SAN FRANCISCO -- At 23 years old, Mike Trout is still grasping the significance of his platform as arguably the game's greatest and most recognizable figure. Saturday's highly anticipated boxing match offered up an eye-opening reminder for the Angels' superstar center fielder.
In the days leading up to it, Trout tweeted his support for Floyd Mayweather, a polarizing figure because of a long history of domestic violence. Trout merely wrote "#TMT," which stands for "The Money Team," and included Mayweather's Twitter handle. But he was subsequently hit with a lot of criticism on his Twitter account, @Trouty20.
They wanted the proverbial face of baseball to account for Mayweather's off-the-ring transgressions. They wanted Trout to take a stand.
It was the first time he had ever dealt with criticism like that.
"It's the biggest fight of the year," Trout said Sunday morning. "I was just rooting for somebody. I wasn't trying to start an argument over it. When I tweeted it, I didn't think anything of it until people started talking about it."
Trout's mentor, Torii Hunter, also caught flak for supporting Mayweather on social media. He then followed it with a tweet that read: "Don't let emotions clog ur judgement. What Mayweather does in the ring is business. What he does outside the ring has nothing to do with me."
That tweet has since been deleted, and Hunter apologized Sunday morning, telling the St. Paul Pioneer Press, "All I was saying is he's a great fighter. I don't agree with domestic violence. That's stupid."
Trout mentioned Hunter's tweet before Sunday's series finale.
"Like Torii said, I just root for him in the ring."
Trout was nonetheless told to stay away from further tweets about the fight, which ultimately ended in Mayweather defeating Manny Pacquiao via unanimous decision. Trout isn't just one of baseball's greatest talents; he's among the game's most revered and least controversial figures.
But he's still learning about the responsibilities that come with his platform.
"You have to be a good role model, obviously," Trout said. "I try to stay out of trouble as much as I can. The things off the [ring] with [Mayweather], I don't really know anything about it. I'm just a fan of him in the ring."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.