August 2, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Trevor Bauer’s Dodgers signing hype video is so him

Of course the news didn’t come in a short, formulaic news release. Trevor Bauer was never going to make his announcement of joining the Dodgers that simple.

All winter, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner had been dropping hints regarding his free agency. He asked fan bases to pitch their teams to him on Twitter. He posted updates on his process to his YouTube account. He gave hints as to which teams were in serious contention but stopped short of divulging specifics on his negotiations.

It coalesced into a social media scavenger hunt in the hours before his Friday afternoon announcement. Self-appointed internet detectives circulated supposed clues pulled from his personal website, like a link containing an apparent New York Mets acronym and giveaways for signed Mets, Angels and Dodgers memorabilia. Fans of the Dodgers and Mets latched onto a Thursday tweet from his agent, Rachel Luba, that said his decision was “down to 2” teams.

Up until the last minute, the baseball world was kept guessing.

Bauer’s method of finally ending the suspense Friday: A 2½-minute YouTube video titled “MY NEW HOME!!!” that confirmed media reports he would be joining the Dodgers by closing on a shot of him wearing the team’s home white uniform.

“Come April, what matters is this team,” Bauer says at the end video, in which his narration overlays clips from his Southern California childhood and nine-year MLB career. “This group of players, this group of fans and the name across our chests. This season is about making sure history remembers us as we wish to be remembered. This season is about adding to our legacy. And I can’t wait Dodger fans.”

Bauer didn’t delve into specifics in the video about why he picked the Dodgers over other suitors, including the apparent runner-up Mets, whose jersey he also tries on in the video. He didn’t personally disclose any details about the contract either, which is reportedly worth $102 million over three years with Bauer able to opt out after either of the first two.

But the long trail of breadcrumbs he’d been dropping all offseason finally became clear, especially a January YouTube video in which Bauer detailed some of his biggest free-agency considerations:

  • Building a “partnership” with a team that included open dialogue on topics such as advanced training methods (Bauer is notorious for improving through the use of weighted balls, high-speed cameras and motion-capture technology while training with Driveline Baseball), his desire to pitch every fourth day, and his personal branding and fan engagement efforts.
  • Playing for a legitimate World Series contender “that’s not just trying to make the postseason but trying to win the whole thing,” he said, adding: “I think that’s when I’m at my best, when all the marbles are on the line. The bigger the situation, the better I perform, the more I enjoy it.”
  • Earning a salary that allows him to be “fairly compensated for my value that I bring” and continue growing his baseball-related business endeavors such as a sports media company he co-founded called Momentum.

The big-spending, analytical-driven, defending-champion Dodgers checked those boxes as well as anyone — eventually leading the 30-year-old right-hander to Los Angeles in hopes of helping the franchise win a second consecutiveWorld Series title.