Hello Halo fans - TWIB is back! This edition is a bit dated. The last time I GIF'd any plays was during the All Star Break. Since then I have been busy, sick, traveling, in the SoCal MLB.tv blackout zone for a week, at Angel stadium for the Friday & Saturday Angels-Rangers games, traveling again, and now back at home and back to normal life. Normal life for me includes baseball. If there's no baseball it feels like the planet has tilted out of alignment or something. I go a little nuts during the off-season.
So here on the off-day (I get a little stir-crazy on Angel off-days too), let's remember together the ASG, and think a little bit about what it means.
Going into the break the thing I was most excited about was Mark Trumbo's participation in the Home Run Derby. I know it's not cool to like the HRD, but I like it a lot, and though he didn't win, Trumbo didn't disappoint. Even though Fielder won, and people will be talking about Kruk & Jones eating KC ribs for way longer than anyone should, I think the highlight homer people are going to remember from the Derby is this one from Trumbo. He hit it a mile and some dude in an unlikely spot caught it. Very GIF-able!
Jered Weaver also got in some ASG action. He came in after Verlander and Harrison had given the game away, but he did what we are accustomed to seeing: getting outs. Here's one of the more interesting ones:
Hey, that's Bryce Harper who made that out! How did he get in this game? Oh yes, he plays on the east coast and the fan-boys over there couldn't imagine having him sit this one out. So there he is. He made an out. The delicious part of this play was that the announcers had just been talking up his base-running skills after he'd tagged up from first on a fly ball to left... as if the defense is really gonna try that hard to get him when they are down 8-0 in an exhibition game. But people gotta talk about Harper. The guy really is irresistible to talk about. Heck, this paragraph about Harper is the longest one in this FanPost so far. Here's some more Harper-babble with our very own Mike Trout:
This was kind of an interesting interview until one of the announcers asked the players "Where do you find the happy?" Gimme a break! Have you watched these guys play? On the field, Trout never stops grinning, and Harper plays rather recklessly too. I hope these guys are happy off the field, but it seems clear enough that they are happy on it. blah blah blah, too much talk. Let's see how they played during the game.
Mike Trout came up in the middle of the game and stepped in against R.A. Dickey. Who knows if he'd ever seen a knuckleball before? Who cares? Mike Trout hits knuckleballs:
Mike Trout also worked a walk against Aroldis Chapman and his 100 mph fastball. Impressive stuff. Harper also worked a walk (against Weaver, which, to his credit, isn't that easy to do either). But the play people are going to remember about Harper's first ASG will be this one:
I love the Oh-man-I-look-dumb-I-have-no-f-ing-idea-where-the-ball-is body language.
Back to MIke Trout. When Trout got on after his hit he stole second. Apparently Trout was wearing a microphone during the game because as he slid into second the mic came loose. Look close:
That mic cannot keep up with Mike Trout. Mike Trout is faster than the speed of sound. Mike Trout is fast.
So there you have it. Mike Trout (age 20) and Bryce Harper (19) in their first ASG together. Makes you think back to what you were doing when you were 19 or 20. When I was 19 I had a summer job working in a factory making door panels for Jeeps. It wasn't lucrative but it did help me pay for college. After my second summer doing that I had had enough and found work at a cafe in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. So I spent my age-20 summer making pizzas and sandwiches for tourists, but I also rafted rivers, swam under waterfalls, escaped lightning storms, climbed a bunch of mountains, somehow avoided falling off cliffs, made some great friends, and learned A LOT about the crazy mix of people that belong to this country (and other countries). It was a summer for adventure and exertion. Sometimes I'd just pick a mountain I could see and bushwhack my way to the top. Other times I'd go birdwatching in a nearby swamp and get wet up to my thighs. Twenty mile hikes over multiple passes were no problem. I howled at the moon and got charged by moose.
All this before I was old enough to drink (not that I had much interest in that sort of thing at the time).
People are amazed, and rightly so, by what Mike Trout has done this year at age 20. He's doing what he loves, and he gets the joy of seeing his hard work pay off for himself and his team. I suppose a lot of people look back at what they did at age twenty and wonder if their lives add up to much compared to Mike Trout. On the baseball field only a select few can even begin to compare with what Trout has done at his age - Hall of Fame guys like Ty Cobb or Mickey Mantle. But for my own part I would not trade my age-20 or even my age-19 summers for Mike Trout's. My summer in the Park, and yes, even my summer in the factory were too important for transforming who I was as a kid to who I am now as an adult, too formative for developing my faith and my maturity. I wouldn't trade those summers for anything, not even a trip to the All Star Game.
Perhaps you're not sure you feel the same way (Maybe you do! or maybe you're 19 or 20 yourself?)? I'm not going to tell you to go play baseball like Trout or go climb a mountain like I did. It's not for everyone. But do what you love. Work hard. Be humble, kind, and smile a lot. Don't be afraid to make some rookie mistakes. And don't be afraid to be yourself. That's part of what I learned those summers, and I think Mike Trout would agree.
That's all for this edition of TWIB - ASG rewind. Go Halos!