You want to be the heels, Dodgers fans? Well, you got your wish.
We could’ve predicted this the second Trevor Bauer put pen to paper, but regardless, it took exactly two (2) starts before the right-hander tripped his way into real controversy.
Not simply criticism from writers who reject his behavior, but a genuine MLB inspection — the first such case under Rob Manfred’s attempted crackdown on the use of illegal substances.
Just before the start of the 2021 season, Manfred’s league office announced a newfound set of rules supposedly meant to intimidate his pitchers out of using the various tacky substances that have gained a foothold in recent years, increasing spin rate beyond the boundaries of physics.
As far as fans know, this is quite a common practice, and many batters are even said to prefer pitchers use such substances, as it enhances their control over their 101 MPH weapons.
As far as fans also know, Bauer has recently become one of the foremost abusers of these substances, angrily accusing the Astros of using the stuff during their title runs before not-so-subtly adopting their policies himself en route to his Cy Young-winning 2020.
Just like we expected, MLB has officially taken notice.
Dodgers star Trevor Bauer got his baseballs confiscated on Wednesday.
In the first inning of Bauer’s second Dodgers start, one of the baseballs he used was escorted off the premises and taken to the league office, presumably.
The very second this occurred, all of us knew what was bound to come next: a firestorm surrounding behavior that was somewhat frowned upon, yet also widely accepted, prior to…well, a week ago.
Bauer was rewarded for using “doctored” baseballs with an award in 2020. Months later, MLB decided the behavior was unacceptable?
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the baseballs confiscated from Bauer’s start were noticeably sticky and came with distinct markings. The evidence is clear…and was clearly accepted before Manfred recently drew a line in the sand. Therefore, we have no idea what punishment, if any, will come, and how the substance can conclusively be tied back to Bauer.
Obviously, this is something to keep an eye on, not just because our brand-new ace is involved.
This is what MLB asked for (for whatever reason), and their first case is objectively of the highest profile. Will anything come of it, or is this just the league barking loudly at its stars yet again without any bite?
Bauer…as expected…commented on Twitter shortly after the news broke with his trademark level of tact.
If those are the kind of statements you enjoy, Dodger fans, get ready for a whole bunch more of ’em.