A satirical tweet about Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer left both ESPN and MLB Network red-faced after the All-Star called them out for presenting the joke as a serious report.
Bauer hit the disabled list on Tuesday with a stress fracture in his right fibula, an injury expected to keep him out until at least mid-September. Michael Baumann, a baseball writer for The Ringer and fairly prolific tweeter, posted a joke Friday afternoon that Bauer believed his rehab would be much short thanks to a different course of treatment.
That treatment? A series of blood transfusions and colloidal silver supplements to … flush out CIA nanites from his body. It was a joke meant to echo past controversial statements from Bauer, but it was still tremendously obvious that Baumann was not being serious.
It was not obvious to MLB Network, who ran with the report on their recap show Quick Pitch and posted the tweet in full, saying they were “additional comments from Bauer.” The surreal scene was captured by Deadspin.
MLB Network later aired a clarification on Saturday that it had made a mistake in reporting on Baumann’s tweet and provided the correct information about Bauer’s rehab.
That episode was bad enough, but then ESPN apparently also jumped into the fray. Bauer called out the network on Saturday for taking the tweet seriously and posted the news on its Bottom Line.
According to Bauer, news of the “reports” reached him when a Cleveland teammate approached him and asked where he was getting his blood transfusions. In what must have been a scene comparable to a post-modern Abbot & Costello, it reportedly took the players five minutes to figure out what they were talking about.
Bauer demanded public statements from both networks a few hours later, calling the reports “damaging and absurd.”
Baumann also seemed rightfully displeased that ESPN and MLB Network put his name on a clearly fake report.
That an incident like this involves Bauer isn’t a total surprise, as Bauer has always carried an unusual online presence and a hostile relationship with parts of the media, which are two key ingredients in the recipe that led to this bizarre situation.
Bauer has claimed he only signs one-year deals because a multi-year deal would result in him getting shot in the groin with a paintball gun because of a bet, he loves drones to the point that has missed a playoffs start after cutting his finger on one and he has publicly accused the Astros of doctoring baseballs.
He also once sent out 135 tweets defending a tweet he posted accusing the media of liberal bias. This most recent incident probably isn’t going to help the pitcher’s trust in the media.
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