Angels’ Mike Trout has doubts he’ll play in 2020; Joe Maddon offers confusing take

Mike Trout might not be an Angel in the outfield this season.

The Los Angeles superstar and his wife are expecting the birth of their first child in August, and being asked to play baseball in the middle of a pandemic is a difficult concept to handle. To that end, Trout seems uncertain as to whether he’ll cleat up and play this year after speaking with reporters on Friday.

Enter new Angels manager Joe Maddon, who’s almost always good for a soundbite. Maddon offered a somewhat confusing take on players deciding to opt out.

“Everyone is talking about the high-risk individuals opting out,” Maddon said. “To me, the person who should opt out is the person who does not want to follow the protocols. That’s not been reported enough, I don’t think.

“If you, in your heart of hearts, don’t believe you can do all this stuff, then you’re the person who should opt out. It’s not so much the potential high-risk candidates.”

Maddon’s full quote via The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya:

Really, there’s a few ways you can read the Maddon quote. The first: any player who feels unsafe in any capacity can and should opt out, and that’s totally fine.

Some, though, are interpreting Maddon’s meaning as something more malicious, a way of assigning blame to players who want to opt out and putting guilt on players who might not have the stomach to play in the middle of a pandemic.

Maddon offered support for Trout, but he also wouldn’t out-and-out say that Trout should stay home. He’s had several conversations with his star player about taking the field this year.

While Trout has been standing alongside his teammates for baserunning drills and more at the start of summer camp, with the season a few weeks away and the coronavirus still on the rise throughout the country, there shouldn’t be any doubt as to whether Trout loves baseball. He might love his wife and unborn child a bit more, though. And that’s OK.

This serves as a reminder to all that sports shouldn’t be a guarantee and the coronavirus is like, a super serious thing, man. If the best player in baseball wants to stay home this season in order to avoid the possibility of infecting his wife or newborn child with a potentially deadly strain of the virus, then he should be able to opt out without criticism.

For now, we’ll wait to see if Trout steps in or out for 2020, and either way, he should — and will — get the support from his manager.

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