On Friday, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer was suspended for two years by MLB’s Commissioner Rob Manfred. It is the longest suspension in MLB history. The MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Bauer for two years. That’s a 324-game suspension and if it stands, that would cost Bauer over 50 million dollars.
The MLB Players Association ceded all disciplinary action to the Commission in the last contract, so the Commissioner, in theory, can do “whatever he wants.” That doesn’t mean he should do what he wants based on what appears to be cultural expediencies e.g.: “believe all women.”
As a preface, I am appalled by Bauer’s sexual proclivities. Bauer is clearly into rough and hard sex. Nonetheless, what Bauer likes with a willing partner, and in the privacy of his home, shouldn’t be subject to the ad hoc and career ending judgment of Rob Manfred.
Lest we forget, Manfred’s judgment is, at best, suspect. With TikToking teachers uploading videos of grooming five year-olds, Manfred seems to have a more shrewd view on cultural norms and politically charged events. Manfred removed the All-Star Game to Georgia because he claimed that Georgia’s voting rights laws restricted the rights of minorities. This was a ridiculous, unproven claim. He moved the game to a state (Colorado) with more restrictive rules on early voting, so I am not so confident that Manfred is anywhere close to possessing Solomon’s wisdom on anything.
Bauer was relieved of his duties as a pitcher for the Dodgers on June 28, 2021. A woman from San Diego requested a temporary restraining order. She claimed that two sexual trysts with Bauer exceeded her rough sex “limits.” Bauer was suspended by MLB, and a 4-day hearing followed.
I’ve handled TROs and just on the face of it, this seemed like the wrong vehicle and smelled of a payday. Number one, she claimed that her limits were exceeded — twice, on two different days and in different months. If she had an objection to the first event, there shouldn’t have been a second. In fact, she requested to be unconsciousened by chokers in text messages. Creepy? Sure. Illegal — no.
Although she claimed significant injuries, the judge handling the matter found that she didn’t meet the burden of proof for a restraining order. Again, I’ve handled TROs and permanent restraining order hearings and I could guess, before closing statements, that no order would issue. In August, last year, the court refused to grant the request. The case was over. Bauer filed a federal lawsuit against his accuser.
Another woman added her voice to the chorus and said she suffered similar, unsanitary sex in Ohio while Bauer was pitching for Reds. That claim went the same direction as last year’s claim, inasmuch as she dropped it. Bauer threatened to sue her in defamation and he likely will with the suspension.
MLB continued to “investigate” and extend Bauer’s leave. MLB doesn’t have evidence to support any of the claims beyond those made public.
Again, if there are just the two public claims of rough sex, principally based on “he said, she said” testimony, Bauer is getting railroaded.
My guess is, Rob Manfred’s ruling has little to do with provable facts and more to do with optics, and bending a knee to the cultural left and the “believe all women” crowd. At present, all we know is that two women claimed they were “hurt” during rough sex. Trevor Bauer claims that none of this was unconsensual. What Manfred seems to have done is discount and disbelieve all of Bauer’s testimony/evidence and believe, without dispute, that both women told the absolute truth. And for Manfred, his calculus could have been as simplistic and unnuanced as “two against one.”
Manfred seems to have little chance of claiming otherwise. That, or Manfred knows that his ruling has little hope of surviving the appeal process and took the coward’s path by making a ruling that would please the “believe all women” side. When Bauer appeals and he will–and in my opinion he will prevail– Manfred can still claim hero status for the left, and offer “I tried.” He can hold his head up high at the tony New York cocktail parties.
I find this ruling disturbing. For me, as a defense lawyer this ruling does not make sense. What is known at this point is incredibly weak and loaded with evidence that screams “payday.” And it should disturb anyone, man or woman, that MLB has accepted that because a woman makes an accusation, a man needs to disprove the accusation. That’s not how the system is supposed to work. That kangaroo court-style of justice is happening on campuses, and it’s contrary to the bedrock of jurisprudence. Rob Manfred seems not to have believed that innocence is a defense.
I don’t have to “like” Trevor Bauer. What he’s into is creepy, and I would avoid him on a personal level like the plague. Justice is meant to be blind. We need not “like” people when we ask for equal justice. Unvirtuous men deserve the same justice that loathsome men get.
One thing is certain in this instance: justice has not been served.