Trout re-lives The Catch, gets his GIBBYs
ANAHEIM -- It's been 10 months since Mike Trout made the Catch of the Year, but every once in a while, he'll get stopped by a well-meaning fan -- sometimes an Angels fan, sometimes an Orioles fan -- who will want to rehash the details.
It's going to be a while, if it ever happens, for The Catch to fade from memory for fans and Trout himself. It was simply that good, that improbable, that spectacular. It really wasn't supposed to happen the way it did, and if you look back at the video, you can see by Trout's expression that he was somewhat surprised how it turned out, too.
"I've talked about it a lot," Trout said. "But it's always good to go back and look at it and remember that day. How cool it was, how neat it was, just to be in the position to catch it."
June 27, 2012. Angels at Orioles. First inning. J.J. Hardy launched a fly ball toward straightaway center, one of those no-doubters that seemed destined to leave the ballpark as soon it left the bat. Trout, in a full sprint, was seemingly unconcerned that he was getting dangerously close to crashing into the wall. He didn't put out his free arm to try to feel how much more room he had. He showed no indication that slowing down had come to mind.
"I knew when I got to the track that I was going full speed, so my momentum was going to take me over into it anyway," he said. "I told myself the only chance I had to catch it was to jump, so I did."
Before he landed, Trout's arm extended five feet or so over the wall. Then, he heard teammate and fellow outfielder Torii Hunter yell at him.
"Look in your glove," Hunter said. So Trout looked. Somewhat to his surprise, there was the ball.
"I kind of felt it," Trout recalled. "But I didn't know for sure if it was in there after hitting the wall. It was one of my best catches, for sure."
Trout won a GIBBY Award (Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards) for the play and was honored with the trophy during a ceremony before Friday's game between the Angels and Tigers. Trout was awarded two GIBBYs -- MLB Play of the Year and MLB Rookie of the Year.
MLB.com has handed out awards to A-list ballplayers for 11 years to honor the greatest players, moments, managers and feats of a season. The panel of voters is expansive, involving media, front office personnel, Major League alumni, fans who log on to MLB.com and experts from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
The GIBBYs are unique in that they recognize greatness from both the regular season and the playoffs, whereas other official Major League awards that are handed out are for top performances in the regular season only. GIBBY voting begins in early November and the winners are announced about a month later, at the Winter Meetings.
Voting was fierce in many categories, but really -- was there any doubt who was going to win Play of the Year? In terms of quality, improbability and grace, this category was really Trout vs. absolutely no one.
"When you saw it in real time," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia of The Catch, "in the beginning, you were astonished that he could not only make up that much ground while he was running, but in the air also. He was way up there. Then, when you see replays of it, it just becomes more and more special. It was just an incredible catch."
The reactions were priceless, too. Once Trout saw the ball in his glove, he broke out a smile and gave a couple of fist pumps. His pitcher, Jered Weaver, stood on the mound in disbelief, arm outstretched in an exaggerated hat tip.
From the dugout, Scioscia couldn't tell if Trout was surprised he made the catch, but either way, the skipper was appreciative of the defensive effort.
"I'll tell you what was good about his reaction," Scioscia said. "He knows how important the defensive aspect is of playing center field in the Major Leagues. He has a lot of pride in that. Just the fact that he knew that he not only took a couple of runs off the board for the other team and helped our starting pitching and helped our team -- it's like hitting a two-run home run. It was terrific."