Wait, you didn’t remember who won the most important bracket of March?
Votto’s victory vindicated his small-market heroics but it couldn’t land him in a national television advertising campaign called “I Play.” The five faces MLB chose for the campaign: David Price, Andrew McCutchen, Robinson Cano, Bryce Harper and Angels outfielder Mike Trout, whose video spot is linked above. (Apologies to the entire Midwest are in order.)
It’s another drop in the growing tide of Trout’s national celebrity. This off-season, he was featured on the cover of ESPN The Magazine, GQ and Men’s Health. You have to figure that he’ll get more exposure before he gets less. Ryan Seacrest seems to agree.
It’s also a refreshing affirmation that it’s possible to be a star simply by being really good at what you do. Trout isn’t as flashy as Harper, doesn’t play in as large a market as Cano, and hasn’t had as much time to establish himself as Price or McCutchen. He’s just a really good baseball player — maybe the best in the game — albeit one with a .313 on-base percentage (if you want to hold up his three-game sample size from 2013).
Playing in Los Angeles of Anaheim helps, too.
The Angels are playing the Texas Rangers in Arlington in about 10 minutes. Onto the bullet points:
• Mike Scioscia remains the highest-paid manager in baseball, even after San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy was extended through 2016 last week, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. Bochy has guided the Giants to two of the last three World Series titles. Remember this when you consider the expectations being heaped on the Angels this season.
• Vladimir Guerrero is 51 home runs shy of 500 career home runs. His quest for 51 will begin with the independent Long Island Ducks.
• Here’s where the Angels’ top 10 prospects are to start the minor-league season.
• Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto talked last month about how he uses Bloomberg Sports software to crunch player data. The Nationals, led by an old-school scout of a GM in Mike Rizzo, jumped on the Bloomberg bandwagon this week. So yes, the Angels are officially ahead of one team on the sabrmetric curve.
• Left-hander Travis Blackley, who was fairly effective for the A’s last season (he limited the Angels to a .200 batting average in three relief appearances last season), was traded to the Houston Astros yesterday.
• If you have a case of writer’s block, throw on this live Radiohead piece in the background. It worked for me this morning: