Answer Man: Mike Trout talks robbing home runs, MVP, endorsements, nicknames and fish

David Brown
Big League Stew

Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels is nearing the end of one of the best rookie campaigns in major league history. He seems a lock to win AL Rookie of the Year and is a leading candidate for AL MVP. His skills, simplified, are these: He hits home runs, he steals bases and he combines the two by stealing home runs. These talents likely will make him very famous and rich, and the process of celebrity is fully underway now that Trout has signed up for his first national endorsement deal (and media tour) with something called BODYARMOR SuperDrink. Do you drink it? Do you wear it? Both?

Trout, seemingly a humble kid from New Jersey (the Philadelphia Phillies side of it) explains what's up in the latest Answer Man session.

David Brown: Is Torii Hunter keeping track of how many home runs you've stolen?

Mike Trout: Oh, he knows. He keeps telling me I've got about 22 more to go before to catch up to him [laughs].

DB: It seems like it's 12, but it hasn't been that many.

MT: I think it's at four right now.

DB: Have you saved any of those baseballs that you've stolen?

MT: Yeah, I do. Sometimes, I'll check 'em out. And sometimes I'll also go back and watch [the highlight] again and I'll still think the ball's about to go out. But I think my J.J. Hardy catch is the best one out of all of them.

DB: What is the toughest thing about robbing somebody of a home run?

MT: Just getting back to the track and, you know, timing is the key. You have to have the right timing and if you don't ... it's easy to jump too early or jump too late. It all has to come out right. You've sort of always got to be on point.

DB: I have a feeling how you're going to answer but: Is it starting to feel like you're in a horse race competition with Miguel Cabrera for MVP votes?

MT: Yeah, I get this a lot. Nah. He's having a great year. He's trying to get to the playoffs, which is the same thing I'm trying to do. I'm just going out there trying to do everything I can to help the team win. At the end of the year, if I win MVP or if I don't, there's still one goal in my mind and that's to get to the playoffs. All the individual stuff can come after the season.

DB: Do you know you've finally made it when you've signed up for your first national endorsement deal?

MT: Ha! Yeah, it's pretty cool, having an opportunity to sign with BODYARMOR and be a partner with them, on top of it.

DB: This BODYARMOR stuff doesn't have anything to do with underwear, right? They're not affiliated with [another company]?

MT: It's a superior nutrition and superior hydration drink. You definitely don't wear it. It's something that helps me, and it helps other people, perform on the field. Personally, I cramp up a lot, so drinking it before the game and during it helps keep me hydrated. It's what you want to drink.

DB: Are we going to see you in SuperDrink TV commercials?

MT: You're going to see me in some crazy TV deals. We're definitely going to have some fun with it. People will think it's pretty cool.

DB: Rob Gronkowski from the Patriots also sponsors BODYARMOR, doesn't he?

MT: Gronk, LeSean McCoy from the Eagles — and I'm a big Eagles fan, too — so it's neat to have him on board as well.

DB: With you having turned 21 in August, and given Gronkowski's reputation, does that mean it's legal for you to hang out with him?

MT: Haha. Yeah, I definitely want to meet him. That's part of the juice, too, having him be a partner with the SuperDrink. It's exciting.

DB: Where were you when the Phillies won the World Series?

MT: It was '08. That was in Philly and I was at the stadium. I wasn't at the game. Me and my buddy were sitting in the parking lot, tailgating. That was a crazy night for us.

DB: That's awesome. Did you try to get tickets and couldn't?

MT: No ... I mean, obviously I wanted to go the game and get tickets. But, no tickets, and we decided to meet up with our buddy who goes to school close by. So we did that, put a grill out with burgers and stuff. Had a little TV. And, just the atmosphere of the stadium, hearing whenever the Phillies got a hit or a big home run, we just went crazy. There were a lot of people tailgating. I don't think there was an open spot. All packed.

DB: Being from New Jersey, you're legally required to enjoy Bruce Springsteen. What is your favorite memory of "The Boss"?

MT: Haha. Well, I'm not really a big Springsteen guy. I'll listen to the music, but ... I didn't really get attached to it as much as, like, country artists. That's really who I listen to.

DB: This week, your hometown of Millville OK'd putting up Mike Trout banners throughout the city.

MT: Mmm hmm. I think they're up at, like, gas stations and other places around town. It's pretty crazy.

DB: You say they put up a banner at a gas station?

MT: Yeah, a gas station and this little supermarket we got. It's pretty surreal.

DB: Is it something your family enjoys more than you do?

MT: Probably. Yeah, I think they like driving up to them and seeing them. Makes them feel good. They're getting as much attention as I am in town. It's been pretty crazy for them.

DB: Have you taken steps to trademark the nickname that I didn't know existed until a couple of days ago, the "Millville Meteor"?

MT: Yeah. I don't know about trademark but I was at a signing a couple of weeks ago and people were like, "I have to get this on the ball." And I talked to a guy, and I guess someone went on Wikipedia under my name — you know how anyone can edit it? — and someone put that on my Wikipedia page. And ever since that, it's been my nickname. I [had been] wondering the same thing: Who came up with it and what is it?

DB: But you'll sign baseballs with that inscription? You're going with it?

MT: Yeah, people like that!

DB: Actually, Sports Illustrated came up with a pretty good one — "The Supernatural" — when they put you on the cover.

MT: Yeah, but I haven't done that inscription for anyone yet. Nobody has asked.

DB: But do you believe in anything like the S.I. Cover Jinx, or the Madden Curse?

MT: Nah, nothing like that. I don't think there's much to it.

DB: For autographs, you have an exclusive licensing agreement with the MLBPA Alumni Association, so they get the proceeds from when you sign at baseball card shows and so forth. How come you went with them?

MT: They were the right fit. They're very nice people, and a lot of different groups were coming after me, trying to get me to sign with them, but they seemed like the right ones. It's good publicity for me as well.

DB: When Jered Weaver was throwing a no-hitter back in May, did you not want anyone to hit a ball to you in the late innings?

MT: You know, I wasn't even on the field.

DB: Oh, man, I assumed you were out there.

MT: I wasn't playing that day, but I assure you that I wasn't moving in my seat on the bench. I wasn't movin', I was not doin' nothin'. I was sitting there calm, didn't say a word. Just keeping as still as I could. But I did get to see it, and that's pretty cool.

DB: Did you have any nightmare flashbacks in spring training when CJ Wilson published Mike Napoli's phone number on Twitter? Jered Weaver pulled a similar prank on you the year before.

MT: Yeah, it came up again. It wasn't that big of a deal to me. You're going to get hazed a little bit as a rookie. You just got to have fun with it. People asked me some awkward things but it was mostly people wanting to know, on texts, what I did in the offseason.

DB: Do you feel like, if only you had gone to East Carolina and taken some philosophy classes, you'd understand what CJ Wilson was talking about more often?

MT: He's a pretty unique dude. But a good guy to hang out with in the clubhouse. He's always got something different to say. All these crazy ideas. But he's a cool dude.

DB: How did you feel about websites like Busted Coverage announcing that you had a girlfriend, her name was Jessica, and they showed a bunch of pictures that look like they came from Facebook?

MT: I didn't worry about it. I knew that, at some point, people were going to try and dig up bad stuff about me. Or even good stuff. But that stuff, none of it bothers me.

DB: I've been trying to make fun of your last name, but it seems like all the good jokes have been taken. Any of it strike you as being clever?

MT: When I was in Toronto this year, I was in left field and everybody in left field — or maybe it was the whole stadium — was chanting "Here, fishy, fishy, fishy!" That was pretty intense but also pretty cool. And funny, actually. But signs like, "You smell like fish." I mean, c'mon.

DB: If someone in your family catches a trout, guts it, grills it and eats it, is that cannibalism?

MT: Haha — that's funny! But to answer the question: I don't know. I don't think so.

DB: There's one area where Bryce Harper is ahead of you, and that's in fielding Clown Questions. What do you have to do to close the "Clown Question Bro" Gap?

MT: The question about cannibalism is pretty close. So, I think we just did.

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2012 Nelson CruzNomar GarciaparraJosh ReddickAndrew McCutchenAaron Boone

2011 Pete RoseStephen BishopOrel HershiserWill RhymesLogan MorrisonBilly BeaneLuke Scott

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