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East Coast Bias

March 31, 2017

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(Answers to the name of Mike.)

I’m so East Coast, I live in a time zone (with Copper, Shaggy, Dutch Boy, and DAVID) that most Americans don’t even realise exists: we’re an hour east of NYC/Toronto. Seriously. More generally, because the games are over first, the highlight packages and scores from the East Coast influence people’s perception of Who’s Who is Sports.

i never thought about this til the summer I spent living just outside of San Diego, betting horses over the border in Tijuana. (One of our guys actually got arrested trying to illegally cross the border … from the US to Mexico… but that’s a man-bites-dog story for another day.) Anyway, this sportsbar we went to every night to eat, this was religion there–they were like a cult: West Coast sports stars didn’t get the respect they deserved because half the country was asleep when they played.

Enter Mike Trout.

Mike Trout already has more career WAR than a quarter of the guys in the Hall of Fame.

Mike Trout is 25 years old.

I’m 44, and he’s quite easily the greatest position player in my living memory.

Do I watch him a lot? Well, no. The Angels’ home games start after 11 o’clock my time. Since the Angels aren’t a playoff team, I’ll see Trout less than 10 times a year on TV: when the Halos come East to play the Sawx, and a few other scattered late afternoon games here and there. In person? It might be that Trout and I have never been in the same timezone at the same time since he started playing ball.

So he slips to third in our draft. Then he gets traded for a 37-year-old guy on steroids, a 32-year-old guy on Adderall, and Dexter Fowler (who convinced the Cardinals he’s on both steroids and Adderall and somehow worth $90 million).

Did I get the better of this deal? Maybe, maybe not. I got the best player in baseball, but wiped out my flexibility.

I like Trout. If I tried to trade Trout away, though, I’d get even less than what I gave Mendoza. So I like him, but I’m stuck with him.

If Mike Trout played in New York, he’d be considered America’s greatest athlete. Playing out West, he only makes the top-10 lists if they decide “well, we need a baseball player”.

Bias: look for it. Magazines, highlight shows, betting lines. It’s real.

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