The latest chapter in the Mike Trout-Carson Wentz bromance took place during the Eagles’ off week, when the Los Angeles Angeles outfielder joined the quarterback in North Dakota to shoot a few dozen ducks and geese.
Judging by the photo Wentz posted on Twitter a few days ago, their trigger fingers are mighty sore. Trout, a 2009 Millville High School graduate who spends his offseasons in the Holly City, and Wentz posed with other hunters and more than 75 assorted waterfowl they had shot out of the sky.
I’m guessing the hockey team in Trout’s summer hometown of Anaheim wasn’t amused.
The two have been hunting buddies for a couple of years. In 2016, Wentz’s rookie year with the Eagles, Trout brought him to Millville during the holidays for lunch at Avalon Golf Club’s Tavern on the Green and some hunting.
“We went hunting for ducks and geese,” Wentz said in 2016. “We just hung out, didn’t do anything real crazy. He’s a great guy, and it’s been cool to get to know him.”
That was also the gist of the recent hunting trip. The two hung out and hunted. I seriously doubt Wentz tried to recruit Trout to play for the Phillies.
As everyone knows, Trout is an avid Eagles fan.
Check out Trout’s Twitter account any Eagles game day and you will see “#FlyEaglesFly” on his feed, followed by hundreds of comments urging the two-time American League Most Valuable Player — he’s a finalist again this year with Boston’s Mookie Betts and Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez — to “come home” and play for the Phillies.
One radio sports talk host had the audacity recently to suggest that Trout somehow owes it to the city.
“If Mike Trout cared half as much about Philadelphia as Philadelphia cares about him, he’d turn down the Angels’ inevitable contract offer and leverage his no-trade clause to get home.”
He owes nothing to the Phillies.
And if you want Trout to wear red pinstripes, then you must also be prepared for other athletes to go to their hometown teams.
That means Wentz should demand a trade to Minnesota, since most folks from Fargo are Vikings fans. Get ready for Ertz to sign with the 49ers. He grew up in Danville, California, which is 10 miles closer to San Francisco than Millville is to Philly.
Instead of signing with the Phillies this offseason, Las Vegas native Bryce Harper should join Trout in the Angels’ outfield or suit up for the Dodgers. Both Anaheim and Los Angeles are approximately 270 miles from The Strip.
Sixers star Joe Embiid, who played high school basketball in Gainesville, Florida, would be part of the “Process” for the Orlando Magic.
Other than former Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, who is from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, you have to go back decades to find a sports star raised in or near Philly who played for the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers or Flyers.
You might have to go all the way back to Wilt Chamberlain, who did a lot of scoring on and off the court for the Philadelphia Warriors and 76ers back in the 1960s before he took his various talents to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Trout grew up a Philly sports fan. In addition to “#FlyEaglesFly,” his Tweets have also been known to feature “#TrusttheProcess” during Sixers seasons. He famously recalled attending the Phillies’ 2008 championship parade as a Millville High School senior.
But that doesn’t mean he wants to play in Philly. Trout is immensely popular in Southern California. During my visit to Disneyland in Anaheim last week, I was surrounded by people wearing red No. 27 Angels shirts while standing in line for Splash Mountain.
He also is extremely grateful to the Angels for taking a chance on him in 2009, ignoring the bias against high school players from the Northeast who start their seasons while there are patches of snow in their outfields.
He already has made it clear he will not demand a trade before his contract expires after the 2020 season. It’s just a guess, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t sign a mega deal — $50 million a year is possible — to stay in SoCal.
There’s one more reason why he’d be apt to stay with the Angels.
Jim’s Lunch in Millville is closed during the summer.
David Weinberg’s Extra Points column appears Wednesdays and Sundays in The Press.
Contact: 609-272-7201 DWeinberg@pressofac.com