A week ago the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Nippon Professional Baseball’s (NPB) Central League (JPCL) signed Trevor Bauer. This isn’t a Transaction Analysis or a look at Trevor Bauer the pitcher. I don’t care about either of those elements. The BayStars could have signed Bauer for $1 and I would still say they were a shitty organization for the signing. Bauer himself could go on to be terrific for the BayStars, or mediocre, you really never know with Bauer. However, good or bad, his actual on-the-field performance does not matter. What matters is that yet again female baseball fans have been told that they are of little to no value to the teams they cheer for or leagues they follow.
The particulars of the type of person Bauer is have been well documented and I’m not going to rehash them here. The easiest way to describe Bauer is that he is a subhuman piece of trash who at every turn has told us he is precisely that, yet he is still playing for a professional baseball team. No one should have to be writing about Bauer unless it is to detail him finally facing some sort of legitimate consequences for the actions he has been credibly accused of. Instead, the BayStars have given Bauer the chance to try and utilize his pitching to distance himself from the accusations and the person he is.
Now, this is Trevor Bauer we are talking about so there won’t actually be much distance established. He will continue to defame his multitude of accusers every chance he gets. He will continue to bully women online while getting his many fans to join in on the act. He will do all of this and more and it is likely that in a year’s time, he will find himself signing with a Major League Baseball (MLB) team once more. The BayStars have made that possible. Sure, you could argue that if it wasn’t the BayStars it would have been someone else. We’ll never know that because, at the end of the day, it is the BayStars and no one else who looked at a completely unrepentant Bauer and said, “please, come pitch for us.”
It’s not surprising that an NPB club would turn a blind eye to the accusations against Bauer. This is the same league that has signed players like Roberto Osuna and Josh Lueke, players also accused of rape and sexual assault. By no means is NPB a pristine organization and I’ve never held them up as such. In reality, Bauer signing with one of their teams was inevitable because it was the destination that made the most sense for many reasons. The reason that I most care about is that there was never a shred of doubt that some NPB club would look the other way when it came to Bauer’s off-the-field actions.
We all knew this was where this saga was headed as soon as every other MLB team decided to pass on letting Bauer suit up for them. The BayStars don’t have the scruples or the integrity to care about what Bauer represents or the sort of message this sends to their female fans. That message is loud and clear, “we don’t care about you, even if we still want your money.” No matter the league or organization, professional baseball is still largely male-driven. This is especially the case in NPB and that’s why the expectation is that Bauer will do good and the male front office and fans of the team will be happy. Women, in any facet, are an afterthought for the BayStars (even if they are owned by one). No one can argue that isn’t the case, because if it wasn’t the case then the team wouldn’t have gone out and signed a man who has been credibly accused of sexual assault and rape multiple times.
NPB’s image hasn’t taken a hit with this signing, in order for that to be the case Osuna wouldn’t still be in the league, Sho Nakata’s hazing incident wouldn’t have been swept under the rug, and more. Look, I’m all over the place with this because it is hard to put into words how angry the inevitableness of this signing makes me. It’s so tiring to have to write about a high-profile foreign organization like NPB willingly welcoming another abuser into the fold. Just because his signing was expected doesn’t mean we should be okay with it actually happening. There’s no reason Bauer should still be playing professional baseball, but he will be, and we have NPB and the BayStars to thank for that unfortunate fact.
Lead photo courtesy of Rachel Luba – Twitter