Bob Nightengale keeps trying to rehab Trevor Bauer

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Sometimes, there’s no choice but to cover a vile person in sports because they are doing something that can’t be ignored. Trevor Bauer is not that, but that didn’t stop Bob Nightengale from auditioning to get on his payroll, next to Rachel Luba, whatever it is she does other than be the occasional bullhorn.

Nightingale was only too happy to try to gloss over what got Bauer booted from Major League Baseball, and to advocate for Bauer’s completely meaningless run-out against Dodgers minor leaguers. Nightingale was seemingly eager to also point out that there were fans cheering on Bauer and that no one booed, forgetting that you can find 100 loons to support any cause. Hell, you can find 70 million to do so, as we’ve all learned from our last elections. The fact that there wasn’t anyone around to boo doesn’t mean the baseball world has forgiven Bauer. It’s that we were all pretty secure we’d banished him successfully to the land of wind and ghosts of baseball and that he would stay there. Also, who really can be bothered to go watch a backfield game involving no MLB players other than the kind of sickos who want to broadcast to the world that sexual assault isn’t a disqualifying factor?

Nightengale could have left it all alone, as everyone else seemingly has, but perhaps he can’t help picking scabs (with Bauer being an especially puss-filled one). He only mentions that Bauer was suspended for breaking MLB’s rules on domestic violence and sexual assault policy, without mentioning the horrible things Bauer has been accuse of by multiple women, which were at least believable enough for MLB to punt him from the league.

That wasn’t as important to Nightengale as to what Bauer hit on the radar gun or how some minor leaguers couldn’t hit him, as if there was some doubt about Bauer’s talent or this was some comeback story from injury or age. It’s yet another infuriating example of how issues in sports, much like the many others, are just assumed to have two sides. It started with the plague that is Skip Bayless yelling about something at someone like a regular tornado siren test, but slithers into this much darker realm. Just because Bauer was suspended and would like to pitch in MLB again does not mean someone needs to take up his case or that he has some right to do so.

Bauer lost the privilege of being a MLB player and everyone’s happier that way. There is no redemption arc here. And Nightengale doesn’t need to fashion one simply because he feels like it. Let Bauer occupy his nowhere world that he’s earned and we’ll all move on. But then again, Nightengale has always kind of existed in his own nowhere world of idiocy. Perhaps that’s why he’s drawn to Bauer in the first place.

USWNT bounces back

The USWNT found its groove to win the W Gold Cup, at least sort of. After having to slosh their way through the semifinals against Canada in some alien form of tug-o-war, they did get to play an actual soccer game on Sunday in the final against Brazil, which they won, 1-0.

Did they play free-flowing, artsy soccer? Well, no, not really, but as we said when they lost to Mexico, most of the team is still in NWSL preseason and is way short of sharpness. It’s hardly a surprise that the players who looked best were Lindsey Horan or Korbin Albert, who are in the middle of their European seasons.

That doesn’t mean there weren’t some positives. The USWNT rocked out a 4-4-2 diamond formation in the final, which they hadn’t really showed off before. Sam Coffey and Albert were wrecking balls in midfield, providing the kind of bite at the base that the team really hasn’t had in some time. In fact, Coffey’s instincts and mettle led to the only goal of the game:

While Brazil probably wove the better moves together, they didn’t manage a shot on target in the first half thanks to the iron curtain of Naomi Girma and Tierna Davidson. The US looked lively on the counter after causing turnovers in midfield, which is most likely how they’re still going to play even when Emma Hayes shows up this summer.

The win doesn’t completely erase the defeat to Mexico, but mostly does, and if there’s a benefit it’s that the team will know it can be vulnerable to any opponent and can’t take too many nights off. There was a lot of experimentation with both personnel and tactics, probably to give Hayes a lot of video to go over as well as balance the varying fitness levels of those in the squad. We saw three-back and four-back systems with wingers and no wingers. Hayes will certainly have samples on whatever system she wants to employ.

Coffey grew into the tournament after a forgettable performance against Mexico, and she’s still the best option at the base of midfield both against the ball and resisting a press with it and launching direct attacks. Albert announced her presence as well. All in all, pretty useful.

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