This is about the one that didn't get away. Los Angeles went fishing for a slugging outfielder and landed a kid by the name of Mike Trout, who is almost guaranteed to hook the 2012 American League rookie of the year award.
The Angels and their fans, needless to say, are in love with Trout. They have fallen for him big-time — hook, line and sinker.
Trout started the 2012 season in the minor leagues. He was 20 years old when he was called up to the "bigs" in late April. It was a slow start, 1-for-11, until a four-game series in early May against the Toronto Blue Jays — five hits in 16 at-bats, with 10 runs-batted-in in — got this amazing fish story started.
It only got better. Trout, playing like a defensive veteran in centre field, has simply been the AL's best hitter this year. His May was great (.324 with five home runs), his June was sensational (.372, three dingers and an on-base percentage of .419) and his July had Cooperstown calling for his hat size (.392, 10 homers in 97 at-bats, a .455 on-base percentage and a Ruthian-like .819 slugging percentage). The 10 home runs tied an Angels record for one month.
"My confidence has definitely increased because I'm getting more at-bats (and) playing every day and just getting more comfortable," Trout told MLB.com. "I'm feeling pretty good out there right now."
Angels' manager Mike Scioscia said Trout is "on his way to a remarkable career. He's just getting started, and look what he's doing. He's just an unbelievable baseball player."
Despite Trout's remarkable rookie season and the Angels off-season signing of the generally acknowledged best player in baseball, Albert Pujols, the Angels are still struggling mightily to make the playoffs. They entered mid-August seven games behind West Division-leading Texas, but are in the thick of the wild-card race.
With Trout surrounded by so much talent — among others, the lineup includes Pujols, Torii Hunter and second-year slugger Mike Trumbo and a pitching staff that starts with Jered Weaver, free-agent signee C.J. Wilson and recently added superstar Zack Grienke at the trade deadline — it's hard to believe the Angels aren't leading the West Division by about 15 games. But they aren't, so they'll need another July-like month from Trout in August and September. If his numbers get any better, though, it'll sound like a real fish story.
• Comedy writer Jim Barach: "Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson says he could beat Usain Bolt in a race under the right conditions. Apparently those conditions would include a 50-yard head start with Bolt having one hand tied to his leg."
• Barach again: "An Olympic spectator was arrested at a cycling road race for 'not smiling.' It's just a good thing that London police are not in charge of security at Cubs games."
• R.J. Currie of sportsdeke.com: "France's Yannick Agnel won Gold in the men's 200m freestyle, posting the fastest time since bodysuits were banned. Now you're up to Speedo."
• Dave Barry, Miami Herald: "The word 'equestrian' comes from two Greek words: 'eques,' meaning 'horses,' and 'trian,' meaning 'being ridden by people with large inheritances and names like Edwina Ponce-Twickendale.'"
• Greg Cote, Miami Herald: "TMZ.com reports that swimmer Michael Phelps has been partying in London with his gold medals. Note to regular guys in London bars: You have no pickup line that will compete with Michael Phelps whipping out his gold."
• Headline at TheOnion.com: "Terrell Owens impresses Seahawks during verbal portion of tryout."
• Comedy writer Alan Ray, on the inequities of Olympic equestrian: "The top rider and trainer share a gold medal. The horse gets an apple."
• TNT's Conan O'Brien, after a German diver slipped off the board and landed flat on his back, earning one 0.0 score: "He tried to save face halfway through the dive. He yelled 'cannonball.'"
• Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: "Former leftfielder Jose Canseco has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Or as he prefers to call it, an E-7."
• Janice Hough of leftcoastsportsbabe.com: "The Cowboys have apparently talked to Plaxico Burress's agent about signing the free-agent wide receiver. Could be a good fit - Dallas has a strong quarterback, a winning tradition, and loose gun laws."
• Hough again: "Almost eight years after the 2004 Olympics, the IOC is apparently going to strip Tyler Hamilton of his cycling gold medal for doping, and give it to Russia's Ekimov. 'Wow fast investigative work," said administrators at Penn State.'
• Comedy writer Alex Schubert, on Terrell Owens moving from the Arena Football League to signing with Seattle Seahawks: "Nothing says NFL ready like being cut from an arena football team."
• From David Letterman's Top Ten Fun Facts about the Major League Baseball all-star game: "No. 6: All-Star etiquette requires players to spit discreetly into a handkerchief; No. 8 After the Home Run Derby, there's now a Weak Grounder to Third Derby."
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