Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer claims to not care about being liked. Even before he cut his ERA in half in 2018, made an All-Star team and contended for the Cy Young, Bauer was known for his unusual behavior off the field. He was unpopular in the clubhouse, he sliced his finger with a drone and he didn’t shy away from causing stirs online.
Bauer was the focus of a feature story from Sports Illustrated on Tuesday, which discussed his unusual training regimen and his quick ascension to both one of the game’s best (and most disliked) players.
The story also revealed the major disconnect between how Bauer views his behavior and how his behavior is actually perceived.
Notably, how Bauer looked at his online harassment of Texas State student Nikki Giles as no big deal. Last month, Giles tweeted that Bauer was her least favorite player, and that turned into Bauer mentioning Giles in some 80 tweets and having his followers send vitriol her way.
Giles told USA TODAY at the time: “It has definitely ruined my last three days. I have cried daily and called my family crying because the first 12-24 hours or so I was getting a lot of hate.”
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When asked about the incident in the Sports Illustrated piece, Bauer instead saw himself as a victim standing up to a bully.
Via SI: “People pull the role model card,” he says. “The way I see it, I am a role model because I show people it’s O.K. to stand up for yourself. That you can stand up to a bully. And I get that a lot of people won’t see it that way. But that’s what it is. When someone goes out of their way to tweet me that I’m a piece of s- or whatever, that’s a bully.”
That’s not how it works when you’re a professional baseball player. Bauer basically viewed himself — a pro athlete with 138,000 followers — as someone with the same power as a finance student with 700 followers. He went through a college student’s social media history and tried to expose that she was drinking before her 21st birthday. All this because Giles tweeted that she considered Bauer her least favorite player.
That’s not standing up to a bully — that’s Bauer being the bully. When SI pointed out that reality to Bauer, he essentially admitted that he was harassing Giles, “I don’t go out of my way to harass anybody. But, I mean, if you’re going to come at me, that’s just what I do.”
The fact is that being an All-Star-caliber player comes with certain responsibilities, and Bauer refuses to accept that while simultaneously presenting himself as baseball’s lone star with honesty. He thinks his “three dating rules” of no feelings, no social media but yes to him sleeping with other people makes him considerate when it’s actually misogynistic. All he’s doing, instead, is showing who he really is.
He has no problem calling out former and current teammates and then wonders why players call him selfish.
Some members of his organization have griped that the clubhouse consists of “24 plus Trevor,” and, says one player, “I think Trevor cares about Trevor a lot.” Of course, he does, Bauer says. “In what world is me being a Cy Young winner bad for the team?” he asks. “The better I am, the better the team is, so you should want me to be selfish about how good I am.”
Bauer isn’t the Diamondbacks prospect who was best known for his long-toss routine on the day of his starts anymore. He’s a 28-year-old ace coming off the best year of his career.
He should start acting like it.