A day after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred suggested two-time American League MVP Mike Trout should be more active in marketing himself, Trout issued a statement amid growing criticisms Manfred’s comments incited.
“I have received lots of questions about Commissioner Manfred’s recent statement,” Trout said Wednesday night. “I am not a petty guy and would really encourage everyone to just move forward. Everything is cool between the Commissioner and myself. End of story. I am ready to just play some baseball!”
Manfred was asked at his annual All-Star break press conference on Tuesday about whether the league should work harder to market Trout, whose resume and on-field accomplishments far outpace his fame.
“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 are trying to market in order to have effective marketing.
“Mike has made decisions on what he wants to do, doesn’t want to do, how he wants to spend his free time or not spend his free time. I think we could help him make his brand very big. But he has to make a decision to engage. It takes time and effort.”
Earlier Wednesday, the Los Angeles Angles issued a lengthy statement in support of their seven-time All-Star.
“One of Mike’s traits that people admire most is his humility,” the Angels’ statement reads, in part. “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.
“In addition, Mike spends quality time as a husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend. We applaud him for prioritizing personal values over commercial self-promotion. That is rare in today’s society and stands out as much as his extraordinary talent.”
The statement also called Trout an “exceptional ambassador for the game” and praised his character as a role model and charitable contributor off the field.
Trout spoke briefly about Manfred’s comments after Tuesday night’s All-Star Game, in which he went 1-for-2 with a walk and a solo homer.
“I do as much as I can,” Trout said. “But it’s a long baseball season. I got to pick and choose when I want to do things and go from there.”
Trout, who will turn 27 in August, has repeatedly said he is more focused on winning with the Angels than on gaining celebrity. While he has a shoe deal with Nike and did a national ad campaign with Subway early in his career, he has generally sought to avoid the spotlight, including choosing not to participate in the Home Run Derby or the World Baseball Classic.
He will make more than $34 million annually through 2020, when he will hit free agency.
—Field Level Media