A big talking point that has been the center of many debates in baseball has been pace of play. Commissioner Rob Manfred and the rest of the MLB offices have made repeated attempts and changes to the game of baseball in order to shorten the game and appeal more to the younger audience. This is just the MLB’s long term plan, put short. Some of the changes to the game that have been implemented include a clock that counts down the time relief pitchers have to warm up, limiting the amount of mound visits during each game, having a set time on how long the players have before taking the field before each inning, and instead of pitching the four pitches on the intentional walk, the manager will signal to the umpire that they will be intentionally walking the hitter. How does all of this go back and connect to the two names and the basis of the title? Well these two players could be key in bringing in a new audience and appeal more to the younger audience.
Now Trevor Bauer and Alex Bregman are two players coming off of great years and by the looks of it, they should be great for years to come. While Bauer and Bregman have been excelling at their craft of baseball, they also draw lots of controversy for their actions on and off the field. While at times that may seem bad, I view it as a sign of potential for things to come and a cause for excitement. Note the first person in that last sentence as this is am opinion piece as this is a bit of a controversial topic and I know people have varying opinions on it, so I don’t want to state my views as facts, but rather as opinions. The two players do have similarities when it comes to causing controversies, but they have had their fair share of “beefs” in the past.
This past May we saw Bauer go at the Astros’ pitching staff on twitter accusing them of cheating, and while he didn’t go at them directly and name names, he made it clear he was talking to the reigning World Series Champions, saying “If only there was just a really quick way to increase spin rate. Like what if you could trade for a player knowing that you could bump his spin rate a couple hundred rpm overnight…imagine the steals you could get on the trade market! If only that existed…” insinuating that they were using illegal substances to increase their spin rate relating it more so to Gerrit Cole. Lance McCullers of the Astros later fired back saying “Jealousy isn’t a good look on you my man. You have great stuff and have worked hard for it, like the rest of us, no need for this. I will ask though because my spin rate and spin axis on my 4 seem is a$.”. Bauer then assured that he wasn’t jealous, but more annoyed at the hypocrisy of the MLB for “for selectively enforcing rules when it suits them”. Saving the best for last, Alex Bregman eventually got in on the fun as he shot back with “Relax Tyler … those World Series balls spin a little different….” along with a crying emoji. These back and forths garnered tons of likes and retweets and got many people to now call Trevor, “Tyler” Bauer.
There’s another familiar name that can be tied in to Trevor Bauer. Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer go way way back in history, as they were a prolific and talented duo at the University of California Los Angeles, but the thing is, they hated each other. They wouldn’t talk or even look at each other and Gerrit Cole even said that Bauer had no future in the majors when they were freshman.
Now after giving you some background on the history the two have had with each other in the past, let’s look at what they have to offer in terms of helping baseball reach their goal of fixing their “audience” issue.
As I mentioned before, the two cases are different, so let’s look at Bauer’s case first. Trevor’s uproar in popularity has mainly sparked up this year as he had a Cy Young caliber season, and as his status as a top pitcher in the game got bigger, so did his ego. Within the past few months and throughout the season, Bauer has used his twitter as a large platform to voice his views and those that we are looking at today are mainly the controversial ones. Bauer is big proponent of doing things his own way, with his funky warm up and also being the top client from Driveline Baseball, which is a baseball player developmental program rooted, based, and driven by data and analytics, fitting right in with Bauer. After the Indians’ postseason exit, Bauer was featured on MLB Network where he discussed various topics like the ALCS, but more importantly, he had a one on one with Brian Kenny, who like Bauer, is big on sabermetrics. During the interview, they dove into the science of pitching, which Bauer has prided himself on. This right here is why I say we need more Trevor Bauers in Baseball. He is big on the science of the sport, and that is what is currently taking over the game right now. If you’re a fan of the analytic wave that is taking over baseball now, then you should be a fan of Trevor Bauer.
Not to mention, when talking about fixing baseball’s audience issue, more outgoing players like Bauer could be key to what the MLB is looking for, and that doesn’t mean outgoing in terms of political and other controversial views like that, but more so outgoing in terms of his attitude towards the science of baseball and the direction that baseball is currently headed. Speaking of outgoing personalities, this is a great transition into the next player we are going to look into.
Yes we need more Trevor Bauers in this league, and what other types of personalities do we need in this league? Some more players like Alex Bregman. The short answer to why we need more Alex Bregman personality types in this league is because of his fiery attitude and his off the field presence, but let’s take a look back to see this in a little more depth. Bregman was a highly touted prospect coming out of LSU, who was drafted 2nd overall in the 2015 MLB draft. He made a big name for himself progressing through his first few years as a big leaguer, bringing some good, and some bad. He makes headlines on the field, and also off the field, as in 2017 he got into a heated debate with a user on twitter who suggested that the Astros trade him for Chris Sale. Bregman later deleted his account. He is back on twitter today and still makes his presence known on social media, whether it be on twitter or Instagram. There are so many different things we can go back to, whether it be him posting the cover of Drake’s single “Back to back” on instagram just hours after the Astros defeated the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series, or we look to the more recent instances like this past year’s ALCS, where he posted clips of the Astros hitting home runs off of Nathan Eovaldi on Instagram just hours before they were set to play him. Bregman has always played and acted this way, he deliberately chose the number ‘2’, to remind everyone he was picked 2nd and not 1st.
Sure they’re cocky, sure they may make some questionable, while also entertaining, posts on social media, but if the MLB is looking for more outgoing players to represent and drive baseball towards a younger audience, wouldn’t more players like Bauer and Bregman help to solve this problem?
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