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Trevor Bauer to the Dodgers: Analyzing the Polarizing Move for Fans



In case you haven’t heard, big news broke on social media on Friday afternoon, putting an end to any suggestion that this off-season has been boring and/or uneventful. In what can only be described as a “polarizing” move, Trevor Bauer finally made a long-awaited decision on his free agency and, in a somewhat surprising move, announced that he will be joining the Dodgers.

Reactions varied from shocked, to appalled, to impressed, to excited, to all of the above in some cases. And the biggest reason for the disparity in these reactions? As Bauer himself put it in this Sports Illustrated piece, not only is a good pitcher, he’s good at “pissing people off”…and as Dodgers fans, we have different views on how or even if we can separate the two, or if it’s possible to find that middle ground.

Get to know Trevor Bauer from those who have played with him, against him, and have covered his career.

There’s a lot at work here. First off, I understand and respect those fans who aren’t able to overlook a player’s less than desirable character; after all, I have long said that it is the human side of the game that not only drew me to it when I was 8 1/2 years old, but also eventually led me to the Dodgers and this life as a devoted fan. Back in the spring of 2014 when I fell back in love with this great game and starting following the Dodgers, if the team at that time had been full of jerks and didn’t have the exceptional human named Clayton Kershaw on their staff, there is a pretty good chance not even Tim Wallach in the role of bench coach would have kept me invested in the team.

But much to my great fortune, it definitely wasn’t full of jerks, Clayton Kershaw indeed existed…and heavily invested I became. It’s become very important for me to like, for the most part, the player as well as the man.

As Dodgers fans, we have admittedly been blessed with some exceptional humans on the roster over the years. And if you’re an avid follower of the team like I am, it’s easier said than done to separate the man wearing number 22 on the mound from the father adorably running the bases with his kids. To not put a great deal of value in the knowledge that your talented third baseman also runs a charitable organization that helps tens of thousands of people, and is so adored that he had an annual day named after him in Los Angeles.

Related: The 7 Year Anniversary of Justin Turner’s Minor League with LA

Watch a group of guys play hundreds of games a season, and you will inevitably appreciate both sides of the players, even grow to expect nothing less than perfection from them.

I’m also of the belief that at the end of the day, it’s collectively the Dodgers that I root for, whether I am enamoured with each player or not. As mentioned, the Dodgers have had some exceptional talent and great characters over the years, but not all guys have been fan favorites (it’s impossible to assemble a perfect group of players, although the 2020 version came pretty close in my opinion). For example, I couldn’t stand Mat Latos the moment I laid eyes on him, and he didn’t do much to change that perception during his brief time in blue. But, I rooted for him to pitch well because when he did take the mound for the Dodgers, he was taking the mound for the Dodgers, and I wanted the Dodgers to win.

I’d also be lying if I said there is anything about Manny Machado that I particularly liked as an Oriole or like as a Padre, but while he wore Dodger Blue, I would have loved nothing more than to see him celebrating a Dodgers World Series win with his teammates, because, well, that would have meant that the Dodgers had just won the World Series.

Some fans have the ability to completely separate the person from the player – to not think or even care about the off-field persona and focus only on the team’s on-field play and results, and that’s ok too. In that regard, when I think only of an elite talent like Trevor Bauer throwing every 5 days for the Dodgers, I get giddy with excitement. In the realization that the best team in baseball somehow got even better. It’s impossible for me as a Dodger fan to not want Bauer to dazzle on the mound at Blue Heaven on Earth. If I didn’t want this team to continue to win, in my opinion, I wouldn’t have earned the privilege of calling myself a fan.

Many fans, on the other hand, may never be able to overlook Trevor Bauer off the field and are rightfully having a hard time accepting that he deserves to be a member of the same organization that has always held its players to the highest of personal and professional standards.

With Bauer earning himself a reputation over the last few years as an “internet bully”, among other things, it’s safe to say he has a long way to go before many fans will even consider accepting him.

Tonight, as I ponder this move and the reactions it’s elicited, I try to keep in mind that people can change, which I hope can happen, because seeing a player so strongly divide the fanbase just doesn’t seem right, and I’d rather be basking in the glow of our World Champion team’s pitching staff somehow going from “excellent” to “extraordinary” than fighting with other Dodger fans on the Internet. I mean, Bauer did go from being the guy who sliced his hand on a drone and getting shipped off to Cincinnati after throwing a tantrum on the mound, to honing his craft on his way to becoming one of the best pitchers in baseball and winning the Cy Young, so just maybe he’s capable of more change; only time will tell.

The Dodgers have already changed a lot of careers and lives over the years – goodness knows they’ve changed mine for countless reasons – and I have faith that they’ll continue to do so. One can only hope that being a member of this organization will help Bauer change as well and that he’ll grow to respect the name on the front of the jersey as much as, or even more than he does the name on the back.

So, even though I may not always agree 100% with every decision the front office makes, as a fan, I choose to believe, for better or for worse, that they have done and will continue to do what’s right for this organization. And I feel they’ve earned our trust after giving us a World Championship in 2020. I can only speak for myself, but I know there is nothing that will stop me from holding the Dodgers organization and everything it stands for in the highest regard, nothing that will prevent me from respecting the name on the front of that sacred uniform.

For many fans to even consider accepting him as a valued member of this storied organization, Trevor Bauer will need to prove that he can set aside his own ego and do the same.

Trevor Bauer to the Dodgers: Reaction and How Adding the Cy Young Winner May Make LA Unstoppable

Written by Gail Johnson

Biggest Dodgers fan north of the border, living about 3,500 miles from my beloved Boys In Blue, in Moncton, NB, Canada. I think Dodger Stadium is the happiest place on Earth. I'll catch up on my sleep in the off-season.

Comments

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  1. Gail I disagree with you. I think the Dodgers did not due their homework on his character. Bauer is obviously a bully, immature, and a misogynist as he bullies young women. With his MAGA rants he is on the side of the white supremacists and Qanon supporters.

    While I will support the Dodgers I think Kasten and Friedman have made a horrible mistake with such an immature person.
    Spend the money on a right-handed hitting infielder we do not need this jerk.

    • He doesn’t go as far as the capitol stormers and Qanon lunatics he’s just not politically correct

    • You really think the didnt do their homework before they decided to give him 40 million? Really? Just stop it. STOP IT. He has his opinions. You dont like them. I love them.

  2. That almost sounds like a threat, which is not how we should greet our new players. As with LeBron and the Lakers, first give them a chance without preconditions, then decide.

  3. My sentiments match the article. The likability of the players and management is important to me, I have mixed feelings about this signing, but willing to give him a chance, and certainly he is a player I look forward to watching on the field, and just hope he isn’t toxic personality wise.

  4. Hopefully there’s more fans who accept him than not. We don’t need the LA PC babies ruining our chance at a repeat with their bad vibes

  5. Yeah, no more expressing your thoughts if it doesn’t coincide with the cancel culture, lest you be cancelled. So, good luck trying to cancel Bauer. And, when you fail, hopefully you realize its really not all about you. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, right or wrong, pc or not, based on reality or not. Who are you to judge? There is only one judge, and you will face Him eventually. Did you do the right thing? Did you love you enemy as you love yourself? Did you bring glory and honor to Him? Or, did you think you were entitled to substitute yourself for Him?

    • Hey 68, you’re my brother.

      That one that we both know also said, Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

      And now I’m going to say one of the most politically incorrect things that can be said in today’s society:
      .
      That man is Jesus Christ.

  6. The politically correct attacks on Bauer, like we see here are appalling. The holier than thou crowd loves to engage in character assassination. It is absolutely vile to attack someone for no reason, and posture yourself as the warm and fuzzy judge of all that right in the world.

    Bauer’s not an internet bully. He speaks his mind. Those who accuse others of bullying, however, are usually just politicay correct whiners. What may look like a tantrum to some may actually be competitiveness.

    There is a lot of name calling and vitriole in this article with no support whatsoever. Isn’t that what bullying is?

      • Hey Clint, if you want to do a real article with real factual support, then do it. To answer your question though, I rarely seek to dig up dirt on anyone, because you can always find it. But if was to do so, I would support my allegations with more than vague phraseology. I do not like to see people attacked on the basis of innuendo. But if attacking Bauer is something you want to do, then do it. But do it right. Until you, or someone else does this, I will continue to look at Bauer as guy who speaks his mind, and articles like this as unsupported, and the real source of polarization. In the meantime, welcome to LA Trev. We’re working the 2021 ring design right now. Feel free to offer your thoughts. On this, or anything else. I like free speech.

        • It’s not digging up dirt, it’s researching why people might have concerns about very public issues that even Bauer has admitted to. This isn’t some cancel culture-inspired work here, it’s an opinion editorial that splits the middle and admits reasons to be excited for the move while echoing the concerns of many. There are linked articles within this post for those who wish to continue their research over stopping at the title or three paragraphs in.

  7. The Dodgers are a class act. Bauer must adjust his behavior on and off the field if he wants the respect of Dodger fans everywhere. I sincerely trust Doc to keep a rein on him until he proves himself. Dodgers have great talent – but they have great heart as well. Bauer has to bring his best attitude and behavior to the Boys in Blue if he wants our love.

  8. This article (and Jackson) expressed my feelings exactly. I’ve always admired and respected the Dodgers not only for the way they play the game but primarily for the humility and respect most of the players show as a team. I love Kershaw, Seager, Turner, Taylor, Betts, (Kiké), and so many others who play hard, are so fun to watch, are good clubhouse guys, but who are respectful on and off the field. I agree that the 2020 team really reached the pinnacle of this. So yes, I also have mixed feelings about this bc of all the news about his past conduct, but hoping he’s matured and will add to the current clubhouse culture in a positive way.

  9. This is not a holier than thou character assassination by the way. Just going by articles out there.

    • Trevor Bauer is now a Dodger. I may not agree with his personality or his political viewpoint; or I may. Curt Schilling, anyone? Hmm, deserves to be in the hall. I was a UAW member for 20+ years and a steward. I represented ALL members. Regardless of belief. Stand behind him! He has his right to his opinions just as I do. Who knows, being around Clayton, Mookie, Cody or some of our other Dodgers may be just what the doctor asked for. I was against his signing for statistical reasons. But now that he is on board, let’s stand with him. Who knows, maybe he will be in Cy Young conversations again. And help us to 2 in a row.

  10. Please!!! Give me a break! Let the guy alone! I’m tired of all this touchy feely gickness!!!!!!
    Let him pitch in peace!! From 88 up until last year we proved nice guys don’t always win!!!!

  11. I find it funny on how people have to bring up the drone incident. At least he was home rather than at some strip club. Oh, machado was just plain toxic. Glad to see him go. Sad to see Dustin Pedrosia hanging up this week. That slide by machado into Dustin was totally uncalled for.

  12. All I know is that they need to sign Turner, he’s the heart and soul on the team !! A clutch hitter and good defensive(remember the play in the World Series!!!) Signing Bauer is like topping off your gas tank when it’s already filled, yes he could help .

  13. I can only say this Bauer signing was somewhat of a surprise. I am of the belief that one should treat others in the same manner as one wishes to be treated himself. If it were up to me , I might have taken care of the position player needs first, such as JT and or another RHB. But Dodgers have their specific reasons as well in deciding to go over the CBT threshold this year. So I will of course give Bauer the benefit of the doubt at this time because he WANTS to be here. After all, he passed up more money offered from the Mets in order to do so. Focus now is 3B.

  14. My only concern is will he be a distraction in the clubhouse? The good news is there are plenty of strong championship type personalities in there now, including Roberts who won’t put up with it if he causes problems. Bauer needs to understand that he just joined the real major league now

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