The MLB Network Presents franchise has focused exclusively on retired players or older personalities still in the game in the past, with the most recent installment covering the 1970s Oakland Athletics. But the latest installment will break that trend, as the featured personality is none other than Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout, the reigning American League MVP and a man that many fans feel should be the new face of baseball.
At just 25-years old, Mike Trout has established himself as one of the greatest to ever play Major League Baseball, amassing two American League MVP awards and Rookie of the Year honors, statistical records and physical feats on the field that leave observers in awe. Mike Trout: Millville to MVP, the latest edition in the MLB Network Presents documentary series, takes an in-depth look at Trout’s path from multi-sport star athlete growing up in a small town in southern New Jersey to his status today with the Los Angeles Angels as arguably the best player in the game.
The one-hour documentary explores what defines Trout and examines his profound connection to his hometown of Millville, New Jersey. Filmed throughout the 2016-17 offseason, the show features an interview with Trout at the popular Millville restaurant Jim’s Lunch, plus various perspectives on Trout’s rise to stardom from interviews with his parents, Jeff and Debbie Trout, his high school coach Roy Hallenbeck, former Angels teammate Torii Hunter, 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane, MLB Network’s Brian Kenny, baseball writers Ben Lindbergh, Bill Petti, and Joe Posnanski, and Los Angeles Angels personnel, including manager Mike Scioscia and teammates Kole Calhoun and Garrett Richards.
This documentary seems a bit premature, given that Trout is still just 25 and entering only his sixth full season in baseball. But given that Trout is the best player in baseball and one of the best players in baseball history (already!), putting more of a spotlight on Trout is justifiable. Interviews with Trout, his parents, a number of Angels officials, and current and former AL West rivals are included, detailing Trout’s rise through high school into the Angels organization.
There’s a pretty funny part of the film when Trout’s fall during the 2009 MLB Draft is shown, and clips of Bud Selig reading off the players (who busted) are spliced together. Chad James! Bobby Borchering! Grant Green! It’s another reminder that the MLB Draft is so much more of a crapshoot than the other pro sports drafts, and that it’s not a surprise Trout lasted as long as he did and that most of the players in front of him became busts.
My only real gripe with this film is probably one of the reasons why there hasn’t been an installment focused on an active player – there isn’t much of an ending. Trout’s career is still continuing with no signs of slowing down. He’s not retired. He’s not in the Hall of Fame. Hell, he still hasn’t experienced a playoff win. How are we going to look back at Trout’s career in 15 years if it ends abruptly for one reason or another, or if he continues to not experience playoff success, or if it just turns…ordinary in the next couple of seasons?
But all in all, the main purpose of this film was seemingly to document how normal Trout still is, despite his extraordinary on-field success. In that case, it succeeds.
Mike Trout: Millville to MVP premieres on Sunday, April 9th at 8 PM on MLB Network.