Mike Trout has not been to the MLB postseason since 2014 – it was his only trip to October baseball, and he went 1-for-12 in his long series.
As successful as Trout is individually, his Los Angeles Angels have not matched his prowess, finishing under. 500 in seven straight seasons.
But Trout has a new form of motivation for this upcoming season – his own Philadelphia Eagles.
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Trout is a native of Millville, New Jersey, about 40 miles away from Lincoln Financial Field. South Jersey is certainly Philly country, and he grew up attending plenty of Eagles games. Now, he is a season-ticket holder for his hometown team, sitting right beyond one of the end zones. He’s had a literal front-row to plenty games, and he’s seen this Super Bowl run up close and personal.
It’s the Eagles’ second Super Bowl appearance in five seasons, and attending the recent playoff games at the Linc has the 10-time All-Star dying to return to the postseason himself, to the point where there’s a bit of jealousy.
“It crushes me, because I want to experience the playoff atmosphere. I got a little taste of it in ‘14, but it’s been a while since I’ve been back,” Trout told ESPN. “I can’t imagine what the players are going through, and I think everybody that competes in sports wants that feeling. That’s the goal every year, is to get back to the playoffs. You know it, everybody asks me, ‘We gotta get Trout to the playoffs.’”
Trout is widely regarded as one of the faces of baseball, but considering he’s missed the postseason in all but one of his 11 full seasons in the big leagues, it’s now becoming a thing that he may just be a regular season hero.
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“I see all the GIFs, I see all the memes on social media that I’ve been to more Eagles playoffs games than the Angels. I get a kick out of it,” he admitted, “but I don’t think anybody as an athlete doesn’t want to be in that situation, doesn’t want to be on that field. You just want to be out there and just compete. It pushes me more going to these games and seeing the atmosphere knowing that this is where I want to be, in special moments like this and be out there with the guys.”
Trout added that the crowd noise in Philly is some sort of preparation for what he hopes to experience in southern California, and he wants the same heroic moments that Jalen Hurts and Haason Reddick have had so far.
“It all correlates with each other. Obviously, different sport, but to experience the atmosphere, it’s all gonna be the same. So you gotta obviously prepare yourself,” he continued. “I would be lying to you if I’m sitting there on the sidelines saying ‘I don’t want to be in this situation.’ I think about it all the time. People talk to me all the time, ‘We gotta get you to the playoffs.’ I know. It’s out there. It’s not like we’re not trying to do it. I want to be in that big situation, I want to be in that big moment, and I think every athlete that doesn’t want that big moment, they shouldn’t even be playing.”
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Trout says he plans to be at Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona, just days before he will report to the Angels’ spring training facility less than 25 miles away.