I hope you're sitting down, because this particular Angels hot take could bowl you and your delicate Halos sensibilities right over, if you're careful. It has come to the attention of ESPN, America's foremost Tim Tebow tweet aggregation machine, has launched a missile today aimed right at the core of Angels fans everywhere: The Angels are wasting the best years of Mike Trout.
CUE DRAMATIC MUSIC STING
Okay, so dropping the sarcastic tone for a bit, we can all see this article coming from a mile away. It's almost comical, as if a national sports writer crowd sourced a premise from virtually every comment section of every story I've posted to Facebook in the past six months. "They're waisting Trout's bst yrs!!!11" is the typical refrain seen on FB or even right here on this site, ranging from completely coherent and thought out to high pitched rabble with the most tenuous of grasps on the written word. But still, if there's one thing we've all come to some sort of agreement on as fans, it's that the Angels may be making Mike Trout into the next Ernie Banks i.e. an off the charts player who, while destined for HOF glory, never had that thrill of being on a championship team.
I guess it's better late than never. Here's the gist of the article:
Ty Cobb played in three World Series by the time he was 22, lost them all, and never made it back.
Ted Williams played in one World Series, hit .200 in a seven-game defeat, and never made it back.
Ernie Banks never made one at all. Neither did Billy Williams or Ryne Sandberg or Andre Dawson.
Ken Griffey Jr. will be enshrined in Cooperstown this summer but he never played in a World Series. Torii Hunter just retired without playing in one. Ichiro Suzuki and Rod Carew. Frank Thomas was on the 2005 White Sox, but was injured and didn't actually play in the World Series, his only opportunity.
Which gets us to Mike Trout. Oh, his career is young, just four seasons in, so he has many stories yet to tell and myths to build. But after a winter in which the Los Angeles Angels haven't been willing to pay for any big bats, in which they'll roll out an Opening Day lineup that could include the likes of Craig Gentry, Johnny Giavotella, Geovany Soto and C.J. Cron, you have to wonder: Are the Angels going to waste Trout's prime years?
It's nice to see the Worldwide Leader(of BAErod coverage) get on the same train that we've been stuck on for awhile now. The rest of the article goes on to give a handful of no-brainer explanations as to what put the Angels in this place, and it comically reads like someone summed up half of 2015's Halos Heaven posts into one tidy article: Albert Pujols is old and costs a lot of money, Josh Hamilton is still getting paid by Arte Moreno, they have no prospects, they didn't go after a big free agent LF. Does any of that sound familiar? If so, don't encourage them by clicking on that article. If not, then have at it...and congratulations on waking up from your coma.
I suppose that while nothing new or revelatory can come out of a piece like this(at least to Angels fans that have been paying even the slightest attention), it may shine down on the Angels' growing front office concerns a big, bright, national spotlight, so even the most casual of MLB fan or East Coast Sports Only sycophant will have a passing understanding of the continuing problems with our beloved team. The more people see that Trout's prime is squandered, and subsequently point and laugh at Moreno and Co., the greater chance Arte might be pressured into *gasp* making a big move that helps the team and compliments Mike Trout. That's best case scenario. We're already living worst case scenario, so it's only up from here.
I will take issue with one small aspect of this type of criticism, and that's the idea of "wasted" years. The players the article mentions(Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, Ken Griffey Jr) all put in some of the best careers we've ever seen on a baseball diamond. We just got done seeing Griffey Jr voted into the HOF, and with it, a flood of nostalgia regarding The Kid and his insane time on the field. It would have been awesome if he got a ring, but if you focus on that, you're missing out on a TON of amazing moments he bestowed on us fans. Same goes for Banks, Williams...and the same will go for Mike Trout, if he never hoists that championship trophy. World Series are tough to win, and many amazing players never attained that lofty goal, but that doesn't mean those nights of wowing home and away crowds alike were "wasted". Mike Trout has already blown our minds and expanded our imaginations as to what a baseball player can do; sometimes, that is all you need to become a legend.
Now, if Mike Trout wins a WS as an Angel, and stays on the Angels until his retirement years and years from now, that will be a great thing. Hey, that's a pretty obvious remark, I know. Maybe I can write it up for ESPN.