On Tuesday, Mike Trout signed the largest extension in Major League Baseball history, $430 million over 12 years. Trout is a fascinating guy, mostly because of how truly uninteresting he is. He is somehow simultaneously the greatest and most forgettable player in the entire sport. He may even end up being the best to ever play the game and no one really cares. Even his mega extension was somehow boring. Oh, ho hum, just another $35 million a season for the next decade. Who cares? How is that even possible? The guy hits for power, steals bases and makes acrobatic catches in the field. That description alone should make him the most marketable and fascinating player in one of the most popular sports in the country, but it doesn’t. I just don’t care. No one really cares.
There are a few reasons for this. The first being that he plays for the Angels on the west coast and the majority of his games do not start until after 10 PM EST. I don’t know about you, but that’s about the time I throw on my nightgown, blow out my candles and lie to myself about actually getting some sleep. It’s far too late for the average baseball fan, since said fan is a crusty old boomer of retirement age that finished dinner six hours prior. My only shot at seeing a Trout at bat is during one of my many mid-night bathroom breaks accidentally corresponding with the event.
Another reason for people’s lack of interest in the most talented player of our lifetime is that he just does not seem that interesting. You see the swagger of Mookie Betts, the quote machine that is Bryce Harper or the stupid ass stare down thing that Craig Kimbrel does before each pitch and you remember these guys. They bring something else to the table. With Trout, every night it’s just another 3-4 with a couple extra base hits, a walk and maybe a stolen base. He is almost a victim of his own success. He has been doing this so long and out of the view of most people that it is just expected now. It doesn’t feel like anything new and he does it with such a stale and emotionless demeanor it basically goes unnoticed.
It seems crazy to say that a player of this caliber isn’t marketable, but he really does not seem to be. How many Mike Trout adds do you see selling shoes, soda or even insurance? I can only recall ever seeing him hock one product and it was some second-rate Gatorade that no one has ever purchased. That’s insane for a guy that should be the face of not just a franchise, but an entire sport. His dopey mug should be everywhere, TV, billboards, pop ups on my phone. But it isn’t. I am a huge baseball fan, I watch almost every single night during the season and if you put Trout in a room with five random guys from the Planet Fitness down the block, I’m not confident I could pick him out.
None of this is an indictment of the man. Honestly, I couldn’t respect him more for it. He has found a way to be filthy rich, a household name and still completely unrecognizable. That’s the dream right there. He can live like normal human being, but with all the perks that come with making half a billion dollars and living in southern California. Maybe he is the only one who actually has it all figured out. Maybe this is the blueprint every potential star should study. Maybe he is the only guy in sports that has a clue. Maybe, but he’s still boring as hell.