We’ve said plenty here about Trevor Bauer, mostly about him being a colossal jerk, so “Trevor Bauer is a colossal jerk” isn’t news, especially around these parts.
What is news is Scott Servais, the mild-mannered former major league catcher who’s now managing the Mariners, and has been since 2016 for anyone who doesn’t live in Seattle and has very forgivably forgotten that the Mariners exist, taking a huge and unprompted swipe at the reigning National League Cy Young winner.
The context: Bauer had said that when the Mariners got to him for five runs in the fifth inning of Friday’s Cactus League game, he was “just finishing off the night, trying to get my pitch count up.” This is the same Bauer who earlier this spring was messing around by pitching with one eye shut, to try to make himself uncomfortable or something, and wound up hitting Ty France of the Mariners with a pitch.
Maybe there was some carryover anger from Servais about Bauer having endangered his team by acting like an ass. Maybe Servais was just as sick of Bauer’s nonsense in general as the rest of us. Whatever it was, Servais threw a mountain of shade on the Dodgers’ No. 3 starter by commenting that Seattle’s hitters weren’t really trying in the first four innings against Bauer.
The conclusion was brilliant: “Our guys were hitting with one eye shut the first four innings and trying to breathe through our eyelids, because we’re focusing on different things that’ll help us throughout the year.”
For the uninitiated, that’s a reference to Bull Durham and Nuke LaLoosh breathing through his eyelids, and yes, the Durham Bulls did notice.
But what’s striking here is Servais going out of his way, on a question strictly about the Mariners’ offense, to take a shot at Bauer. That’s not an everyday thing in baseball, where direct questions about opponents, especially in spring training, get answered with stock phrases like “we’re just worried about our own guys.” To take an unrelated question and spin it into a snide, sarcastic, soul-crushing attack is pretty much unheard of, and it speaks volumes about how people in baseball feel about Bauer.
They also think he’s a colossal jerk. Because he is.