If you missed Bryce Harper and Mike Trout squaring off in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, don’t feel bad: Most of America missed it, too.
The Nationals beat the Angels, 4-3, in the first game of a two-game inter-league series between teams with the two best players in baseball. Harper, by the way, went 4-for-4 with a homer, a triple, and two runs scored, while Trout went 1-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs.
But again, don’t feel bad if you missed this. You weren’t alone.
Shouldn’t baseball do more to highlight a matchup of its biggest stars?
Eh, maybe not.
“One of the problems with tying to highlight that is it’s not two basketball players going at each other where they’re actually going to be sort of facing off,” MLB.com senior writer Mark Feinsand said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “They don’t pitch to each other, maybe they hit a ball to each other – but that’s about it. So people want to say, ‘Oh, it’s Trout versus Harper,’ but that’s not really how baseball works.
“You can highlight the players – MLB Network cuts in on their at-bats and does that kind of thing – but certainly having the game in Los Angeles doesn’t help because most people on the East Coast are sleeping at that point. But it is fun to see the two of those guys on the same field, that’s for sure.”
Exactly. So shouldn’t MLB ensure that these two teams play every year on national television, ideally on weekends? Wouldn’t that be better than having them square off on a regional network during the week in the middle of the night?
“I agree with that, but you can’t sort of maneuver the schedule based on two players,” Feinsand said. “What if you do that and then one of them is on the DL? Trout was out for six-and-a-half weeks. What if you’ve done all this manipulation of the schedule to put those two on national TV together and then Trout’s on the DL when it happens? So I just think you have to let these things happen organically. I actually think the fact that they don’t play each other often makes it even better when they do.”
Besides, it’s not like there’s bad blood between the two teams – or the two stars.
It’s not a rivalry. The Angels and Nationals have nothing to dow the each other. They’re in different leagues, they’re in different coasts – there’s just nothing there besides those two sides. I just think you have to just let it happen organically.”