July 2nd, 2009. Michael Nelson Trout is signed by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the first time. He puts up astonishing numbers across the Minor and Major Leagues of baseball, and becomes someone familiar to America. So much so, the President of the United States compares him to a Swiss-army-knife and piece of legislation.
March 28th, 2014. The day began with news that Mike had a little stomach virus and would not play the exhibition game in the afternoon ahead. Later that afternoon though, I get a text and immediately go to the social media networks promoting that Michael Nelson Trout has signed a six-year, $144.5 million deal with the Angels, and the world begins to explode with the news. Though I was not the first, or the last, I was one of many on this day to join in ecstasy, knowing I would work with, and see Mike Trout for years to come in the Southern California sun.
There isn't much Mike Trout hasn't done in baseball, but I'm sure he'll do something new to change our minds of that. We all know the numbers, the records, the plays, the stories. I have no need to go in to that. Instead, I will tell you of a name that we will talk about for years, while conversing about the best to ever play, in any sport. Names such as; Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Wayne Gretzky, Secretariat, Arthur Ashe, Peyton Manning... need I go on?
The contract is not so standard, but for who Mike is, it may seem to be. The contract goes through the 2020 season, is a six-year extension worth $144.5 million. The contract begins at the beginning of the 2015 season, and buys out three arbitration years, as well as three free-agent years. Included is a no-trade clause, with no additional option years for either player or team. Mike Trout will become a free agent at the age of 29.
With this contract, the Angels will stay under the $189 million threshold and luxury tax that Major League Baseball has extended for the first time in 2014. Also with the contract, the Angels will stay under that threshold while paying recently released pitcher, Joe Blanton, and former Angel, Vernon Wells, who the Angels owe $27 million to over the 2014 season.
Today, March 29th, 2014, is the Angels 5K run at Angel Stadium as well as "Fiesta Angels" where the Angels will formally announce the new deal during a press conference outside Angel Stadium at 1:30 PM, Pacific Standard Time, underneath the big red hats that have been a trademark of the stadium for seasons. Following, Mike Trout, hopefully healthy from the stomach virus, will play in an exhibition game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at 7:00 PM, for the first time, as a future, "long term Angel."
As a writer and reporter, you find ways to avoid becoming a fan of players, but in this case, I am the opposite. I am a professional of the sport, a writer, a publisher, a reporter... and a very large Mike Trout fan. A true gentleman of the sport both on and off the field of play. It is a true blessing to say I will both work with, and be able to watch him nearly daily, for the next six seasons beyond this season. A feeling that leaves me in ecstasy, much as the rest of the Southern California baseball fans.
We are in the presence of greatness, and greatness will be here to stay for quite some time. As a colleague brought out to me, there is only one word to express our feelings towards Mike Trout, and that word is, "wow."
For more updates and information on the Los Angeles Angels, follow me on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard, and don't forget to follow @ScoutAngels as well.