketing himself, Mike Trout has a ton of sponsorship deals including a Nike shoe deal. That’s no small feat considering that Nike doesn’t dabble too much in baseball shoe lines, dolling out contracts to Hideo Nomo, Derek Jeter, and Ken Griffey, Jr. I don’t know about you guys but those dudes seem pretty marketable.
Still, that’s not enough for Trout.
“I try to do as much as I can, but keep it to a point where I can still play baseball,” Trout told USA TODAY Sports on Monday when asked about off-field promotional activities. “Obviously you want to get out there, but you’ve got to pick and choose, for sure.” – Mike Trout, (via USAToday)
Manfred is wrong here. There’s nothing else Trout can do, aside from leaving the game to become a larger profile celebrity, which is a shame. If Trout were playing for a different team, maybe things would be different. Aaron Judge who has a bat like Thor’s hammer runs the city of New York, Lindor is King of the Cuyahoga River and Bryce Harper dominates the District of Columbia. Mike Trout is in Anaheim waiting for Free Agency, and that’s the main problem here.
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Here come the Angels
Which is probably why they dropped a statement backing Trout:
— Angels (@Angels) July 18, 2018
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This beef is officially over now, as Trout put out a statement saying it is. However, the issue of the league being hands-off when it comes to the practice of raising their player’s profiles is going to be a problem. MLB needs guys like Mike Trout in the spotlight, and the easiest way to get them there is by raising them up, not tearing them down.
Don’t mess this up, Rob.