In an unexpected correction of a sitting commissioner, the Los Angeles Angels issued a statement Wednesday strongly advocating for their franchise player, Mike Trout, against objections that he ought to “dedicate more time to selling himself and his sport”.
“We applaud him for prioritizing his personal values over commercial self-promotion,” the statement read. “That is rare in today’s society and stands out as much as his extraordinary talent.”
The statement followed two days of All-Star festivities in which the inability of Major League Baseball to market its best player was a hotly debated topic. On Tuesday, Commissioner Rob Manfred said the greatest obstacle in marketing Trout was Trout himself.
“Player marketing requires one thing for sure: the player,” Manfred said.
In his own statement, issued by the Angels five hours later, Trout stated, “I have received lots of questions about Commissioner Manfred‘s recent statement. I am not a petty guy and would really encourage everyone to just move forward”.
“Everything is cool between the Commissioner and me. End of story. I am ready to just play some baseball!”
Fans have voted him into the starting lineup of the All-Star game for six consecutive years, but early this season he fell out of the top 10 in MLB jersey sales. Aaron Judge, the New York Yankees’ mammoth slugger, ranks first.
Manfred, already fighting to revitalize a sport with an aging audience, pointed the finger at Trout for his unwillingness to embrace a national profile.
“If he wants to engage and be more active in that area, I think we could help him make his brand really big,” Manfred said. “But he has to make a decision that he is prepared to engage in that area, and it takes time and effort.”
In defending Trout, the Angels said: “His brand is built upon generously spending his time engaging with fans, both at home and on the road, while remaining a remarkable baseball player and teammate.”