In case you’ve been living underneath a rock, dome or bridge, or maybe you’ve just been away from social media all day, know this simple fact: today is Mike Trout’s birthday. Yes, the greatest living, active baseball player is celebrating another full 365 days on this rock we call Earth. This is almost like Halosphere holiday, because like the total good guy that he is, we all know that he’lll give us a present or two in the form of a home run and maybe a diving catch, a win, etc. Getting to watch him play almost every day is a gift to be cherished itself, yet on HIS birthday, he makes sure WE are feeling like we’re on top of the world. Tonight was no different. We don’t have high expectations, he’s just that cool.
The fever around the Chosen One’s special occasion simmered all day long, in countless tweets, shares, comments and press. The tone at the ballpark, where the Angels were starting a weekend series against Baltimore, was lively and ready to show some love; well wishers filled the stands with signs proclaiming their good-vibe wares. He even was serenaded "Happy Birthday" by the fans in the outfield during the top of the first.The undisputed apex of the Trout worship bacchanal was his first AB, and the script in everyone’s inner monologue fan fiction had Trout mashing a bomb. Naturally, that’s EXACTLY what happened. Trout took a pitch from Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, and drove it deep to left-center. Gone. Mike Trout gave us all a shot of visual and aural adrenaline, and once again proved that he is the ultimate in pro sports wish fulfillment.
That 1-0 lead would hold for awhile, with superb rookie Andrew Heaney on the mound. It wouldn’t hold all night, though. In fact, the Orioles got back rather quickly. Adam Jones hit an RBI single in the third, tying the game, and in the fourth Jonathan Schoop hit a two run shot off of Heaney to put the out-of-towners up on top 1-3.
The Halos got it back, though, in the bottom of the fourth, when new guy David Murphy singled in Mike Trout, and then Johnny Giavotella further solidified his clutch status by hitting an RBI double. That Murphy RBI was his first for his new team, but he wouldn’t be the only new guy getting in on the action.
The sixth was when Andrew Heaney got hit a little too hard, and got knocked out of the game. Matt Wieters took him deep deep to center, giving Baltimore a 4-3 advantage, and Heaney would only make it to 5.2 IP on the night. It was a short outing, only 85 pitches, but the long balls killed him in the end. The Orioles are not a team that you can make those mistake pitches with, otherwise...tonight happens. Of course, the Angels had some more tricks up their sleeves and were poised to run away with the game.
In the bottom of the sixth, with two men on, Chris Iannetta hit a huge double off of the left field wall, clearing the bases and once again the Angels had the lead. Next up, other new guy, and new "David", David DeJesus hit a single to right field, driving in Iannetta and the Angels were up 6-4. This is a good example of birthday etiquette for friends and teammates. When at Mike Trout’s birthday party, it’s important to bring some presents, and Mike Trout loves go-ahead hits. Well played, Chris Iannetta. You’ll be getting a thank you card in the mail(and one from Heaney, too).
Things actually got worse for the Orioles from there, as C.J. Cron hit an absolute no-doubter in the seventh, with a man on base, and we had a very July-like 8-4 score. Again, this is an exemplary way to celebrate your teammates day of birth, with gargantuan, two run dingers, and perhaps a cold one at Goat Hill Tavern later on in the evening.
Mike Trout may be the best form of entertainment in the world right now. He seemingly lives to thrill, and to exhiliarate, and to bring child-like smiles to even the surliest and pessimistic of baseball’s disciples. He’s only 24, but he’s already changed an entire generation of Angels fans, and on days like his birthday, instead of thinking about himself, he turns it all up a notch and takes all those in attendance on a ride. One last time, before the day is over, and because it really can’t be said enough: Happy birthday, Mike Trout. You are the best.