The Mike Clevinger-Trevor Bauer battle that the Indians, Reds almost got to see
The baseball world almost got a heavyweight pitching bout amongst two former teammates and friends that would have blended the best elements of social media and one of the changes to today's game in the COVID-19 world — in addition to just being a great matchup — but the universe simply wouldn't allow it.
For a brief time, Mike Clevinger and Trevor Bauer were lined up to face one another on the mound. This Wednesday would have been Fight Night at Progressive Field. The trash talk had already started, and it very likely would have continued the entire night, with one dugout easily being able to hear the other.
It started on Twitter. A tweet from Zack Meisel of The Athletic stating that Clevinger and Bauer would line up with one another became the social media battle ground. Bauer struck first, tweeting: "Other ways to word this tweet: The way things currently line up... 1) Apprentice vs. Master 2) Son vs. Father 3 [sic] Child vs. Goat." Clevinger replied with a haymaker, tweeting the same beginning but adding, "1) Sunshine vs. Kid who ruined WS with drone 2) Sunshine vs. Guy with a career 4.00 era 3) Sunshine vs. Guy who threw ball over center field wall during meltdown."
Of course, the two being friends, they were having fun with one another and continued with a few jabs on Twitter. Clevinger was asked on Thursday if he was really going to let Bauer have the last word.
"I was going to leave the toe tag on him, you know?" Clevinger said on a Zoom call, laughing. "I was already sitting there, already watching him come back for more because he knew he got body bagged right there. But no, I got one in my drafts right now saved up for him. I'm just letting this one soak in a little more."
But Thursday night, the Reds were rained out, which pushed everyone in their rotation back a day. On Friday, with the matchup no longer going to happen next week, Bauer responded that it was in Clevinger's own best interest.
"I'm happy for Clevinger," Bauer told MLB Network. "Gotta be a good thing for him. Everyone likes to feel confident and have a good start to their season. I didn't want to take that from him."
It would have been fun, something everyone could use a little more of right now. Everything had aligned. Everything had been balanced perfectly to allow it to happen.
Until it was knocked off its center. Because that's just how things seem to go in 2020.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more about the Indians at www.beaconjournal.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.