By Joseph Santoliquito


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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For a moment, Mike Trout backed away from the mic and had to catch himself. A crack of emotion penetrated his voice as he spoke about his home — his baseball home, and his loyalty to the team that originally drafted him.

Anyone who knows Mike Trout, the former Millville High School star who was taken with the 25th overall pick by the Los Angeles Angels in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft and was actually the second pick taken by the Angels (behind Randal Grichuk), also is aware that commitment is a large part of his character.

Trout signed the largest team in North America team sports history when he inked a 12-year extension worth $426.5 million.

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It was speculated that the two-time American League MVP, who in the offseason is an Eagles’ season ticket holder, would be headed to Philadelphia once his contract was up with the Angels in 2020.

On Sunday, as Trout addressed the Angels’ crowd chanting “MVP” outside of Angel Stadium, there was an electronic Trout-centric backdrop that kept blinking “loyalty,” a word that personifies who Trout is. He is also loyal to his hometown Eagles and Philadelphia was invariably going to come up as to why he signed the deal with the Angels.

“I loved you guys, thanks for all of the support,” then Trout had to back away from the mic to regain his composure. “I want to bring a championship back to Anaheim.”

Then Trout addressed questions from the media, and why he signed the extension.

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“Obviously, there was a lot of talk of going back East and back to Philly (which was greeted by a chorus of boos by the roughly 3,000 that had gathered in front of Angel Stadium), but I enjoy every minute of being here and it’s my home,” Trout said. “I love it. A lot of things went into it.

“I think the direction of the franchise, that was big for me. If it was going the other way, I would have had to consider going. It never crossed my mind that I would be an Angel for life. I love it here. Spending your whole career with one team is pretty cool.

“That was one thing on my mind. If I did leave in two years, thinking back, I would have regretted it a little bit, because I love it here. Coming to the ballpark, I’m almost the first one here every day.”

That’s typical of Trout.

“I’ve seen a lot of great players through my 20 years, but Mike really personifies not only on-the-field talent, but also impeccable character to go with it,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said. “I think the thing that I’ve learned the most about Mike is if the house next door to me opened up, I would hope that Mike and Jessica Trout move in. They’re just really quality people.

“We have a lot of boxes still to check. We’re going to continue to build something sustainable here, something healthy here.”

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It certainly helps to have Mike Trout as a foundation.

Joseph Santoliquito