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Why isn't Mike Trout more popular? MLB commissioner says star must 'make decision to engage'

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 7/17/2018 Gabe Lacques
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WASHINGTON - Until Mike Trout reaches a level of popularity and cultural relevance at least proximate to an NBA All-Star power forward or a Pro Bowl quarterback in the NFL, questions will abound as to why Major League Baseball does not market him more. 

Commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday acknowledged what many around the game suspected: Trout would rather not participate.

"Mike has made decisions on what he wants to do, doesn't want to do, how he wants to spend his free time or not spend his free time," Manfred said in the hours before MLB's All-Star Game at Nationals Park. "I think we could help him make his brand very big.

"But he has to make a decision to engage. It takes time and effort."

Trout, who turns 27 next month, is a strong contender for his third American League MVP award; he's never finished lower than fourth in voting and has been an All-Star in all seven of his seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. 

MORE ALL-STAR GAME COVERAGE

He has a prominent shoe deal with Nike and appeared in national advertisements for Subway earlier in his career. But he has consistently scored poorly in Q ratings and other relevance metrics; in fact, baseball players rarely crack the top 100 of such lists.

“I try to do as much as I can, but keep it to a point where I can still play baseball,” Trout told USA TODAY Sports on Monday when asked about off-field promotional activities.

"Obviously you want to get out there, but you’ve got to pick and choose, for sure.”

Related slideshow: 2018 MLB season (Provided by photo services) 

Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves is hit by the first pitch of the game against the Miami Marlins at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. 2018 MLB season


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