With the Mamba out, Mike Trout now the biggest sports name in So. Cal.
By David Rice
The Legend of the Black Mamba
So on Wednesday night as were many Southern California sports fans (including the Angels Mike Trout) I was enthralled watching the final game of Kobe Bean Bryant AKA the “Black Mamba”. It was a fitting end to the career of one of the greatest players in NBA History. While watching Kobe do his thing I got nostalgic, even shed a tear or two reminiscing some of my best NBA memories that involved Bryant. I saw Kobe’s 2nd career 50 point game when he scored 56 against the Vancouver Grizzlies on Shaq’s birthday (Shaq was suspended for a fight with Brad Miller of the Kings). That stood as Kobe’s career high for four seasons, and what was even more amazing is that it was in only three quarters as he sat the whole 4th stanza with Lakers up by 25 starting the quarter. I also saw a game in 2006 where Kobe only had seven points at halftime against the Clippers and he came out and had a 27 point third quarter finishing the game with 50 points in a three-point Lakers comeback victory.
The budding Legend of Mike Trout
Then it hit me as I glanced on my Mike Trout bobblehead doll, and I stopped being so melancholy and realized I will still be able to watch greatness every night, just in a different venue and sport. Although it is still fairly early in his career I realize that we are seeing something special in center field for the Los Angeles Angels on a daily basis and that is in the person of Michael Nelson Trout. Trout has done more in his first four seasons in the Majors than many players do in their whole career. Trout has already hit 40 home runs in a season (2015), win a league MVP award (2014), win back-to-back All-Star Game MVP awards (2014 and 2015), win the Rookie of the Year award in 2012 and also win four Silver Slugger awards.
I have personally seen many great Mike Trout moments including a couple of two-homer games, too many amazing catches to count, which included last September’s legendary wall-climbing catch against Seattle. You never know what spectacular play or feat that you will see Mike Trout accomplish when you go to an Angels game.
One thing missing from Mike Trout’s resume is a World Series Title. Kobe has five NBA championship rings, Trout does not even have a playoff victory as of yet (he is hoping to change that this season). Despite that fact Trout has been nothing short of amazing. He also respects the game of baseball, just like Kobe does with basketball. Mike Trout and Kobe Bryant also have mutual respect for each other. On Wednesday afternoon Trout wore batting gloves with the Lakers colors and they had the numbers 24 and 8 written on them.
Kobe and his family have attended numerous Angels games and the two have spoken on several occasions. So let’s flash-forward lets say 15 years when Mike Trout will be in his 20th season in the majors. Trout announces he will retire at the end of the season. This will be a sad day for whatever team Trout plays for. What will be the hoopla surrounding his “Farewell Tour”? On the last day of Trout’s legendary career (hopefully all with the Angels), what will he do in his last game. Can he hit for the cycle or have a three home run game? Will he give a post-game speech thanking everyone and then say “Trout Out” and drop the mike on the center field turf? That all remains to be seen.
However, for me two days removed from watching one of the greatest legends in Southern California sports history ride off into the sunset, I’m not going to lament the fact that I will not be able to watch Kobe play anymore. Instead I am going to remember all those great Black Mamba moments and thank God that I live in Southern California where I can watch another living legend, Michael Nelson Trout, play on a daily basis.