Mike Trout not fazed by growing expectations
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Mike Trout is keeping the Corvette.
Debbie Trout, the mother of the Angels center fielder, seemed ecstatic on national TV when her son was selected MVP in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game and got to pick a car as his reward. But she won’t be driving it any time soon.
"I’m definitely sending it to Anaheim," Trout said Friday, smiling. "If I send it home, it’ll probably come back with 5,000 miles on it."
A new car was his prize for an exceptional game, but now Trout must deal with the praise and expectations heaped upon him after going 2 for 3 with a double, triple and two RBIs, including the game winner in a 5-3 American League victory.
His performance, coupled with the final ASG appearance of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, prompted the media to anoint him the new Face of the Game. But can he handle the responsibility?
"Every day I try to go out there and have fun and play baseball and respect the game the way he does," Trout said of Jeter. "When he’s gone, there’s got to be somebody to do it. I’m going to try my best to keep playing my game. If that’s what people say, that it’s the passing of the torch, it doesn’t change my game. I’ll keep respecting the game and playing hard."
At just 22 years old, it’s a lot for a kid to handle. Trout remains humble and soft-spoken, but in many ways he’s been preparing for this since he became a star in high school in Millville, N.J.
"Mike’s dealt with the spotlight since he was in high school," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He’s certainly dealt with the spotlight since he got to the major leagues at such a young age.
"I think he has perspective. He’s going to go out there and play baseball and let other people slot him where they will or call him the face of the game or critique him if they don’t think he’s playing at a certain level. I don’t think it fazes Mike. He wants to go out there and help us win."
He also hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for the game. Trout grew up idolizing Jeter, and the thrill of playing with him in the All-Star Game was something he’s not likely to forget soon.
"It’s pretty cool, me growing up following him, being a part of the same All-Star Game with him and winning MVP," he said. "Everything involving him, I feel very blessed and happy to be a part of it."