The Cleveland Indians aren’t going to the American League Championship Series because of themselves, right?
They lost because Corey Kluber couldn’t control his fastball, because Francisco Lindor went cold and Jose Ramirez went colder, because they were anaemic from the Designated Hitter spot after Edwin Encarnacion went down with an ankle injury in Game 2. Maybe they lost because they lost last year in the World Series, and memories of losing dramatically can resurface at dramatic times.
They definitely lost, in part, because Trevor Bauer couldn’t get through two complete innings of Game 4. Bauer gave Aaron Judge his only significant moment as a hitter in the series, a two-run double to left field that scored Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks, part of a four-run second inning. None of those runs would have happened had Giovanny Urshela not let a Starlin Castro grounder whack into his shin. The Indians definitely aren’t going to the ALCS, in part, because of a regulation fielding error.
And, maybe, they aren’t getting to play the power-hitting Astros because of Donald Trump?
Some explanation. During that Game 4 where he was yanked so early on, Deadspin noticed that Bauer might not have had his eyes completely on the game. Bauer started blocking people, the website reported—including the author of the piece, Barry Petchesky. Bauer was apparently irked—in the middle of the most important baseball game of his season—because people kept retweeting some of his old pro-Donald-Trump posts.
Oh yes—Bauer is a supporter of the president. A tweetstorm from February of this year was memorable for Bauer claiming that “almost all” of his Indians teammates support Trump. Another tweet from the same day apparently invited a user to kill himself. Bauer’s meltdown was chronicled in this Uproxx piece. It’s something, alright.
Bauer apparently started blocking after he was pulled from the game. The Indians lost because he pitched badly, not because he likes Trump. They lost because Kluber couldn’t give them two games on a par with his regular-season form. Twitter blockathons are a tiny symptom of the malaise that froze the Indians this week, not the cause. But they probably didn’t help, either.