Baseball’s consensus best player Mike Trout opened up to reporters this morning at Angels’ preseason camp and shared some doubts about returning to play baseball, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The typically tight-lipped kingfish center fielder had a lot to say, as he spoke to The Athletic‘s Fabian Ardaya, saying:
“Honestly, I still don’t feel comfortable. […] We’re risking our families, risking our lives to go out here and play for everyone…I want to play. It’s just a tough situation. I’ve just got to play it by ear. […] One guy could mess this up…Everybody’s got to take responsibility, got to take care of each other…Everybody wants this game back, but we’ve got to get this game back in the right way and the safest way.”
While Trout has not opted out of the season, he has committed to prioritizing his family’s health as his wife Jessica is due with their first child in August. At the bare minimum, one would expect Trout to take time off in August to be with his wife, given the circumstances.
Mike Trout pic.twitter.com/m15uVtO2xE— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) July 3, 2020
New Angels manager Joe Maddon, similarly, made some waves with his coronavirus comments.
LA #Angels manager Joe Maddon: “The person that opts out is the person who doesn’t want to follow the protocols at any risk. If you in your heart of hearts don’t believe you can do this, you’re the person who should opt out.”— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 3, 2020
“The person that opts out is the person who doesn’t want to follow the protocols at any risk. If you in your heart of hearts don’t believe you can do this, you’re the person who should opt out.”
Nightengale attempted to clarify Maddon’s statement on Twitter, saying “Joe Maddon simply is saying that any player who can’t follow the protocols, endangering the health of their teammates and families, should opt out. He certainly respects anyone’s choice to opt out.”
It’s possible that what Maddon meant to say was something far different than what he conveyed, or that he was misquoted. However, Maddon’s statement characterizes players opting out as those who do not want to follow protocol. According to Nightengale’s clarification, Maddon is saying completely different: that those not following protocol should opt-out.
While baseball fans haven’t seen players play for about nine months now, they should respect Trout’s (and other players’) willingness to prioritize his and his family’s health with so many uncertain implications of the virus, even among young and able-bodied people.
Edit: Bob Nightengale took Maddon’s quote completely out of context. Maddon fully supports players making their own choices for health and safety, unlike Nightengale’s original tweet implies.
Here are the full quotes from Joe Maddon in @BNightengale’s story. Bob would’ve been better served to not send the original tweet out without some context. https://t.co/hRw8h1DR8B https://t.co/Y82ZoIiiri pic.twitter.com/tGP3wJV5pc— Brent Maguire (@bmags94) July 3, 2020
Photo credit: Jeff Fletcher, Orange County Register (via Twitter)