Thoughts on the Awful Case of Trevor Bauer
It may be that the Dodgers were lazy in gathering information before the Bauer signing. It may be that they saw him as a player who could help them repeat as champions and disregarded the rest.
On a day when the Dodgers celebrated the 2020 World Series championship at the White House, and on the days leading up to it, the headlines have been all about Trevor Bauer, a “man” who stands accused of domestic violence. With an emphasis on the word “violence.”
While it’s taken me a couple of days to sit down to write a column, I’ve been commenting on Twitter in real time. I felt an obligation to write both in this space when ready and as events have unfolded on social media because I knew that people would choose sides quickly without exactly going to their neutral corners. I knew that they’d get political about it. And because, unfortunately, when stories about male athletes abusing women arise, the majority of thoughtful commentary is written by women.
Below is my first tweet on the subject Wednesday.
A first thought only, the implication being that more would follow, and obviously I was wrong about the visit to the WH.
The larger point is this: You can’t rail against a guy on an opposing team for crimes against women — fine, alleged crimes against women — and not do the same when it’s your guy. You can’t call out a player on the Giants, Padres, Yankees or Astros for cheating, whether with performance enhancing drugs, video and a bass drum, or most importantly, domestic violence, and give a Dodger a pass. Well, maybe you can, but I can’t. So if I have to take the heat, some of it vile and quite disturbing, for reaming a member of the home team, I will.
Trevor Bauer is at best a selfish, reckless, bullying, misogynist creep. The Dodgers knew about some of it prior to signing him to a three-year $102 million contract over the winter. He is at worst a felon who should be done as a professional baseball player, and if not that than certainly done with the team of Jackie Robinson. The eccentricities were cute for a while; they’re not anymore. Enough.
It may be that the Dodgers were lazy in gathering information about Bauer before signing him. It may be that they saw Bauer as a player who could help them repeat as champions and disregarded the rest. L.A.’s president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman, doesn’t have the best track record in this regard. It’s not a good look. But I don’t fault them for being careful in their communications and taking their cues from Major League Baseball since the story broke Tuesday. And when writers who know better — that means you, Bill Plaschke — begin a column by calling out the league and club for allowing Bauer to pitch Sunday when it was likely that no such thing would occur, I’ll defend them. To be fair, Plaschke wasn’t the only one, just the most prominent.
MLB took action this morning by placing Bauer on administrative leave. It’s not belated action; it’s action taken at the right time in consultation with attorneys and in accordance with the league’s player-union-sanctioned domestic abuse policy.
The incident is under police investigation. The league is investigating independently. Bauer may or may not be arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to prison. It’s possible that none of those things occur. Innocent until proven guilty, obviously. Obviously. I shouldn’t have to say it twice.
None of Bauer’s critics are trying to take away his liberty now; nor his livelihood. Well, at least none in a position to do so. The league can suspend him with or without criminal charges. I imagine we’ll see some sort of suspension; 30 games, 50 games or the rest of the 2021 season. If the latter is the case, Los Angeles will be off the hook for the remainder of his $40 million 2021 salary, both in terms of actual checks which aren’t written and as it applies to the competitive luxury tax threshold. He should be replaced in the rotation and in the clubhouse with a more worthy human being. Management should be working on that now.
If, for some reason however unlikely, Bauer isn’t suspended and the club must pay the freight entirely, they can afford to take the hit. They can take a damn stand and suspend him independently if the league declines. He’ll file a lawsuit. Fine. You fight the lawsuit. You try to trade the damn player. And if all else fails, designate him for assignment, release him and move on with your lives.
We’ll talk about the baseball ramifications of the Bauer news in another column, which is where it belongs.
And remember, glove conquers all. Just as long as you don’t lay the glove on a woman.
Read OBHC online here.