Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout has left his house plenty of times before for baseball road trips, but walking out the door Tuesday, boarding a plane to Seattle, and leaving behind his wife and newborn son, was never more painful.
“It was really, really hard, leaving him and leaving Jess,’’ Trout said of his son, Beckham Aaron Trout and his wife, Jessica. “Knowing what she’s going to be going through these next couple of months is tough.’’
There were times he wondered if there would even be a Major League Baseball season to come back to during his five-day leave for his son’s birth, with the pandemic outbreaks on the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals.
Yet, once the season started, he committed to playing the game, and isn’t turning back now.
“There were a lot of things flying through my head,’’ Trout said before Tuesday night's game against the Seattle Mariners. “Obviously, Jess was worried. This team, we’ve been safe. I feel safe here. Everyone’s being accountable, staying in the hotel room and doing the right thing, and making the right choices. It’s been good so far.
“It’s definitely scary for baseball. I’ve been saying this the whole time, it only takes one person. If you’re asymptomatic and don’t know, and you have it, and with the testing on Friday or Saturday, and you don’t get the results until after you land on a flight Sunday, and you’re positive, it would be a mess.
“There are a lot of things that go through your head when all of this stuff happens, and you reading all of this stuff.’’
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Mike Trout, a three-time MVP award winner and eight-time All-Star, is in his 10th season with the Angels. (Photo: Orlando Ramirez, USA TODAY Sports)
He trusts his Angels teammates will continue to be safe, following all the necessary protocols, but, man, he sure wishes there was testing every single day instead of every other day.
“The protocols are good,’’ Trout said, “it’s just the testing. I’ve said this from Day 1, if you don’t have testing every day, it’s going to be tough. You’re always trying to catch up and trying to catch it. You know, if we get tested Friday, we have to wait two days to get the results back, and you don’t know what’s going to happen in between.
“You’ve seen it with the Marlins, you’ve seen it with the Cardinals, it spreads fast.’’
Still, he says he wouldn’t be playing this year at all, choosing to opt out, if he didn’t believe his teammates and the Angels staff would be following all the health and safety protocols, no matter the sacrifice.
“We know what’s at stake,’’ Trout said. “One person could screw this thing up. It's tough to see when teams are missing eight, nine straight games. I’ve missed five straight games, and it feels weird to come back right now. I can’t imagine sitting in your hotel room for two weeks, and having to come back and play, you haven’t done anything.’’
But here he is, new father and all, trying to continue be the best player in baseball, smack in the middle of a pandemic.
“It’s a different situation,’’ Trout says, “but we’re going to go as far as we can. I guess.
“It’s pretty crazy.’’
Trout, the three-time American League MVP, now will see what it’s like playing with little sleep. He never was so happy to be interrupted every couple of hours in the middle of the night, and even being away for the first time Tuesday, still found himself Facetiming Jessica about 30 times throughout the day to keep taking peeks of his son.
But while the baseball world might consider Trout a hero, sorry, he says, he’s not even a hero in his own household, taking a back seat to his wife.
“What a champ,’’ he said. “To watch her go through that, and for me not being able to do anything to help her, she’s a champ. I don’t know if I could have went through that.
“How brave she was, how strong she was, it’s pretty incredible.’’
They laughed, Trout said, when they announced the name, knowing that their son’s initials are BAT.
They didn’t even think about it, Trout said, but knew from the moment Jessica’s brother, Aaron Cox, died two years ago, they would honor him with their son having his middle name.
So, with the A and T already established as the last two initials, virtually any first name they chose would have had folks having fun with the three initials, whether it was cat, mat, or a bat.
There was no significance behind the first name of Beckham, Trout said, with he and Jessica just believing it had a nice ring to it.
And, yes, he did see teammate Gordon Beckham’s tweet after the birth announcement, and laughed.
“This isn’t surprising,’’ Beckham tweeted after the announcement. “Mike really looked up to me and wanted to model his game after me when I was traded to the Angels. I just pray the kid doesn’t feel too much pressure living up to my career numbers.’’
This isn’t surprising, Mike really looked up to me and wanted to model his game after me when I was traded to the @Angels. I just pray the kid doesn’t feel too much pressure living up to my career numbers. https://t.co/VJy9JuvANw
Pretty funny stuff, and it felt good to be reunited with his teammates, but Trout sure can’t wait to get back home, holding his newborn son.
The memories of the birth, Trout vows, will be with him forever.
“It’s pretty incredible, a lot of emotions go into it,’’ Trout said. “I didn’t really know what to expect, but once I got to see him, and hold him with Jess, and what we went through to have a child, pretty amazing.’’
Follow USA TODAY Sports' Bob Nightengale on Twitter @BNightengale.
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