Trevor Bauer is brutally honest. Sometimes just brutal.

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Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated has an in-depth story about Indians starter Trevor Bauer and, boy howdy, is it worth a read.

The big picture: Bauer is not the most impressive physical specimen to ever grace the diamond, but he has worked his tail off to become one of the best pitchers in baseball. A lot of that has to do with his work at Driveline Baseball in Seattle, which Bauer routinely features on his social media feeds. The stuff in at the beginning and the end of the article about how he’s working on a new changeup is some of the weirdest and most enlightening stuff about a pitcher’s offseason I’ve read in a good while.

A lot of that is his mental approach which is . . . not much like that of other players we’ve known.

Bauer rubs people the wrong way pretty constantly. He can be arrogant as hell. He does not deal well with authority. His social media behavior at times is troubling, bordering on toxic. He does not apologize for it. He, and others who know him, cite his brutal honesty, but like a lot of people who pride themselves on their brutal honesty, they discount the “brutal” part of it. And the honesty, it seems, is limited to his assessments of others and is not robustly demonstrated in his self-assessments. Sure, he’ll admit he’s a slow runner or that the pitch he just threw was bad, but he’ll gloss over more personal shortcomings, just like a lot of self-proclaimed truth-tellers do. It’s an act that grows tiresome the more you get to know about the guy.

Many of his teammates seem to think so:

Bauer has a reputation as a troublesome teammate. Some members of his organization have griped that the clubhouse consists of “24 plus Trevor,” and, says one player, “I think Trevor cares about Trevor a lot.” Of course he does, Bauer says. “In what world is me being a Cy Young winner bad for the team?” he asks. “The better I am, the better the team is, so you should want me to be selfish about how good I am.”

Which is fine as long as you’re striking out 11 guys per nine innings, but it’s not going to get him a lot of extra chances if and when his stuff begins to fade. At least he seems to know that. One does not get the sense that, if he is later given a shorter leash than other players, he’ll complain about being treated unfairly. Oh, he’ll complain, but it’ll be more about how people don’t put up with is admittedly abrasive behavior than claim he is not, in fact, abrasive. A subtle distinction maybe, but a distinction nonetheless.

Not that there isn’t a place for some sympathy for Bauer here. It’s always risky and inadvisable to engage in armchair psychology, but Reiter reports that Bauer was bullied and shunned as a kid and his unconventional training techniques — not his abrasiveness — has led to high school, college and professional teammates giving him holy Hell. it’s hard to resist the urge to think that his personality and behavior now was shaped by that at least to some degree. Bauer was always different, always an outcast, and that has to make feeling comfortably in the clubby, tribal and conformity-rife community that is baseball all the harder. It seems to have caused him to form some emotional armor that continues to shape the person he is today:

One morning, during his junior year at Hart, Bauer returned home from an early pool workout, took a shower and looked at himself in the mirror, feeling sorry for himself as usual. Then something flipped. “I don’t see anything that I dislike,” he told himself. “I’m going to go off to college and play baseball. I’m successful. I’m smart. I like myself.” From that day forward, he says, “I just stopped giving a f— what people thought of me. And now I just don’t care.”

There’s also, at least to me, the sense that Bauer is simply wired differently than most people. I’m not saying it’s an excuse for his attitude and behavior — and again, I don’t wish to engage in armchair psychology — but the more one observes him, the more one begins to think that he simply doesn’t appreciate that being, well, the way he is, can be a bad thing. There are lots of way to characterize such an attitude, obviously. Some are more charitable than others. Some have different causes than others.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this, which again, points for honesty I suppose?

When Bauer meets a potential romantic partner, he outlines for her the parameters of any possible relationship on their very first date. “I have three rules,” he says. “One: no feelings. As soon as I sense you’re developing feelings, I’m going to cut it off, because I’m not interested in a relationship and I’m emotionally unavailable. Two: no social media posts about me while we’re together, because private life stays private. Three: I sleep with other people. I’m going to continue to sleep with other people. If you’re not O.K. with that, we won’t sleep together, and that’s perfectly fine. We can just be perfectly polite platonic friends.”

Line forms on the right, ladies.

I highly recommend Reiter’s story. Check it out.

Gaylord Perry, two-time Cy Young winner, dies at 84

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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GAFFNEY, S.C. — Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time Cy Young Award winner Gaylord Perry, a master of the spitball and telling stories about the pitch, died at 84.

Perry died at his home in Gaffney, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said. He did not provide additional details. A statement from the Perry family said he “passed away peacefully at his home after a short illness.”

The native of Williamston, North Carolina, made history as the first player to win the Cy Young in both leagues, with Cleveland in 1972 after a 24-16 season and with San Diego in 1978 – going 21-6 for his fifth and final 20-win season just after turning 40.

“Before I won my second Cy Young, I thought I was too old – I didn’t think the writers would vote for me,” Perry said in an article on the National Baseball Hall of Fame website. “But they voted on my performance, so I won it.”

“Gaylord Perry was a consistent workhorse and a memorable figure in his Hall of Fame career,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement, adding, “he will be remembered among the most accomplished San Francisco Giants ever … and remained a popular teammate and friend throughout his life.”

Perry was drafted by the San Francisco Giants and spent 10 seasons among legendary teammates like Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who said Thursday that Perry “was a good man, a good ballplayer and my good friend. So long old Pal.”

Juan Marichal remembered Perry as “smart, funny, and kind to everyone in the clubhouse. When he talked, you listened.”

“During our 10 seasons together in the San Francisco Giants rotation, we combined to record 369 complete games, more than any pair of teammates in the Major Leagues,” Marichal said. “I will always remember Gaylord for his love and devotion to the game of baseball, his family, and his farm.”

Perry, who pitched for eight major-league teams from 1962 until 1983, was a five-time All-Star who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. He had a career record of 314-255, finished with 3,554 strikeouts and used a pitching style where he doctored baseballs or made batters believe he was doctoring them.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame said in a statement that Perry was “one of the greatest pitchers of his generation.” The Texas Rangers, whom Perry played for twice, said in a statement that the pitcher was “a fierce competitor every time he took the ball and more often than not gave the Rangers an opportunity to win the game.”

“The Rangers express their sincere condolences to Gaylord’s family at this difficult time,” the team’s statement said. “This baseball great will be missed.”

Perry’s 1974 autobiography was titled “Me and the Spitter,” and he wrote it in that when he started in 1962 he was the “11th man on an 11-man pitching staff” for the Giants. He needed an edge and learned the spitball from San Francisco teammate Bob Shaw.

Perry said he first threw it in May 1964 against the New York Mets, pitched 10 innings without giving up a run and soon after entered the Giants’ starting rotation.

He also wrote in the book that he chewed slippery elm bark to build up his saliva, and eventually stopped throwing the pitch in 1968 after MLB ruled pitchers could no longer touch their fingers to their mouths before touching the baseball.

According to his book, he looked for other substances, like petroleum jelly, to doctor the baseball. He used various motions and routines to touch different parts of his jersey and body to get hitters thinking he was applying a foreign substance.

Giants teammate Orlando Cepeda said Perry had “a great sense of humor … a great personality and was my baseball brother.”

“In all my years in baseball, I never saw a right-handed hurler have such a presence on the field and in the clubhouse,” Cepeda added.

Seattle Mariners Chairman John Stanton said in a release that he spoke with Perry during his last visit to Seattle, saying Perry was, “delightful and still passionate in his opinions on the game, and especially on pitching.

Perry was ejected from a game just once for doctoring a baseball – when he was with Seattle in August 1982. In his final season with Kansas City, Perry and teammate Leon Roberts tried to hide George Brett’s infamous pine-tar bat in the clubhouse but was stopped by a guard. Perry was ejected for his role in that game, too.

After his career, Perry founded the baseball program at Limestone College in Gaffney and was its coach for the first three years.

Perry is survived by wife Deborah, and three of his four children in Allison, Amy and Beth. Perry’s son Jack had previously died.

Deborah Perry said in a statement to The AP that Gaylord Perry was “an esteemed public figure who inspired millions of fans and was a devoted husband, father, friend and mentor who changed the lives of countless people with his grace, patience and spirit.”

The Hall of Fame’s statement noted that Perry often returned for induction weekend “to be with his friends and fans.”

“We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Deborah, and the entire Perry family,” Baseball Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark said.