Winter of Mike Trout includes wedding, Super Bowl victory for his favorite team
He recently married his longtime sweetheart and watched his favorite team win the Super Bowl.
Then he arrived Monday for the Angels’ first full-squad workout poised to become baseball’s highest-paid player on a club vastly more interesting from a year ago and potentially quite improved.
Sure, it’s saying a lot, given the life he already has lived, but the case could be made that there never has been a better time to be Mike Trout.
“As long as I’ve known him, it’s been this way,” teammate Garrett Richards said. “If he has to make a putt in golf to tie or it’s a trick shot in basketball or something in a domino game, things always go in his favor. He’s one of those guys.”
He’s one of them and, at the same time, unlike almost everyone.
Trout will open his seventh full season having been an All-Star in each of the previous six. He is a two-time American League most valuable player and was the rookie of the year in the only season in which he was eligible.
He’s still only 26 and last month Sports Illustrated labeled him “already a virtual lock to make the MLB Hall of Fame.”
Factoring in his most recent signing bonus, Trout will make slightly more than $34 million in 2018, ending Clayton Kershaw’s two-year run atop the sport’s money list.
“It doesn’t change me,” Trout said in his first official media gathering of the spring. “It’s just a number.”
Just a number, perhaps, but a massive one, Trout halfway through the six-year, $144.5 million extension he signed in March 2014.
Now, get this: Even with three years remaining on the deal, owner Arte Moreno already has admitted to thinking about his epically skilled outfielder’s next contract.
“You know, that’s obviously cool,” Trout said of being baseball’s top earner. “But I go out there and play. I don’t think about any of that stuff.”
What he also doesn’t do is talk effusively to reporters. He burned through three interview sessions Monday in fewer than 15 minutes.
Still, last month, Trout spent nearly a half-hour on a conference call with reporters, a call set up specifically to allow a baseball player to talk about a football team.
A Philadelphia Eagles season-ticker holder and former pee-wee quarterback, Trout in the past few months earned almost as much fame for being an Eagles fan as he has for being an Angels player.
As someone who has hunted duck with Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, Trout even has one of those dog masks all the folks in Philly began wearing during the Super Bowl run.
He attended the NFC title game with Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs and, after some initial uncertainty, made it to Super Bowl LII.
“I was fortunate enough to get a few extra tickets,” Trout explained, “and, you know, made it happen.”
Before the game, he predicted an Eagles victory, specifically noting that it would be sealed by a “late interception” of a pass by Tom Brady.
Though that didn’t happen, the game basically was over when the New England Patriots quarterback lost a late fumble.
So there Trout was, caught twice by NBC’s cameras celebrating from the stands as the Eagles defeated the Patriots 41-33, a man generally uninspired by his media opportunities suddenly starring in the 10th most-watched program in American TV history.
“If you’ve known him long enough, you kind of get desensitized to the outside perspective of him,” Richards said. “We just know Mike. Mike’s our buddy. Mike’s our friend.
“Instead of watching the TV going, ‘Oh, there’s Mike Trout.’ We’re watching to see if he does something dumb so we can blow him up about it. We watch it a little differently.”
Richards was a member of the wedding party in early December when his teammate married the former Jessica Cox. He called the ceremony “beautiful” and “amazing,” the affair just another highlight in the Winter of Trout.
On Monday, Trout was asked to identify what, precisely, was the brightest moment of his brilliant offseason.
“Obviously getting married,” he said, smiling. “Yeah, for sure. Can’t trick me on that one.”
Young, Upton reunited
In joining the Angels, projected fourth outfielder Chris Young is reuniting with Justin Upton, his former teammate with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
When Upton first reached the big leagues, he lived with Young, the two playing together from 2007 to 2012.
“We’ve been close ever since,” said Young, who signed a one-year, $2-million contract Sunday. “It’s been nice to see it come full circle and have the opportunity to play together again.”
When second baseman Ian Kinsler was traded to the Angels in December, he also noted as a plus his relationship with Upton. They played together with the Detroit Tigers.
Ohtani getting ready
Shohei Ohtani threw a bullpen session and took batting practice as the Angels welcomed their full roster. They have yet to announce when he’ll make his Cactus League debut. Their first game is Friday.
“Lots of raw power,” teammate Kole Calhoun said. “Fun to watch bat.”
It was noted that Ohtani seems to be smiling a lot.
“He seems happy,” Calhoun said. “If I was him, I’d be happy too. To throw 100 [mph] and be able to hit a ball 500 feet, I mean, that’s impressive.”
With a new scoreboard being installed, the right-field fence at Angel Stadium is expected to be shorter starting this season. …The protective netting at Tempe Diablo Stadium will be extended next spring.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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