This article first appeared in Sportsnet Magazine.
Mike Trout loves playing for the Los Angeles Angels. The team is competitive, the fans adore him, and he’s established himself as baseball’s best player. But there’s one thing the reigning American League MVP dislikes about playing in southern California: the sunshine. “It sucks,” Trout says. “You don’t even look at the weather [report].”
You see, Trout’s a long-time weather aficionado, and he’s particularly fond of winter storms. He’s been tracking them since growing up in Millville, N.J., an interest passed down from his father, Jeff. These days, Trout keeps an eye on forecasts from around the country, searching for updates wherever there’s a little intrigue on the radar. “When there are big snowstorms, I like looking at different cities and seeing how much snow they’re going to get,” he says.
Trout’s Twitter account appears unremarkable at first glance (heavy on Philadelphia Eagles experts, light on controversial statements), but he follows no fewer than 37 weather-related accounts, including all manner of meteorologists, storm chasers and breaking-news services (by comparison, teammate Albert Pujols follows 43 accounts—total). Trout even chats with some of them, sharing photos and responding to requests for updates with up-to-the-minute details and hashtags like #BonusSnow.
Steven DiMartino, a New Jersey–based meteorologist and long-time New York Mets fan, even exchanges direct messages with Trout when big storms strike. When the former storm chaser first started interacting with the three-time all-star, he thought it was a fan account. After all, why would the world’s greatest baseball player care about a drop in pressure? So, DiMartino asked if he was really talking to the star player. Trout pointed him to his account, which is verified and followed by more than 600,000 people. “I was like, ‘Ahh, I see. Want to play for the Mets?’” DiMartino jokes.
The two continue to exchange occasional messages, usually sparked by Trout asking a question along the lines of “What does it mean if the temperature crashes by five degrees?” or “Is this what you mean by ‘banding’?” In other words, pretty advanced material. “He knows his stuff—things, quite frankly, that people I went to college with don’t know about meteorology,” DiMartino says. “You can tell the difference between someone who wants the day off school compared to someone looking at radar and seeing patterns develop.”
Trout’s equally enthusiastic when asked about DiMartino. He appreciates the meteorologist’s ability to provide storm updates that are hard to find elsewhere. “Every time a storm’s coming, I try to hit him up to see how much we’re getting, and usually he’s right on the mark,” he says.
DiMartino notes that the slugger’s got a real knack for forecasting. “If he wasn’t a baseball player, he’d be an excellent meteorologist,” DiMartino says. “Anyone can look at a model, but it takes a special talent to spot the details in a weather pattern, and he has it.”
So, what if Trout had to find another career?
He smiles and answers without hesitation: “I’d be a meteorologist. For sure.”
MIKE TROUT’S BEST WEATHER TWEETS
Love this snow !
— Mike Trout (@MikeTrout) November 7, 2012
— Mike Trout (@MikeTrout) February 21, 2015
— Mike Trout (@MikeTrout) March 5, 2015