For what seemed like a great week in Major League Baseball, with an exciting Home Run Derby and a more-compelling-than-usual All-Star Game, Commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t let the simple, drama-free life last too long, and it has hopefully ended with arguably the best player in baseball having to put it to rest.
Before the 2018 Midsummer Classic at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Mandfred told the Associated Press that Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout would be an even bigger star if he spent more time marketing himself.
Maybe it was a suggestion. Perhaps it was the commissioner’s way of putting Trout into more headlines. What if he was just defending the entire state of the MLB right now?
Regardless, several perceived his comments, simple or not, as wrong, and an attack on Trout.
So what exactly did Manfred say that got people fired up?
“Player marketing requires one thing for sure — the player,” Manfred said. “You cannot market a player passively. You can’t market anything passively. You need people to engage with those to whom you are trying to market in order to have effective marketing. We are very interested in having our players more engaged and having higher profile players and helping our players develop their individual brand. But that involves the player being actively engaged.
“Mike’s a great, great player and a really nice person, but he’s made certain decisions about what he wants to do and what he doesn’t want to do, and how he wants to spend his free time and how he doesn’t want to spend his free time. That’s up to him. If he wants to engage and be more active in that area, I think we could help him make his brand really, really big. But he has to make a decision that he’s prepared to engage in that area. It takes time and effort.”
Of course, it’s up to the player how he markets himself, and that statement was likely meant to be simple and innocent of self-promotion. Whether Manfred really believes Trout is to be blamed for the lackluster performance of his personal brand, or the MLB brand in general, it sure didn’t come across innocently.
Trout loves to fish and has a unique interest in meteorology. The All-Star Game telecast did a nice job of pointing that out, and there is nothing wrong with those hobbies.
But Manfred’s comments to “attack” Trout, the 26-year-old, seven-time All-Star with two American League MVP awards, was out of line and enough for the Angels organization to respond back.
A role model. An exceptional ambassador. A man who loves to spend quality time with his family. All accurate statements.
It’s obvious the Angels think the world of their superstar, and as they should.
Trout, who homered off New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom at this year’s MLB All-Star Game, and is the first player in MLB history to win the Midsummer Classic MVP two years in a row, issued a statement to put it to rest.
If Trout is going to focus on baseball during the season, as he should, and not worry about being the biggest star out there, it is probably time for MLB to do it for him.
Let’s just hope this over.
And let’s hope the MLB commissioner and the league office can come up with a better approach than this.