Mike Trout is the best player you’ve never seen.
Oh sure, you’ve probably “watched” him on television or seen highlights of his incredible feats on the Internet, but have you actually gone to a baseball stadium to see him play live? Have you made it a point to see him patrolling center field like a fighter pilot in a no-fly zone? Have you seen him run the bases like a cheetah or hitting rockets to the deepest parts of the stadium?
I doubt it.
Why would I draw this conclusion? Well, Trout's Los Angeles Angels rank 27th in average road attendance at 27,094. Only the Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals and the Houston Astros draw fewer fans on average on the road. That’s right — even teams like the San Diego Padres draw more fans on the road than the Angels.
Now, I know the numbers may be somewhat skewed by the fact that the Angels play a lot of games in Seattle, Oakland and Houston who rank 24th, 23rd and 26th respectively in home attendance, but come on. Houston averages 22,422 fans per ball game. The Angels have averaged 18,580 fans in eight appearances there. Seattle averages 23,957 per home game and yet the Angels' average attendance for six games in Seattle this year is just 20,570.
Or how about this? The Washington Nationals average 31,671 fans per home game, but when the Angels visited in April of this year their average attendance was just 22,930 even with all of the Mike Trout vs. Bryce Harper hype.
The Detroit Tigers average 35,256 fans per home game and the Angels drew an average of 31,338 fans in their games there. Here’s the kicker – the New York Yankees average 42,866 fans per home game, but when the Angels came to the Big Apple back in late April they averaged just 39,764 fans per game.
What gives? Why aren't people making sure that no other obstacles — bad weather, midweek games, etc. — get in their way of seeing the best young player of an entire generation?
Is Mike Trout so good and makes things look so easy that people take him for granted? Is watching highlights on MLB Network or ESPN good enough for most people? Is it the fact that he’s not controversial or makes demands about where he hits in the lineup? Is it jealousy… do fans feel that if they can’t have him on their team, they don’t want to watch him? Is seeing him doing Subway sandwich commercials enough for them?
You tell me. Why isn't your park drawing a big crowd to see Mike Trout play?
In my opinion not going to see Mike Trout live and in person is like watching a program on television about the Grand Canyon instead of going there and seeing it in person. When you experience the Grand Canyon in all its glory, it takes your breath away. It’s something you cross off your bucket list.
Watching Mike Trout is like seeing Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle in their prime. His early numbers bear it out, too. It’s something you can say you’ve done and that you’re glad you did it.
This is every baseball fan’s chance to see a 22-year-old defy gravity, probability and the laws of nature. This is our chance to see the Elvis Presley of baseball.
Every time I go to an Angels’ game I know that I might see something that is jaw dropping or has never been done by anyone else in the history of the game. You could see the longest home run hit by any major leaguer all season or a home run robbing catch that draws comparison to the athletic abilities of Michael Jordan.
People who love Bruce Springsteen will tell you that nothing beats seeing “The Boss” in concert. There’s something about the experience of being there that just doesn’t compare to anything else. Mike Trout is rocking the baseball world and a lot of people don’t feel the need to get a seat at this incredible show.
Sure, there’s a chance you might see Trout go 0 for 4, but that’s why you keep going. You know you’re more likely to see something spectacular.
Angels fans don't get a free pass here, either. There are times when I go to an Angels game, look around and see thousands of fans disguised as empty seats. Where are all the baseball fans, who have a chance to see a once-in-a-generation type of player?
The Angels averaged more than 40,000 fans per home game from 2004-2010. This year they average 38,304 per game compared to 37,277 in 2013. Although that’s a slight uptick, it still tells me that even Trout’s own home crowd doesn’t make any extra effort to come out and see him.
I don’t get it.
Perhaps this means Mike Trout won’t be the new “Face of Baseball.” Apparently, you can put him on the cover of a video game, but you can’t get fans to the stadium to see him play.
Maybe the live game experience is already not that important to baseball fans in this day and age of HD television and cozy recliners. Maybe fans would rather watch someone like Yasiel Puig, who is just as likely to do something crazy as he is likely to do something spectacular.
I get all that, but I wonder if baseball fans still hunger to see the best players in the game today? How about THE best player in the game today?
My wife Cheryl and I made it a point to travel down to San Diego earlier this year just to see Jose Fernandez pitch. Yeah, I know what happened at that game and in the days following the game when he ended up having Tommy John surgery, but that’s not the point.
We went for the chance to see something special and to create a memory that would last a lifetime. It didn’t work out that way – but it’s all about the opportunity and that won’t happen if you don’t make the effort.
We believe you make every effort to go to a Game 7 in a World Series or to see the final All-Star Game in old Yankee Stadium. Those have expectations built into them all by themselves. At the same time – if you follow everything written, shown or talked about regarding Mike Trout – you should have those same kind of expectations every time he steps on the field.
So what do you say America? Isn’t it time you made a trip to a ball park near you to see Mike Trout take the baseball world by storm?