I can’t sum this up any better than Craig Calcattera did, so let’s start there:
Trevor Bauer had his introductory press conference/Zoom meeting yesterday with the Dodgers and assembled baseball media. And we have to give them a small amount of credit (the precise amount, to quote Alan Arkin from the movie Argo, would be the buffalo shit on a nickel) that they even bothered to ask Bauer about his past behavior on social media. To review, Bauer has been a misogynist, transphobic, harassing pig in the past. But previously, people like Bauer haven’t even been asked the question. Take Tom Brady and Antonio Brown this past Super Bowl, for example.
So Bauer addressed it. Barely. And not even really. It was the most cursory once-over you could imagine.
“All the conversations I’ve had with people across all walks of life over the last couple of years and all the things I’ve learned —I can say that I have learned from those,” Bauer said after being presented with his No. 27 jersey during a virtual news conference from Dodger Stadium. “I’ve spent a lot of time talking to other people to try to understand other perspectives, and I’m doing my best to be better, as I do in all walks of my life. I don’t think that it makes any sense to dive into specific issues in this forum, but I am committed to being better on social media, being better on the field, being better in the clubhouse, being better in life in general.”
And this boilerplate, addressing-nothing answer didn’t generate a follow-up question, a note of caution, criticism, anything. What did Bauer learn? Whom did he talk to? What perspectives? It absolutely makes sense to dive into specifics, but the reason he doesn’t want to is most likely because he hasn’t done jack shit about it. Why would he? He just signed for $40 million this year. Where are the consequences? You can be sure he’ll be back on his bullshit the next time some woman sneezes on him on Twitter. And that check will still cash.
And yet it gets headlines like this on ESPN, as if he’s turned a new leaf. Or this on MLB.com, as if it was enough. At least that piece made mention of his actions in the past, while also including his non-apology. Here’s at-the-ready stooge Jon Heyman to champion those attending the press conference, even though again, Bauer said nothing, there were no follow-up questions, Bauer took no responsibility, and the article Heyman is retweeting is saying as much. It feels like the smallest amount of effort to actually question anyone about this kind of behaviour is treated like William Wallace conquering the English, merely so the baseball press doesn’t have to do it again.
And GM Andrew Friedman was no better.
“The most important thing is every teammate we talked to, all the feedback we got from every organization he was with, was not only incredibly positive in terms of the type of teammate he is, but also in terms of the impact that he makes on each organization,” Friedman said when asked whether he believes he might have alienated some of the team’s fans by signing Bauer. “I think the talent is pretty obvious. But I also think that from a cultural standpoint, from continuing to strive to get better at everything we do, I actually think he is gonna be a tremendous asset in that. It’s not for me to speak for Trevor, but in our conversations he’s alluded to past mistakes he’s made. And you know what, we’re all gonna make mistakes. What’s important for me is how people — including myself, when I make mistakes — is how we internalize it, and what our thoughts are about it going forward. From our standpoint, it was important to have that conversation. And we came away from it feeling good about it. Now, obviously, time will tell. But I feel like he is going to be a tremendous add, not just on the field but in the clubhouse, in the community, and that’s obviously why we’re sitting here.”
Friedman, like Bauer, says nothing here. Did he talk to the women Bauer has harassed? Fuck no, he didn’t. Did he talk to any women about Bauer? Nope. But he talked to Bauer’s former teammates? What are they going to tell you? Are they the ones whose lives he made hell?
As for thoughts going forward, to repeat myself ad nauseum, Bauer didn’t say anything about what he’ll do going forward other than “be better.” Hell, that’s one step shy of Melania’s meaningless “Be Best” campaign against cyberbullying when her husband was the poster child for it. “Be better” could mean anything. And because of that, it means nothing.
But hey, he actually had to address it with a nothing-burger, so everyone in baseball media suddenly thinks they’re the Woodward and Bernstein of sexism.