The Indians have been trying to deal one of their aces in Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer for a long time now (though new rumors say those “chances are diminishing“). If you were to ask a thousand baseball fans if they would rather see their team trade for Bauer or Kluber, most would rather take the breakout star in Bauer than the aging, soon to be free agent Corey Kluber.
Strictly looking at the stats, you cannot blame people for wanting Bauer, who is coming off a breakout year where he posted a 12-6 record with a 2.21 ERA and a 2.44 FIP. In an era where everyone is swinging for home runs, Bauer allowed NINE in 175.1 innings. Looking strictly at those numbers and potential success down the road, most teams should want Trevor Bauer long-term.
However, his off-the-field antics completely outweigh his current track record in baseball. When I say off-the-field antics, I am talking about his Twitter and tweets like this:
Bauer is known for his vocal and controversial Twitter account, where he has ranted on cops that stopped him from flying his drone in early 2016, attacked Anti-Trump advocates after the 2016 elections, showed extreme temerity by saying he is better than Kluber this past
He has the complete right to run his account this way. American citizens are entitled to free speech as constituted by the First Amendment and that includes social media content. Until last week, most had simply seen Bauer’s Twitter personality as “bullying”, while others would say that Bauer was simply “defending himself against Twitter eggs”. A select few believe that Bauer’s personality is great for the game of baseball. However, as a professional athlete, you are automatically held to a higher standard in terms of social media presence. As a society, we have entrenched a line of what is bullying or bigotry on social media and Bauer has crossed both lines on numerous occasions.
His tweet exchange this past week was a prime example of one of those times, where he essentially borderline harassed Nikki Giless—a young Astros fan—on Twitter over a tweet that stated that Bauer was her “least favorite person in all sports.” (at the time of writing, Nikki’s Twitter was set to private).
What started as a subtle jab that most players would ignore turned into a full-on argument that included Bauer scrolling back to six-month-old tweets to use against her.
This exchange went on for days, escalating to a point where Trevor Bauer fans began attacking her. where she responded to one of the people responding “Sorry I didn’t like being told to kill my self for 4 days straight. You’re right. I’m so soft.”
Because of Bauer’s lack of thick skin for even the slightest of critics, a remark escalated into bullying and harassment against a young female with less power and fame, pushing her to tears. Whether you believe that the woman was begging for attention or not, there is no exception for something so small as friendly taunting turning into full-on harassment. And by not giving a proper response to this incident, Major League Baseball and the Cleveland Indians organization (who stated that “players are in control of their social media accounts”) has unofficially stated that this kind of behavior on social media is
There is a high probability of Bauer’s personality getting him into trouble on social media and causing a public relations nightmare. That is why despite his breakout season, teams should be wary of trading for him, especially teams that reside in big cities.
Think about it: in the NFL, Antonio Brown has essentially alienated the Pittsburgh Steelers team and fanbase, and there is not as much attention on the story as there should be. Had that been Odell Beckham Jr. with the Giants, the New York media would have made it a worldwide story. So one could only imagine what kind of media storm a Trevor Bauer incident would cause if Bauer played for a team in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Philadelphia.
None of this is to take away from Bauer’s knowledge on the art of pitching or take away from his breakout season last year. At the end of the day, he is a very good pitcher that teams would love to have as an ace in their pitching staff. However, as an individual in our society, he has shown terrible personality traits and has elected to cyberbully numerous people solely because he could not handle the criticism that was being handed to him. And in this latest incident, Bauer did more than “defend himself against internet trolling”. He harassed a female for three days over small criticism, having his fans attack her as well. This was further proof that Bauer does not act in self-defense. His personality—despite bringing excitement to the game—is not good for the game of baseball. Let just call out Trevor Bauer for what he is: an insecure cyberbullying
Should that keep him out of having a job in baseball? No. But should Major League Baseball take action to make sure a personality like Trevor Bauer is not what represents baseball? Absolutely.
Featured Photo: Erik Drost/Flickr