BALTIMORE — Mike Trout called his shot. Kind of.
Ninety minutes before Friday night’s series opener against the Baltimore Orioles, 7-year-old superfan Gavin Edelson asked his favorite player to hit a homer for him. Trout, who had gone deep just once in his previous 17 games, responded by telling the youngster, “I need to hit a home run tonight.” Then the Los Angeles Angels‘ center fielder went out and went yard.
In the top of the third inning, Trout sent a 3-2 fastball from O’s starter Dan Straily over the wall in left-center. The towering shot, which had a launch angle of 38 degrees and didn’t clear the fence by much, looked as though it might be caught by Baltimore center fielder Stevie Wilkerson, who leaped at the wall in an effort to rob Trout.
“I thought it was going to hit off the wall,” said Gavin, who was sitting with his family five rows behind the Angels’ dugout. “I was so happy that he hit it.”
Trout’s relationship with Gavin dates back to last summer, when the Angels visited Camden Yards for a three-game set. Prior to the opener of that series, during batting practice, the two-time MVP noticed the elementary schooler wearing his No. 27 jersey and holding a giant “Mike Trout is my idol” sign. Trout called Gavin over and spent most of batting practice chatting with him. When the session was over, Trout signed the bat he’d been using and gave it to the youngster.
On Friday, nearly a year later, batting practice was canceled due to a steady afternoon rain in Baltimore. But with the help of some Angels staffers, Gavin and his family managed to find their way into the tunnel near the visitors’ clubhouse, where they encountered Trout returning from the indoor batting cage at Camden Yards.
Gavin, once again wearing one of his trademark “Troutfits,” gave his idol a handwritten letter that started with “Dear Mike Trout, You’re my favrit player ever” and ended with “I hope to be just like you.” Attached to the letter was an imitation baseball card that featured a photo of Trout and Gavin from their meeting last summer. After spending three minutes talking to the Edelsons, Trout headed back into the Angels’ clubhouse, but not before giving his bat to Gavin, and his batting gloves to 11-year-old brother Jacob.
Prior to hitting his eighth home run of the season, Trout struck out swinging against Straily in the first inning. In the fifth, he drilled an RBI double to left-center, and then came around to score on a single by Andrelton Simmons.