I’ve almost always been a Trevor Bauer defender. I don’t approve of his online harassment of women. No one should. It’s awful. However, I have taken Bauer’s side in other moments of his career. Baseball old-heads bashed him when he threw a gameball over the center field fence in a fit of rage. I was right there to say that I had no problem with it. People went after Bauer for his sword sheath celebration against the Giants. I loved it, and I’m a Giants fan. However, Bauer’s latest controversy doesn’t tickle my fancy the same way.
After MLB announced its new guidelines on foreign substances yesterday, Bauer took to Twitter to express his dismay with the new rules enforcement. Bauer’s Twitter tirade came moments after Tampa Bay Rays’ ace Tyler Glasnow went on his own rant, blaming MLB’s crackdown on foreign substances for his UCL injury. So, what did Bauer do in response? Did he:
- A) Talk about how upsetting it is that Glasnow’s injury was so easily avoidable?
- B) Go after MLB’s hypocrisy for looking to suspend pitchers while still not dishing out any punishment to the Houston Astros for their own cheating scandal? (Basically, how Carlos Rodon responded to the matter)
- Or, C) Use Glasnow’s injury as a means to bash the new guidelines without addressing Glasnow’s injury at all?
Ding! Ding! Ding! C is our winner! Bauer used Glasnow’s injury to gain sympathy for his own viewpoint on the matter, and then proceeded to rip into the guidelines for totally unrelated reasons.
Before I start on Bauer, I should mention that I side with Tyler Glasnow in this situation. Having to change your throwing mechanics on the fly in the middle of the season is asking for elbow problems. If MLB implemented this rule during the upcoming offseason, they would have given pitchers an opportunity to learn new throwing mechanics to make up for the lack of grip. That approach would have been much safer in regards to pitcher health.
But does Bauer address this issue in his rant? No. While quoting a tweet about Glasnow’s comments, he mentions that it’s “only one of the MASSIVE problems with what MLB is doing.”
But that’s the closest Bauer ever gets to addressing the health concerns that a mid-season rule change of this magnitude entails. Instead, Bauer continues on about all of the other issues with Major League Baseball’s course of action trying to eradicate the use of sticky substances.
He talks about how umpires might have no idea what constitutes a legal sticky substance versus an illegal one.
He talks about how easy it is to make a substance look really sticky without the use of Spider Tack or sunscreen.
He talks about how an offseason with this rule in effect would’ve given the league a chance to properly dictate what is and isn’t a banned substance as well as what will and won’t get a pitcher suspended.
All valid points…but none of them addressed the issue he based this entire tirade on: pitcher safety. It’s almost like Bauer didn’t really care about Glasnow’s injury at all. It’s almost like he’s trying to cover his own ass in case he gets drilled in his upcoming starts with these new guidelines in place. It’s almost like he was anticipating being able to use the substance for the remainder of his career. He was willing to bet on himself as long as he was still able to use the ace up his sleeve. Now that it’s been taken away, Bauer is calling foul.
You know, for someone who was such an outspoken adversary of the Houston Astros cheating scandal, Bauer seems to be extremely defensive of his own. I understand why he might not think it’s a scandal. Everybody was doing it. As Syndrome once said “When everyone’s super, no one is.” But if what pitchers were doing wasn’t cheating… why didn’t every pitcher talk about it openly prior to this season? Why are hitters like Josh Donaldson and Steven Souza Jr. thrilled to see MLB finally enforcing this rule?
The use of sticky substances by pitchers across Major League Baseball was obviously cheating. Time to put your money where your mouth is Bauer. Glasnow claims he stopped using sticky substances a few starts ago. In his last four appearances, Glasnow has gone 26 innings while allowing only six earned runs and striking out 36 batters. He has shown that he doesn’t need sticky substances in order to dominate games, if he was being honest about not using. Barring any setbacks during his UCL injury, I’m confident he’ll come back, adjust his throwing motion, and get right back to making hitters look silly. If Bauer is truly the great pitcher he wants us all to believe he is, he should have no problems moving forward. Let’s see it happen.