Mike Trout is the tree that falls in the forest every September. He might as well exist in the cold, vacuum of space. If there’s any evidence that sports are raw and unscripted, it’s Trout’s annual storyline. His slow fade from public consciousness as the playoffs creep closer is in stark contrast to the growing spotlight on his peers who are consistently vying for playoff glory. He’s arguably the most complete hitter in MLB when healthy and its ideal corporate star. He checks all the bases except for his perennially bottom-feeding franchise.
Ohtani is experiencing a degree of that September irrelevance while Judge’s pursuit of Roger Maris’ single season AL-record (and the Triple Crown) has squeezed the two-way star out of the AL MVP conversation. However, he has an escape hatch in his contract after the 2023 season. Now 31, Trout is nearing the end of his baseball prime on a club whose playoff aspirations typically fizzle out in mid-April. This is Mount Rushmore for players whose best years were wasted.