Before the start of the season, Major League Baseball announced new rules regarding the tampering of the ball itself. After plenty of speculation, and various videos by current Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer showing which substances improve spin rates, the league has decided that it is going to crack down, removing any balls from the game that it feels are suspect.
If this rule is enforced equally around the game, then it will be a positive, ensuring that everyone is on an equal playing field. The issue is that the rule seems to be targeting Bauer specifically, as it has been reported that multiple baseballs he threw against the A’s on Wednesday were collected for examination.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer being targeted by MLB
It is entirely possible that other pitchers have had balls taken for examination, although it had not been reported. One would imagine that the league would want to do this quietly, allowing those pitchers who are cheating to feel that they are getting away with their shenanigans until they get caught. So why the focus on Bauer?
He had been an outspoken critic of the cheating that he felt was going on in the game. Even before AstroGate and the trash can scandal, Bauer felt that Houston pitchers were doing something to have such dramatic increases in their spin rates. He had experimented with different substances himself, documenting his results. However, that was met with a collective yawn from the league.
Based on that reaction, and seeing how other pitchers were improving their own spin rates, it would not have been a surprise had Bauer decided that he may as well join them. After all, he did post career best numbers regarding his spin rates last year en route to the 2020 NL Cy Young award. One could certainly argue that Bauer found something to make that happen.
Bauer has also been a vocal critic of commissioner Rob Manfred. From Manfred’s various tweaks to the game to his handling of AstroGate and questioning whether or not he even likes baseball, Bauer has not been shy about his thoughts. Perhaps this is a way for the league to try to get him to quiet down.
Major League Baseball is trying to crack down on doctored baseballs. However, it seems they are really cracking down on Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer.