On Monday, August 16th, Trevor Bauer stepped into court for the first hearing regarding the ongoing sexual assault allegations against him. It’s the culmination of a drawn-out investigation that has kept him out of the game for nearly two months. Since then, disturbing report after disturbing report has come out about the Dodgers right-hander that threatens his future in the game.
The hearing was to discuss a permanent restraining order on Bauer for the woman he assaulted and, while it ultimately didn’t bear fruit, it marks the beginning of his court battle for his alleged actions. Bauer can and likely will still face criminal charges for his acts. MLB is also investigating him to determine a course of action. The details of the alleged assault are graphic and truly horrifying and I strongly advise anyone who hasn’t read them to proceed with caution if you choose to view the report.
This mess brought to light the slimy underbelly of one of the game’s prominent figures. At least, that’s what the Dodgers would like you to believe. Rather, it’s both a confirmation of Bauer’s expressed character and an indictment of the franchise. How exactly did we get to this point?
How Did We Get Here With Trevor Bauer?
The Dodgers signed Bauer on February 5th, 2021, looking to shore up an already World Champion pitching staff. By all accounts, the deal was praised by players and fans alike. Clayton Kershaw, the heart and soul of the team, sounded eager to talk strategy. Mookie Betts, a paragon of clubhouse leadership and beloved veteran, hailed the move for adding another dedicated competitor. It was a classic “Dodgers gonna Dodger” move with a juggernaut becoming even more bulletproof.
Bauer was originally placed on administrative leave on July 2nd in accordance with MLB’s domestic violence policy. A San Diego woman alleged that he sexually assaulted her during two separate encounters at Bauer’s home, causing significant injury each time. Through his agents, Bauer denied the accusations. Since the first set of allegations, his leave has been extended six times. He is also still under investigation for potential criminal charges by the Pasadena Police.
All of the drama surrounding Bauer left him forsaken by the Dodgers. Team merchandise featuring Bauer was removed from their shop and his image was essentially erased in Los Angeles. Mike DiGiovanna also reported that most of his teammates want him out permanently. The very same teammates that praised his signing.
Before the Allegations, the Dodgers Righty Was Already Controversial
Prior to the hearing and the sexual assault allegations levied against him, Bauer was already loathed by a large swathe of baseball fans. He made his image around speaking his mind and angering people in the process. Character problems led to his departure from the Diamondbacks organization and ultimately made his trade from Cleveland a bit easier as well. In essence, Bauer was a real-life internet troll equipped with controversial, sometimes conspiratorial opinions on climate and politics and some now-deleted prejudiced jokes.
Most notably, he cyberbullied a university student on Twitter after a short back-and-forth. He turned a brief, good-natured exchange into an 80 tweet harassment warpath that spanned several days. In his tirade, he drudged up old tweets of the woman drinking before her 21st birthday to shame her. He also insinuated that the only reason she kept responding was that she liked him. His over 100,000 followers at the time only made matters worse. The torrent of hate forced the student to temporarily delete her account, but his followers persisted.
Recently, it was also discovered that another woman filed for a protection order against Bauer while he was in Cinncinati. The allegations were remarkably similar to those in this current case. In addition to assault, Bauer threatened this woman which ultimately led her to seek protection in the first place. His response to the case? Victim blaming by crying extortion.
Trevor Bauer Never Fit the “Dodger Way”
When the Dodgers signed Bauer, they were sticking their hand in a beehive in hopes of getting honey. They wanted more. They wanted a leg up on the upstart Padres. Perhaps they wanted access to Bauer’s formula for the perfect sticky substance. Most of all, they wanted to keep winning at all costs. Except you can’t have the honey without dealing with the stings. There was no way to not know the kind of person they had in Bauer.
Now, to put all the blame on the Dodgers for putting up with less-than-stellar people would be ignorant of other offenders. The Houston Astros famously traded for Roberto Osuna while he was suspended for domestic violence. My Chicago Cubs gave up a haul for Aroldis Chapman not far removed from his own incident. It’s a leaguewide choice to ignore heinous acts for results.
As Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer wrote when discussing Osuna, teams always have a choice in who they try to win with. The Dodgers chose to drive a dump truck full of money up to Bauer’s doorstep. They flew in the face of a franchise with a legacy of championing civil rights to make that already stellar rotation nigh invincible. They received exactly as advertised: an extremely talented yet deeply troubled man.