DRONING ON ABOUT CHEATING

Barry Laminack: Nothing like a good Twitter spat. Thanks, 'Tyler' Bauer

Alex Bregman did not shy away from a Twitter battle. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Oh I do love a good Twitter spat.

And that's exactly what fans were tweeted too earlier this week when Trevor Bauer came out and in so many words accused the Astros of cheating.

It all started with this tweet from @Blaze4551:

"Are Astros doctoring baseball or throwing spit balls.  look at spin rates of verlander, cole and morton, inreased dramatically pitching in Astros uniform. they probably using a substance or like chewing gum like morton did like post season"

And this reply to the above tweet from @drivelinebases:

"Chewing gum? Also spit balls would reduce spin theoretically. Anyway, what a weird coincidence you have discovered. 🤔"

To which Bauer replied with a bunch of "hmmmm" emojis, followed by the following statement:

"If only there was just a really quick way to increase spin rate. Like what if you could trade for a player knowing that you could bump his spin rate a couple hundred rpm overnight...imagine the steals you could get on the trade market! If only that existed…"

It didnt take long for Lance McCullers Jr. to respond with a tweet of his own, directed at Bauer:

"Jealousy isn't a good look on you my man. You have great stuff and have worked hard for it, like the rest of us, no need for this. I will ask though because my spin rate and spin axis on my 4 seem is a$$."

Bauer replied to McCullers tweet by back peddling a bit:

"I never said Astros are cheating. My only claim is that using sticky stuff on your hand increases the rpm on fastballs. Which is blatantly true."

And then out of nowhere, here comes Alex Bregman kicking the ant pile:

"Relax Tyler ... those World Series balls spin a little different.... 😭"

Uhhh, Alex...

At this point it kind of fell apart, but not before Bauer changed his twitter name to Trevor "Tyler" Bauer.

Well played, sir.

Later on, Bauer came out with a lengthy statement, where, in so many words, he stated that he'd be fine if baseball let pitchers use pine tar, he just wants them to be consistent.

"So, pick a substance that's sticky, that gives you all the performance benefits and just put it on the back of the mound. That way if you want to use it you can. And everybody knows it's being used. And if you want to use other substances and skirt the rule, whatever. Have a certain amount of outlawed substances, vaseline or whatever. But if you want to use sticky stuff, it's right there on the mound. Put your fingers on it and throw."

At some point in all of this twitter nonsense, some idiot even used a picture of Josh Reddick and his glove, implying that HE was cheating.

Only that's stupid because Reddick doesn't pitch, as one fan pointed out by suggesting that the pine tar on his Reddicks glove is why he has a "... 0.00 era". HA!

And don't worry, Reddick saw the tweet and replied with this gem of his own:

https://twitter.com/RealJoshReddick/status/991378695096094721

God I love Twitter.

What this all boils down to is Bauer throwing shade on former UCLA teammate Gerrit Cole. Apparently they didn't get along in college and still don't to this day.

I'm really looking forward to May 18. That's when Bauer will take the hill for the Indians in Minute Maid Park. Too bad it will be Verlander's turn in the rotation, and not Cole's.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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