Legends On Deck

Media Methodology: Loving Baseball Like Mike Trout

The fabric of your family is weaved together with love and shared experiences. Moments in time reverberating throughout generations captured by the very blood running through similar veins, similar physical builds, with apportioned visions from similar sets of eyes.


Mike Trout is more than a baseball player on the field. Rob Manfred just doesn’t see profit$.

Since his stunning accomplishment laden starry eye filled arrival in the BIGs, Mike Trout has taken all of us by storm. A steady wind that picked up into a Stage 5 from a man that knows weather almost as well as baseball trajectory. Swirling with All-Time early credentials in a hurricane that we could swear, if we squinted just right, looked like the 1951-68′ storm of Mickey Mantle. With every great achievement piling up, the smaller answers turn into bigger questions or statements.

Like, “what does he do for baseball?” Or, “why isn’t he more of a household name?” And even, “he isn’t boring, he’s happy,” as long time baseball reporter Buster Olney replied when asked about Trout’s public persona by outgoing ESPN icon Bob Ley. “He and his family share texts before and after every game… [it’s] at the root of who Mike is.” Grounded in foundation, Olney noted that he still “embraces the responsibility of being a player… he’s always available.”

“Player marketing is an important function, but in order to do it, what do you need? A player.” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said on the Dan Patrick Show. “Mike [Trout] has made certain decisions about how he wants to play and what he wants to do with the rest of his life. And that effects the profile you’re gonna have. If you wanna be the most famous player- as well as being probably the best, there are certain things you have to devote time to…”

Millville, New Jersey is known now for being the home town to baseball’s best player. Another native you may not have heard of is Janet Woodward. A friend of a boy and his family, a boy getting the chance to see for the rest of his life, an eight year old boy with a unique shaking eye condition. His named is Thomas Walkup. Woodward had to figure out a way to get her friend, his mother Susan Banks, and Thomas from NJ to CA for the life changing procedure. So, Woodward set up fundraisers and GoFundMe donation accounts. She racked her brain to help them will their way to California. One of the responses from that will, from those efforts, was from a local woman named Debbie Trout.

When talking with passion about her son on MLB Tonight, Susan Banks said that Debbie “talked to me like a mom to a mom, and knew what I was feeling.” Sometimes fabric gets intertwined further than just to the end of the original pattern. “It’s a mom thing” Debbie said, she has sons too… one of their names is Mike Trout. Debbie contacted the Angels to get some backup for Thomas and Susan, since her own son was Susan’s son’s favorite player. Thomas had successful eye stabilizing surgery during a trip to California(and Disneyland) to meet his favorite Angel. “Thank you so much for doing all these things for me”… as quoted from the letter young Walkup wrote to Trout. Gratitude from a kid that just wants to be normal- and see him play. That was in 2015. Before a lot of the whispers about marketing had become mainstream. In part, because of the game’s own Commissioner, poking Trout for “more engagement.”

On ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, Manfred stated that “Mike Trout could raise his profile tomorrow if he decided he wanted to engage a little more fully and give up some more of his free time…”

“[This is] what the whole package of being a big league player could mean,” was the immediate response from Cy Young winning pitcher Pedro Martinez after witnessing the Thomas Walkup story. That is just one of many such stories that Mike and his family fabric have sewn. Debbie has a staggeringly simple take on the methodology behind her decision to get involved, “if we can help someone else, why not?” A profound statement that echos a heart of kindness and understanding over the glamour of modern day media. Is it such a foreign concept to want to help or “come together” like Debbie said parents should do to help their children.

It’s called a foundation. You get the materials, sew them together, and it reverberates through generations. Even if one of them happens to be one of the best players in the history of baseball. Mentality, meaning, demeanor, and treating others as you would be treated; the values every childhood should be taught, but not all stay parallel to as adult worldly temptations enter the ever evolving life picture. Mike has stayed true to those, a fact baseball can and should proudly embrace in its own marketing. Stepping out of your comfort zone as a person is good, but refusing to sell out to create a comfort zone for everyone else isn’t always.

As heard on ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt SC on earning the largest contract in North American sports history, “never thought I’d be in this position… it’s an unbelievable feeling, I’m really relieved I don’t have to worry about my next 12 years, and I can just relax and go out and play baseball. Once I go out onto that field I don’t worry about pressure, I just go out there and try to perform my best.”

Performance certainly is not the issue. If it ain’t broke… right? So why isn’t that enough with a lot of traditionalists who feel that to be that good, you have to offer more than your promise to compete. That you must rise above some imaginary line normal stars can’t, and become Arthur in order to elevate the Knights of the Round Table, since only you have figured out how to draw Excalibur from the stone? It all sounds good, but there is a point where fictional fantasy and expectations meets… well, reality. When you make something like professional Major League baseball look so easy, people attach higher and higher expectations to what you can or might do next. For a few select people, those expectations transcend the craft they are known for redefining.

Media Methodology

In the Major League Baseball multi-verse it seems like the one constant year after year is Mike Trout. Maybe not as much yet in the postseason, but at the end of every campaign the scoreboard has him among the select few getting the game’s elite hardware. Is that enough? Jeremy Schaap of ESPN’s Outside the Lines, said that Babe Ruth talked about having a responsibility as baseball’s best of “lifting all boats in the game.” Schaap added that “[Trout] owes it to the game he loves, in which he stars.” An opinion that speaks to the growth of the sport, over the common sense work hard every man approach that Trout wields. Is there a right answer? What about his employer, what do they think?

Official Los Angeles Angels team statement on Rob Manfred’s public comments about how their star markets himself, “Mike Trout is an exceptional ambassador for the game. 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. One of Mike’s traits that people admire most is his humility. His brand is built upon generously spending his time engaging with fans, both at home and on the road, while remaining a remarkable baseball player and teammate. In addition, Mike spends quality time as a husband, son brother, uncle, and friend. We applaud him for prioritizing his personal values over commercial self-promotion. That is rare in today’s society and stands out as much as his extraordinary talent.”

Quality as a person comes first. Staying true to yourself through the saloon doors of your journey that never seem to stay still. What separates people who resist temptation? Is not resisting it even wrong, or some type of inherent weakness? Points with subjective answers until the end of time. What’s not subjective is doing what you can for the person in front of you because you can. Hitting the ball because you can. Stealing a home run from over the wall because your leap carries you. Mike Trout’s leap isn’t sensationalized in every commercial. His methodology of media comes down to his methodology as a human being. The two are not mutually exclusive. They are one. They are Mike Trout.

Benny Bam is a Writer + Producer of many mediums in addition to being the founder of Angels Baseball Addicts. Known best as host of sports talk show Halo💥Heat. His Authorship portfolio includes HighonPoems.com, HaloHangout.com, Secret Life of Poets, and Unscripted Script. "BAM" is a content creator and analyst moonlighting as a virtual jack of all trades in the sports & creative writing landscapes.

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