That one time, it was the balmy night of the eighteenth of June. Mike Trout stepped in against Matt Cain, in the bottom of the fourth inning, with one out and runners on second and third. The Angels were down by a run. There were many right things Mike Trout could have done; he had done many of them in the past, and he would go on to do many of them in the future. But on this night, at this moment, Mike Trout did the wrong thing. He dribbled a grounder back to the pitcher, and the lead runner was forced out at home. At that moment, Mike Trout made his team approximately thirteen percent less likely to win.
He also singled that night, and walked, and stole three bases, and scored a run. By the end of the night, balance had been restored: his team was better off with Trout than without Trout. But the damage was done. A fleeting indiscretion, perhaps. And yet its record would be etched in stone forever.
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