Sports

Fans rally to Mike Trout's defense after MLB commissioner calls him out

Combined Shape

On the big list of things wrong with Major League Baseball, having one of its biggest stars be just too good of a person would not seem to be near the top of that list.

But for commissioner Rob Manfred, that would seem to be exactly the accusation he leveled at Angels superstar Mike Trout.

Manfred criticized Trout for “not marketing himself,” according to an ESPN report.

Trout, it would seem, prefers to let his prowess as a baseball player do the advertising for him, airing one heck of a commercial in that vein when he hit a home run in the third inning of the American League’s 8-6 win in the All-Star Game last week.

But Manfred apparently thinks the game of baseball isn’t interesting enough on its own to sell the sport of baseball.

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“Player marketing requires one thing for sure — the player,” Manfred said earlier in the day. “You cannot market a player passively. You can’t market anything passively. You need people to engage with those to whom you are trying to market in order to have effective marketing. We are very interested in having our players more engaged and having higher-profile players and helping our players develop their individual brand. But that involves the player being actively engaged.”

Manfred dug the hole deeper, managing to accuse a guy who spends all his time getting better at the activity that pays him tens of millions of dollars of being lazy when it comes to doing the things that would make the league and the commissioner millions.

“Mike’s a great, great player and a really nice person, but he’s made certain decisions about what he wants to do and what he doesn’t want to do, and how he wants to spend his free time and how he doesn’t want to spend his free time,” Manfred said. “That’s up to him. If he wants to engage and be more active in that area, I think we could help him make his brand really, really big. But he has to make a decision that he’s prepared to engage in that area. It takes time and effort.”

Should Mike Trout do more to 'market himself'?
Trout, being far kinder in his response than the situation deserved, said, “I keep telling you guys, I do as much as I can. But it’s a long baseball season. I got to pick and choose when I want to do things and go from there.”

And as for the public response? Well, if social media teaches us anything, it’s that fans have Trout’s back.

Trout gave a little kid in Baltimore who showed up at the game in his hero’s jersey the gameday experience of a lifetime.

Trout hung out with the kid during batting practice, chatted with him, even gave the kid his bat.

Seriously, here’s a kid who just showed up with his parents as paying customers and got a photo-op with his idol and a souvenir for the ages.

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Stretch those legs, kiddo, you’re among professionals.

The Angels tweeted in April about Trout’s rapport with young fans, and with Manfred’s tone-deaf comments, it was high time for old wine in new bottles.

Fans, taking up the mantle, got a hashtag trending: “#MikeTroutMoments,” collecting videos and retweets of Mike being Mike out there.

Josh Howell, who knows a thing or two about marketing according to his Twitter bio, stepped up.

And who wants a selfie with Trout and some signed baseballs? Because there the man is, happy to provide:

Trout loves baseball, he loves kids, he loves fans, and he lives his life in a way that consistently shows the very best that an athlete can be.

“It’s cool,” Trout said. “Obviously not a lot of people see it, but I take time every day. I make sure I do that. As a kid growing up, I could see myself being in the same shoes as that kid wanting an autograph or wanting to meet their favorite player. I think it’s cool to put a smile on people’s faces.”

Angels manager Mike Scioscia stood up for his player as well, talking about the things he sees Trout do with fans “every day.”

“Every day,” Scioscia repeated. “He understands, I think, things that are important to fans that goes with a guy of his ability, and he’s incredible at it. He’s able to do things like that and still focus on playing the game. I think that’s what it’s all about.”

But sure Rob Manfred, make him thump his chest like he’s Kanye. Call him out in the media for not “marketing himself” or “building his brand.”

From here it looks like Trout’s got a perfectly marketable brand already.

“I’ve always been doing it,” Trout said. “It’s for the fans. They come to the ballpark to see you, they spend a lot of money to see their team and their players, and I think it’s pretty cool when you go out there and make a kid’s day.”

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Combined Shape
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts
Education
Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Nevada-Reno
Location
Seattle, Washington
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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