Surely the masterminds behind the “Reddit Rally” did not have Trevor Bauer on their brains when they put their plan into action.
Yet in the wake of the financial hand grenade that these folks tossed onto Wall Street this week, you can’t help but wonder whether the controversial free-agent pitcher will get hit by the shrapnel.
Not because of any money that Steve Cohen lost. Rather, because of the empathy he might have gained.
The Mets’ new owner announced on Saturday that he would “take a break” from Twitter after the non-Mets events of the past week “led to our family getting personal threats” on the social-media website. Therefore Cohen shares a trait with some people who have found themselves on the wrong end of a Twitter battle with Bauer, courtesy of his followers.
Will this development give Cohen further pause over committing $100 million-plus to someone who has contributed to Twitter’s toxic culture?
The GameStop saga stands out as an incredible story, accessible even to liberal-arts types (like me) who normally don’t pay much mind to the stock market. It feels like a revenge fantasy for the non-1-percenters. Cohen deserves no one’s pity for the losses he sustained, and he mixed the chocolate of his hedge-fund life into the peanut butter of his Mets life on Tuesday night when, utilizing the same account he had turned into his perch for “Uncle Steve” to interact with delighted Mets fans, he tweeted, “Rough crowd on Twitter tonight. Hey stock jockeys keep bringing it.”
Nevertheless, none of Cohen’s words or acts should translate into threats, especially against his family. How deplorable.
How predictable, too, unfortunately. Twitter can be quite the cesspool, even after the purge of many involved with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol building, and everyone who hangs out there must be mindful of its low floor as well as its high ceiling.
Re-enter Bauer, whom the Mets are engaging — in mid-January, they extended him an offer that’s believed to be for four years at over $30 million per season, with opt-outs — while simultaneously investigating his past social-media activity and contemplating the impact of bringing him aboard.
Last week, after a pair of his Twitter skirmishes came to greater light, Bauer released a pair of statements vowing to be more aware of his tweets’ impact and disavowing any nastiness or threats that others tweet on his behalf. His Twitter activity will be a major point of interest for the club that signs him, and you’d hope that, moving forward, he’ll be far more careful not only with his own written words, but also by monitoring what folks send out in defense of him.
The Mets stand out as a unique entity in the Bauer sweepstakes because of their unique baggage. Cohen took over the club with discrimination litigation hanging over his firm Point72 Asset Management, and on Jan. 19, the Mets dismissed Jared Porter, their general manager of only a month and change, following an ESPN report that detailed Porter’s repeated, unsolicited, lewd text messages to a female reporter in 2016. They arguably possess less room for error, a greater need to display sensitivity, than any other suitors for Bauer.
In the statement he released on Saturday morning that explained his Twitter leave of absence, Cohen wrote, “Bottom line is that this week’s events in no way affect our resources and drive to put a championship team on the field. #LGM!” That should reassure the Mets fans who, experiencing Bernie Madoff/Fred Wilpon flashbacks, fretted Cohen’s wallet wounds would hinder the Mets’ efforts to become a top-tier franchise.
Will this week’s events affect Cohen’s outlook toward who he wants to pay, though? To represent his Mets? Like the Porter fiasco, GameStopGate is a situation that carries no tangible connection to Bauer. And, like with Porter, it can easily be connected spiritually to Bauer, and not in the way a free agent desires.