NJ’s Mike Trout – The best baseball player on the planet
At just 23-years-old, Millville native Mike Trout has already ended all debates and arguments.
The reigning American League MVP is the best and most talented player in Major League Baseball.
Following a ceremony to honor the four greatest living players (Mays, Koufax, Aaron, and Bench), Trout wasted little time showing again that he is the greatest active player in the world.
On the fourth pitch of last night's All-Star Game in Cincinnati, Trout homered off National League starter, Zack Greinke, who had not given up a run in over a month.
The homer gave Trout a career All-Star Game cycle, but it was not his only contribution. He used his blazing speed to beat out a routine double play ball and extend the fifth inning, scoring the go-ahead run on a Prince Fielder single.
His lead-off walk in the seventh inning triggered another rally as the American League beat the National League 6-3.
"He can do anything that anybody can do on a baseball field," AL manager Ned Yost said. "He can hit with power. He can run. He can drive the gap. He's a great defender. He's just special. When you look at Mike, you don't look at a 23-year-old. You look at a guy that is one of the best baseball players on this planet."
Trout's efforts earned him All-Star Game MVP honors for the second straight year, a feat no player has ever achieved. Overall, he becomes the fifth player to win the award twice. However, Willie Mays, Steve Garvey, Gary Carter, and Cal Ripken Jr. all won trophy No. 2 after they turned 29. Trout is just 23.
So much early success can sometimes bring out jealousy and bad blood, but Trout's peers had nothing but praise for the soft-spoken superstar.
"He's the best player in the game, the most talented baseball player I've ever seen,'' said Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier.
Yankees first basemen Mark Teixeira added his own prediction.
"He's going to be the best of all time."
In his usual fashion, Trout was humble when asked about being regarded as the best player in Major League Baseball.
"It means a lot," Trout said. "I try to respect the game as much as I can, play the game the right way, and just have fun."
As the compliments and praise flowed throughout the post-game ceremonies, the South Jersey phenom handled the attention with the grace that has made him the face of baseball.
Following the game, he would celebrate his latest achievement with another Jersey kid that had himself a pretty memorable week, Todd Frazier.
"After this, we're going to take a flight back to Jersey," Trout said. "He called me about a month ago and said, you know, if we're both in the All-Star Game, if I was getting a jet back home. Me and Todd, you know, we go back a while. We're always messing with each other."
And despite Frazier's Home Run Derby victory on Monday, the Toms River native said the ride back to the Garden State was on Trout's tab.
"Oh, he's definitely paying," Frazier said. "Two MVPs - for sure."
"It's going to be a fun flight home," Trout said.
How could it not be?
Two Garden State kids are living the dream in front our very eyes.
Frazier returns home as the home run champ and a rising star, who won over the sports nation this week.
Trout comes back with another MVP trophy, another car, and the undisputed title of best baseball player on the planet.
Not a bad week for Jersey baseball.