MLB All-Star, drone enthusiast, Twitter troll, Astros whistle blower—Trevor Bauer is as multifaceted and complex a figure as you’ll find in baseball. But above all, the Reds right-hander is a man of his word, delivering on his promise to host a charity pick-up game to benefit out-of-work game-day staffers during the league’s current hiatus. Commissioner Rob Manfred announced an indefinite shutdown Thursday amid fears of the rapidly-spreading coronavirus, a dangerous pandemic that has claimed over 6,000 lives globally with 60 of those deaths occurring on American soil.
Reds reliever David Carpenter first floated the idea of a charity “sandlot” game shortly after Manfred announced MLB would be closing operations for the foreseeable future, falling in line with other mainstream leagues that decided to close shop including the NCAA, NBA and NHL. Never one to back down from a challenge, the ambitious Bauer was happy to oblige, organizing the event in record time with all proceeds going to employees affected by the league’s shutdown.
A slew of big-leaguers took to the diamond for Saturday’s wiffle ball game in Arizona with Bauer’s former Indians teammates Mike Clevinger and Oscar Mercado among the more prominent names in attendance. Both appeared to be in good health with Mercado even showing off his power stroke by launching a home run. Clevinger has spent most of the spring recovering from offseason knee surgery while Mercado had been shelved with a sprained wrist.
Though fans and media were not permitted as a safety measure, the event was livestreamed on Momentum, a media venture part-owned by Bauer (the pitcher’s talk-show series, Bauer Bytes, appears on the site’s YouTube page). In addition to hosting Saturday’s festivities, Bauer has also started a GoFundMe campaign online to benefit game-day staff across baseball. So far over 280 donors have contributed to the cause with a target goal of $1 million. Bauer is the latest MLB star to lend a helping hand with Alex Bregman and George Springer of the Astros both pledging $100,000 to employees at Minute Maid Park. Athletes in other sports have also stepped up to cover costs including the NBA’s Kevin Love, Zion Williamson, Rudy Gobert and Stephen Curry, who, along with his wife Ayesha, is donating $1 million to help feed students affected by school closures in Oakland.
The coronavirus doesn’t seem to be letting up—the illness has expanded its reach to 160,000 worldwide with more than 3,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. But at least Bauer and others are pitching in to help ease the financial burden in this time of crisis.