Bye, Bye Bauer!


Nicola Veltri, Sports Editor

Disclaimer: this piece contains information that may be harmful to some readers. 


Trevor Bauer does not shut up.  


At this point, that might be the one thing everybody agrees on when talking about the 60-game Cy Young winner. Controversy seems to follow him like a shadow, but Bauer does not see this as a bad thing. To him, it is all just a part of the show. 


Bauer has been too loud and too proud since he was in high school, where he began to show his natural talent for being utterly unbearable. Unfortunately, it never managed to get in the way of his performance on the mound, as he posted a 0.79 ERA and a 12-0 record in his junior season. The Santa Clarita native was shaping up to be a hot commodity in the draft following his senior season but decided to graduate early. According to the future All-Star pitcher, this was due to wanting new challenges. However, there is much speculation that being despised by teammates and coaches is what drove Bauer to enroll in college a year early.  


To no surprise, the drama continued as Bauer began his college career as a UCLA Bruin. In just one season of college baseball in 2011, he sparked a feud with a teammate that would also go on to fame and fortune in the MLB—Gerrit Cole. Despite being the best one-two duo of starting pitchers in the nation that year, the two were sworn enemies, and not much has changed since. The hate-fire between the two still burns brightly, and Bauer has not shied away from publicly accusing Cole of using the controversial “sticky stuff” to have an edge on the mound. The use of illegal pitching substances has dominated MLB news over the last year, and nobody was more vocal and critical of cheating than Bauer—at first. After leading the charge against this style of cheating, the once struggling pitcher (recently traded after throwing a childish fit on the mound) found himself among the best in 2020 thanks to a suspicious spike in spin rate, which is surefire signal that a pitcher is cheating. I must admit, Bauer’s initial criticism and following participation in the use of illegal substance is justifiable, as it validated a serious problem in baseball. However, in classic Trevor Bauer fashion, he made sure he was the center of attention every step of the way. 


Being in the MLB spotlight has only amplified Bauer’s strange obsession with attention, and his constant social media antics are as bizarre as anything a PR department could imagine, let alone prepare for. For every moment of cockiness and self-idolization, Bauer has an equal moment of insecurity which leads him to put his atrocious coping methods on full display. Perhaps the most alarming example was Bauer’s reaction to Texas State student, Nikki Giles, tweeting that he was her “least favorite person in all of sports” back in 2019. Instead of ignoring the tweet—as almost all professional athletes do—the insecure pitcher tweeted at the young woman… 80 times. Of course, he took things to the extreme when he went through the young woman’s profile and publicized several of her old tweets, including a tweet from 2018 in which Bauer attempts to expose Giles for underage drinking. Although Bauer clearly intended to harm and harass, he claimed he did not intend to have a “negative impact.” The eerily obsessive internet harassment of a young woman is its own appalling episode, but a pathetic statement essentially saying, “I didn’t mean to,” reveals everything one needs to know about Trevor Bauer. 


I wish that the Twitter antics and constant need for attention were the worst of the Trevor Bauer saga. A great player with a Kanye West-type complex, although ungodly annoying, could be tolerated given his abilities. But it seems that won’t be the case for the reigning Cy Young winner. Bauer’s habit for controversy exploded in the most disturbing manner as the 2021 MLB season hit mid-summer stride.  


At the end of June, a woman in California filed an 85-page petition in attempt to place a temporary restraining order on the Dodgers pitcher. In the petition, the gruesome details of the physical harm caused by Bauer during their intimate encounter are nothing short of sickening. Without going into too much detail, medical examinations led to a diagnosis of acute head injury, along with clear signs (a busted lip, swollen jaw/cheekbones, a pair of black eyes, and much more) that the woman had been in a very violent incident.  The defense team representing Bauer has framed the situation as consensual rough sex, admitting that he choked the woman until she was unconscious and was extremely violent during the encounter. Based on a very similar situation during Bauer’s time in Cincinnati, one where he made death threats toward the woman involved, it seems that this is a reoccurring behavior. However, a lawyer named Sheryl Ring points out that every state has enactments holding that one cannot give consent to “the infliction of grievous bodily harm.” This means that regardless of context, sexual or otherwise, a person is not legally allowed to consent to something that will result in serious bodily injury. That is something that will be a key point should this case end up in criminal court.  


If you came looking for a simple “is he guilty or not,” then I apologize. Jessica Luther of the LA Times puts it brilliantly, “As the Bauer case progresses, it is important for fans, media, and the general public to recognize that searching for black-and-white clarity is a futile journey.” One looking for clarity can only hope that this case be taken to criminal court, or the MLB announcing the completion of their investigation. Both are likely, and only time will tell. What we do know is simple, Trevor Bauer has a terrifying obsession with extreme violence toward women in intimate situations. Despite what some may say, that does make him dangerous. It seems the baseball world has also taken notice of this, as the MLB and the MLB Players Association agreed—again—to extend Bauer’s suspension for the entire 2021 season while police and league investigations continue. The Dodgers trade acquisition of 3x Cy Young-winner, Max Scherzer, just a month after the Bauer story broke indicates that the organization has moved on. Over the course of his career, Bauer has built an incredible resume of why a franchise should not give him a chance if possible.  


Although clarity on the Bauer case is not currently possible, looking at a former player with a very similar path might help—Lenny Dykstra. Nicknamed “Nails,” Dykstra originally found success as the down-and-dirty, spark off the bench for the World Series-winning Mets of 1986. Much like Bauer, Dykstra had few friends and a serious baseball obsession in high school. During his time in New York, Dykstra was against all forms of cheating. But by the time he was fighting for a contract extension in Philadelphia, cheating was a necessary part of his success. Whether it was steroids or literally blackmailing umpires to gain favorable calls, Nails—much like Bauer—decided to cheat his way to being one of the highest paid players in baseball. After his retirement, a history of sexual assault and violence during Dykstra’s playing career was revealed. The similarities, whether you believe are relevant or not, are certainly something to take note of. Over the years, Dykstra has spiraled completely, continuing his habit of violence and obsession with attention.  The former World Series champion has had a number of serious legal issues, including a stint in prison and debt totaling over $30 million. It is safe to say that the once inspiring player has ruined his life while becoming one of the most awful people to ever wear an MLB uniform. This is no prediction of what lies ahead for Bauer, but the career and life of Lenny Dykstra certainly raises similar warnings and red flags.  


There is a reason that Trevor Bauer is in the middle of the two most controversial stories in baseball, and I’m sure he is enjoying the attention in some way. If you ask me, I don’t think he will ever set foot in an MLB stadium again. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean we won’t ever hear from him again. I’m sure some sports talk show in the future would love to indulge him in the attention he so dearly loves when there’s a slow news week in the sports world. The problem with people like Trevor Bauer is that they seem to worsen when the spotlight is taken away from them. All signs point to his playing days coming to an official end over the offseason. As of now, it seems like Major League Baseball has seen the last of Trevor Bauer, let’s just hope that the worst of him is behind us.