Since the publication of this column, MLB has placed Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer on administrative leave due to the allegations of sexual assault.
It’s a layup.
And yet no one wants to take it. Everyone is passing the buck. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says it’s out of their hands. There is no word from GM Andrew Friedman. Rob Manfred couldn’t be found with a combination of the world’s best intelligence agencies. Everyone’s waiting for someone else to do something. What they’re afraid of, God only knows. Not only is Trevor Bauer accused of an absolutely heinous crime, it’s Trevor Fucking Bauer. If he’s got a friend in the world no one’s ever met him or her, other than his loudmouth “agent.” Bauer’s agent told the New York Post that Bauer and the accuser had a “consensual sexual relationship.”
The thing is, it isn’t out of Dave Roberts’ hands. He decides who plays and who doesn’t every day. That’s what being a manager means. That’s the main part of the job. There’s nothing stopping him from just handing the ball to someone else on Sunday. What’s Bauer gonna do, try and usurp the start? Try and warm up next to whoever is chosen in the bullpen and then race him to the mound in the bottom of the 1st?
Andrew Friedman could step down from his office, or just place a phone call to Roberts, and tell him to staple Bauer’s ass to the bench. We can’t have this mess on the field, even if it is in the clubhouse. We all understand that Dave Roberts is a boob that just had this all-time powerhouse of a roster land on him. But he answers to someone. But no one’s making him.
Rob Manfred could end this, too. Imagine the scene for MLB if Bauer takes the mound Sunday. Why would Manfred want that? Oh right, he doesn’t really care. He even has the power to put Bauer on a restricted list thanks to MLB’s domestic violence penalty. Bauer can appeal within 24 hours. So make him.
It’s amazing what Manfred and the owners are willing to pick a fight with MLB over, and how easily they seem to, and yet they can’t lift a finger on this? Make them file a grievance. Hell, lose it. Turn the MLBPA into the side that defended Trevor Bauer after he allegedly cracked a woman’s skull. The MLB owners are the only side to ever lose a P.R. battle in a fight with a players union, as they did last year. Enforcing the foreign substance rules midseason with no input from the players? They’ll do that. Didn’t care what the players thought. Unilaterally shortened a season to 60 games last year? That’s fine, too. Change the baseballs back and forth? They’re up for that, too. What was probably collusion for a few offseasons? Happy to do that, as well. All of that antagonized the union. But this? Where most of the union would probably be happy they did? Suddenly everyone’s got alligator arms, waiting for someone else to do it. Also it should be pointed out the union did not appeal extensions of restricted list placings for Addison Russell or Domingo German in the past.
MLB can’t have this on Sunday. Not that I expect Dodger Stadium to be anything less than full when the Dodgers get back there, but what will they think watching their team on Sunday? Why should they be put in this position? Why are Bauer’s teammates? The P.R. staff can put all kinds of demands on the media and the questions they can ask all the players, but it’s still going to be sitting on the whole team like a shit cloud.
It’s as simple as can be. It’s plain as day. Against the easiest target imaginable. No one in the media will bat for this guy. And yet everyone’s waiting for someone else. And baseball will deserve everything it gets come Sunday.
MLB certainly can’t look to the NFL for inspiration, which thought protecting Dan Snyder — yet another target that doesn’t rise above the level of Whiffleball — was more important than sending a message about how women are treated by its teams and officials. The punishment? A fine of $10 million and Snyder turning over day-to-day operations to his wife. Wow, how stinging.
What owner was going to complain if the absolute book was thrown at Snyder and the WFT as a whole? If execs were cleaned out? Who are Snyder’s friends? The other owners wouldn’t piss on him if he were on fire. And there’s no owners’ union. The only thing that can happen is Jerry Jones throws a fit, and he’s not going to do that for Dan Snyder.
Just a banner day all around.