On some days, Mike Trout does what you expect. The best baseball player in the world picks up his glove and gets ready for a call that might be coming one day soon.
“I have a couple of guys who can meet me at a Little League field down the road, which is pretty cool, because it brings back old times,” Trout said this week.
In those moments, it almost feels like regular life. People see him. Soon the Trout jerseys start showing up. He still lives near his hometown of Millville, New Jersey, so he’s not a stranger to the locals, but they still gather when Trout takes the field.
“They come up and say hello, which is cool,” Trout says. “They’re obviously staying six feet away because I have a pregnant wife. I’m trying to be real cautious about that.”
Like everybody else in baseball, Trout is eager to get back on the field as the game seeks a way forward amid the coronavirus pandemic, but he also understands the safety issues at play. Restarting baseball is more about getting your arm ready. Everybody has a responsibility, he says, to keep themselves and their teammates safe.
On some days, Mike Trout is just like the rest of us. He’s at home when he usually wouldn’t be. Stuck inside instead of being on a plane or roaming center field for the Angels. He craves the outdoors, he says, so he plays tennis or hits golf balls or takes his dogs for a walk.
“I’ve played a lot of board games in the last 45 days with my wife,” says the reigning AL MVP. “More than I’ve played in my whole life.”
He loses to Jessica every time in Yahtzee, but they’re pretty even in Monopoly and Rummikub. She’s pretty good at Scattergories, sending him to look up words he’s never heard before. And Trout admits, she’s usually right.
“My wife and I, we planted a garden,” he says. “I would have never had time for a garden. Just little stuff like that during this crazy time — you can do stuff that you weren’t able to do in your daily routine. We’re just taking advantage of that. It’s different, but I’ve enjoyed it so far.”
Trout’s star-studded new commercial
You may see a little more Mike Trout this week. He’s part of a star-studded new commercial for BODYARMOR, which hit the internet this week and will debut on TV over the holiday weekend. It’s voiced by Michael B. Jordan and features the likes of Megan Rapinoe, Skylar Diggins-Smith and James Harden.
Whether he meant to or not, Trout has been living up to the message in the campaign — ”Only You Can Make You Better.” While it likely wasn’t intended to be a quarantine pep talk, it could be.
“I’ve told a lot of people this: Obviously it’s a tough time for the world, but take advantage of the time that you have,” Trout says. “For me, it’s with my wife. I don’t really get to see her that much during the season.”
But there’s a message for athletes too.
“It’s just putting your mind to it,” he says. “Now is the time to do it, only you can tell yourself to do something.”
When it comes to baseball, Trout usually isn’t the guy who needs a pep talk. He’s working out every day. Monday is upper body, Tuesday is lower. Thursday is upper body again, Friday is lower. He’s throwing, but not too much hitting yet.
“As soon as the season got delayed a little bit, I kinda went into offseason mode,” Trout says. “I went about a month where I was working hard like the offseason and now I’m transitioning into getting ready for the season.
“Hopefully it’s soon here. I’m just playing it by ear like everybody else. I think everybody is trying to get back to the way they used to be, but obviously you gotta be safe doing it.”
Will baseball be safe enough for Mike Trout?
With everything happening around him, Trout obviously cares about the safety of his wife and his soon-to-be-born child (due in August). Previously, he’s talked about how whatever sort of baseball season might be happening by then, he’d need the flexibility leave for the birth of his son.
The return of baseball, though, hinges on a list of safety changes that the league and the players union have been discussing in recent weeks. A lot of what we know about baseball may not be allowed in a COVID-19 version of baseball.
No high-fives. No spitting. No standing next to your teammates during the national anthem. No showering in the clubhouse. Lockers would need to be six feet apart. And so on.
“It’s definitely gonna feel weird,” Trout says. “Any baseball is better than no baseball. It’s going to be a challenge for all of us. You got a responsibility. You got a responsibility for others. You gotta prepare yourself to do all these things, because if you don’t and the virus gets in that clubhouse, it’s not going to be a good situation.
“Everybody has a responsibility,” he continues, “and it’s gonna be weird, it’s gonna be different, but if we can get back to healthy ways and try to keep everything out of that locker room and the league ... hopefully everything works out.”
Until he gets the call, there are Yahtzee games to lose and a new garden to tend to. There are fans to see down at the Little League field.
“I’m just waiting for the confirmation to get ready for the season,” Trout says. “There’s a lot of obstacles we’ve got to get over, but I’m sure as a group, we’ll decide if it’s the right time.”
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