Is MLB Right To Go After Trevor Bauer?

Trevor Bauer

Is MLB Right To Go After Trevor Bauer? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com

Rob Manfred officially became the Law and Order commissioner last week when the leader of Major League Baseball announced it was investigating the Dodgers’ Trevor Bauer. The 2020 American League Cy Young Award winner, just two starts into his tenure in Los Angeles, has seen baseballs he used from his second start sent to the commissioner’s office to see if the righty starter is scuffing or adding a foreign substance to them. With MLB less than one year removed from seeing home run totals set records for an entire decade, is baseball right for going after Bauer or did he bring this inquiry on himself with his own words? 

For almost as long as there as been baseball, there have been players who have tried to bend or break the rules of the game. Some pitchers, such as Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry, while admitting to cheating, also understood the mental game that the threat of cheating planted in the mind of opposing players, which is what he rode to his enshrinement into Cooperstown. 

It is that mental aspect to the game that perhaps lead Trevor Bauer to concede last year the best way to increase the spin rate on a baseball is by adding something to it to obtain a better grip. It is perhaps also true those comments are now why Bauer is in the crosshairs of baseball’s next cheating investigation.

As recently as the 2019 season, pitchers have been upset about how the baseball has felt and reacted when thrown during games. That fact, it appears, was never admitted to by Rob Manfred, but was reportedly fixed by Major League Baseball this offseason when the way the game’s most important piece of equipment was manufactured. 

The changes were evident during spring training this year when starters like Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole said the feel of the baseballs were more consistent than in season’s past. Cole also noted that the seams of the baseballs were a little bit higher than during his days in Houston or Pittsburgh, allowing pitchers to get a better grip and more movement.

I have to admit I was wrong, because I predicted in November that Major League Baseball would not want to go after cheating pitchers simply because they knew they had already tilted the game a little bit more towards the hitter by how they changed the baseballs. Manfred, as pointed out by Justin Verlander at the 2019 All-Star Game, has always wanted an increase in offense, with baseball using the “juiced” baseballs to have more players try to hit home runs without dramatically increasing the number of total runs scored in a game all that much.

Now Manfred, already in his seventh season and two cheating scandals deep into his job as commissioner appears to be doing everything his predecessor Bud Selig didn’t do … try and clean up Major League Baseball. 

Just don’t think for a second he is doing this for any other reason than money, because with sports wagering coming out of the shadows of your local bar, the eyes of the world will be watching every player on every team … and when governments start losing money because athletes are cheating, there will be HELL to pay for Manfred with lots of questions to be answered.

The question I keep asking myself is if Manfred and MLB are pushing too hard or too fast when it comes to cracking down on pitchers that cheat. After all it was Manfred himself who “juiced” the baseballs that lead to pitchers needing to find something to return the balance of power. Then, without a single game being played this spring, Manfred doubled down on his Law and Order stance by not only “dejuicing” the baseballs, but telling pitchers things like StatCast, an electronic system that tracks a pitch’s movement toward home plate, would be used to help determine who might be cheating on the rubber. 

Now, Trevor Bauer, one of the game’s best pitchers is facing a fine or even a suspension for doing what he has been doing for years, all the result of what Manfred started with his juiced baseballs … is that fair?

No, it’s not; but when you have had the kind of difficulties that Manfred has had doing his job, fair goes out the window, and when you add the millions of dollars on the line from endorsement deals with legalized bookies, fair is not longer a consideration when you are now expected and required to clean up the game of baseball. 

As a result, Trevor Bauer will likely become what Barry Bonds should have been for the Steroids Era of baseball, the poster child for what not to do anymore even thought it was the sport itself encouraged and turned a blind eye to their cheating way. With Bauer facing the music during his playing days and Bonds only left holding some of baseball’s more sacred records, all of the millions he earned from cheating, with both, perhaps, being kept out of the Hall of Fame.

Should Trevor Bauer be facing this investigation? No, but he will, not because Bauer brought it on himself, but because Rob Manfred did, and Bauer will need to pay the price for Manfred’s mistake. 

 


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Is MLB Right To Go After Trevor Bauer? | TooAthletic.com

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