Trout finds balance in stardom and solitude
It's not often that the consensus best baseball player on the planet passes through Cincinnati during his prime, but such was the case when Mike Trout and his Los Angeles Angel's made a brief stop in the Queen City to take on the Reds in a rare interleague matchup.
Trout, who recently celebrated his 28th birthday, has already produced a resume that will in all likelihood result in him being enshrined in Cooperstown one day, as he's fastly approaching 300 home runs and 800 RBI's for his career. He's already won the American League MVP twice and has finished runner up four other times while also playing near flawless defense in centerfield. Many longtime baseball writers and analysts are already comfortable in mentioning his name among many of the all-time great's.
Fans poured into Great American Ballpark early for the quick two-game series on August 5-6 to try position themselves into catching a ball he would swat into the stands during batting practice or swarm towards the visitors dugout along the third base line for a chance at getting a pregame autograph or selfie. For Trout, it's all part of the routine that has defined the majority of his nine-year playing career.
"For me, it's all about finding a balance," Trout said with a smile as he stood next to his locker before taking the field prior to game two of the series. "I think of myself as just a normal guy playing the game that I've played for my entire life," he added.
Trout says that he spends a lot of his time during the offseasons playing golf, while also hunting and fishing. He also mentioned that he owns some property in Zanesville, which is located about two and a half hours northeast from downtown Cincinnati. Despite spending the majority of his time on the west coast, he still roots hard for his childhood favorite team the Philadelphia Eagles, and he has always been fascinated by meteorology.
The spotlight has been shining brightly on Trout for close to half of his life as he was a highly-touted high school prospect who has drafted with the 25th pick in the 2009 MLB draft and debuted with the Angels at age 19. Earlier this Spring, the Angel's essentially locked Trout up for life by offering him a contract extension worth $430 million dollars over the next 12 years, a north American professional sports record.
Trout credits another superstar slugger for helping him get acclimated to the pressures of stardom and being the face of the game, his teammate; Albert Pujols. The two have been teammates since Pujols signed with the Angel's prior to the start of the 2012 season. Pujols had establishes a hall of fame worthy career with the St. Louis Cardinals and served as a mentor for the fast-rising star.
"Albert has been there for me since day one. He's a great teammate and someone who has always been willing to give me advice anytime I needed it," Trout said.
Trout exhibited why he is the best the game has to offer as he crushed towering home runs in each of the two games versus the Reds (Cincinnati won both) while being the focus of every set of eyes throughout the ballpark during each of his at-bat's. After he rounded the bases to touch home plate following his first home run, he paused and pointed towards the sky in dedication to his late brother-in-law, Aaron, who passed away nearly one year ago. Monday would have been his 25th birthday.
Major League Baseball is fortunate to have a genuine, gracious, down-to-earth guy with otherworldly talents represent its sport.