Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred no doubt meant well when he said some nice things about Mike Trout, who is generally considered to be the best player in baseball.
He said Trout, a center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels, would be an even “bigger star” if he “spent more time marketing himself.”
How about that? The commissioner is encouraging a young, relatively humble star athlete to engage in more self-aggrandizement.
Then came the response from the Angels organization. It was classic. The team’s response? Mike Trout is not wired in the way Manfred would like: “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.”
Trout said: “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.”
It’s rare these days to see blue-chip athletes who earn millions of dollars annually to play a kids’ game who are not interested in looking for ways to improve their brand.
From all that I’ve read about Mike Trout — admittedly it’s not a great deal, but enough — he seems to be the genuine article. He is one hell of a baseball talent. He’s well compensated for his skill as a hitter, a defensive player and as a great teammate.
I won’t condemn the MLB commissioner for seeking even more glory for one of his sport’s premier athletes.
I will salute, however, Mike Trout and his team for saying, in effect: Thanks … but no thanks.