If you’re familiar with Bauer as a pitcher in 2020, you know he’s been lights out for Cincinnati from the get-go. He’s always been a pitcher with a keen eye for detail and a drive to improve his game with heavy emphasis on analytics. MLB.com’s David Adler released an article at the beginning of last month about the league leaders in spin rate–one of those new-age baseball terms that someone like your dad or anybody on the Texas Rangers who follows “unwritten rules” would probably scratch their head at. Not only were the Reds the top team in all of baseball in that category, but Trevor Bauer led the way with the highest 4-seam spin rate, and ranked pretty high with his curveball, too.
With such a deadly staff of starters already, the Reds are lucky to have one of the most attentive and careful players right now when it comes to pitching analytics. Bauer’s hard work has shown this season. He currently boasts a sparkly ERA of 2.05 and WHIP of 0.86, both of which are numbers that even your dad can get behind. Suffice it to say, he’s putting together a Cy Young Award-caliber season on the mound, but what about in the clubhouse? Or, better yet, off of the field and out of the stadium?
Well, Trevor is doing something that’s never been done before: he has been hard at work filming as much of his day as he can and posting it to YouTube frequently. That’s right, Trevor Bauer is the first MLB player to professionally vlog during a season. I’ve been watching every episode and I’m loving it.
This has been really cool for fans like me who take a big interest in what the life of a pro is like. What do they eat in a day? How are the hotels? The travel? What do guys do during off days? How do they prepare for a game? All of these questions are answered in Trevor’s vlog. Even a simple trip to the grocery store is sort of fun because you’re watching the life of a professional athlete that makes millions of dollars doing regular people stuff. There’s this great moment in vlog #10 when Trevor has to sneak onto a chained up field at a public park to throw because Great American Ballpark is closed for COVID-19 reasons. It’s just really funny to imagine walking your dog or something at the neighborhood park and seeing a bunch of major leaguers long-tossing.
One could call a consistent vlog of this season an anomaly because of the circumstances and other weird 2020 stuff, and they’d be right in saying that. However, that’s part of why it’s special to watch. It serves as a way to document an MLB player’s life, yes; but more importantly, we as the fans get a look inside an MLB player’s life during the weirdest sports season in history. Baseball fans of the next generation will now always have this time capsule-of-sorts to look back on, and I think that’s awesome.
If you’re wondering, Bauer’s prominently growing personal brand isn’t a completely new thing. The vlog is just one example of his strong media game. In 2018, he became the co-founder and CEO of Momentum, a name with which some may already be familiar. Momentum is a ballplayer-influenced multi-media company that is quickly becoming a rich cornucopia for baseball content. Bauer has helped create professionally filmed and edited discussions with fellow players, as well as podcasts and comedy videos for fan enjoyment. If you need further proof of his dedication to filming himself through thick and thin, consider this: when he got traded from his longtime home in Cleveland last year, he documented the entire process of what it’s like to be traded mid-season and how he felt about it. When do we ever get an inside look into a professional ballplayer’s life as meaty as that? Bauer is also growing actively on social media platforms; in fact, he gained more than 20,000 followers on Twitter alone in just a few days following the Joe Kelly cleat incident.
Hang on, can we talk about that for a second? What an absolute CHESS move on Trevor’s part. If you’re not familiar, Bauer posted a photo of custom cleats he planned on wearing that had an illustration of the Joe Kelly pouty face and the phrase “FREE JOE KELLY.” The photo went viral, Rob Manfred and MLB got word of it, and Trevor was told not to wear them (while being threatened with serious consequences if he did). The fun was ruined, but it seems that Manfred and company are not aware of the Streisand Effect, wherein the active censorship of something leads to even more exposure of that thing because of the ensuing controversy–which is exactly what happened. Bauer probably got more internet points from the drama than he would’ve for just simply wearing them. Even worse, MLB ended up looking dumber, hypocritical, and even more like the evil bad guys when all was said and done. In the end, much to the Manfred party’s disapproval, Bauer received an abundance of publicity for something as minor as the design of his cleats. Well played, Trevor; well played.
Anyway, Bauer is poised to be a free agent this coming offseason, and I’m sure plenty of teams will be interested in having him. He is able to get in touch with the younger generation and build a fan-base more than anyone else in the game. He would also be a veteran presence that could offer a ton of help to pitchers around him. He has had the pleasure of being on some of the craziest and most dominant starting rotations of the past decade, so the experience is there. The dude has shared a seat in the same dugout with the godlike Gerrit Cole, two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, current Cleveland ace Shane Bieber, and curveball king Sonny Gray, just to name a few. Is it a coincidence that all of these guys grew into forces on the mound because they were pitching alongside Bauer? I mean, yeah, probably. Even so, teams around the league should still consider that a plus!
Baseball greatness can come in many different forms. Like his former pitching mates that I just mentioned, Bauer will definitely be remembered as a certified out-getter. But unlike them, he may also be remembered as the man who single-handedly pioneered a new level of baseball-themed media, branding, fan interaction, and so so SO much more.
I am a 22 year old writer and ultra-fan of baseball currently residing in Long Beach, California. I became a published author earlier in 2020 on Amazon and ran my own personal blog at dreamden.org. I’m majoring in communication studies and English and plan to graduate later this year. I’m a lover of art in all forms but especially the art of a strike zone.