Bieber, Bauer have some fun in battle of Cy's

March 27th, 2021

was preparing for his final tuneup of the spring on Saturday when a Twitter notification popped up on his phone from .

“I was awaiting a text,” Bieber said. “Sure enough, I knew he wasn’t gonna stay quiet for too long, so I had that tweet, that mention, pop up on my screen, and so we had a little bit of fun back and forth.”

The two former teammates and good friends squared off against each other for the first time since Bauer was dealt at the 2019 Trade Deadline in the Indians’ 9-2 victory over the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. Not only were they both on the rubber, but Bauer stepped into the batter’s box for the first time this spring to face the Tribe’s ace.

“He was trying to bait me into telling him what pitches I was gonna throw,” Bieber said. “I’ll leave that to him.”

"I stepped into the box and I got him to look at me and had him tell me what was coming,” Bauer said. “He laughed, so I knew I was getting a fastball first pitch. It was my first swing of spring, so I feel like I hit the ball pretty well, 98 mph off the bat. Terrible launch angle. Gotta work on that.”

Bauer swung at the first pitch he saw -- a fastball -- and for a moment, thought it was going to be a single up the middle. But the ball was fielded by shortstop Andrés Giménez, and Bauer was retired.

“When I hit it, there was nobody there and I was like, ‘Oh, that might be a hit. I’m going to talk so much crap if that’s a hit,’” Bauer said. “But then there was somebody there. I’m not used to how quickly infielders move from the batter’s box perspective, but it was fun.”

“I saw the whole 90-minute 'Watch Momentum' documentary flash before my eyes just in case that ball squeaked through,” Bieber joked. “So I think I owe [Giménez] some dinner.”

As Bauer ran back to the Dodgers’ dugout down the first-base line, he wandered over towards Bieber’s territory in the middle of the diamond, and the two were caught on camera smiling and laughing.

“I just told him to stay away from my mound,” Bieber said, with a grin. “Make sure he didn’t run over it.”

Bauer’s fun didn’t stop with Bieber. He also tweeted at the Indians’ official Twitter account, asking if was in the Tribe’s lineup. To Bauer’s delight, Ramírez was hitting third on Saturday.

In the first at-bat, Bauer continuously told Ramírez what pitch was coming. Bauer kept throwing up in the zone. Ramírez kept fouling them off. The 11-pitch first-inning at-bat ended with Ramírez walking and signaling Bauer to throw a pitch in the zone.

Ramírez got his wish in the third at-bat, but it was Bauer that came out on top. After another lengthy at-bat, Bauer told Ramírez a fastball was coming. The pitch sat over the heart of the plate, but Ramírez, who struck out just 43 times in 58 games last season, swung right through it for strike three. (For good measure, Bauer pitched with one eye closed, as he's done in the past.)

“I would’ve liked to see something taken to dead center 450 [by Ramírez],” Bieber said, with a laugh. “But that was fun.”

Bauer celebrated by flashing a big smile and showing off a “Rocky” pose that would make Sylvester Stallone proud. And then of course, he let Ramírez know about it on Twitter.

“I haven’t seen that one yet,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, when asked about Bauer’s Rocky pose. “I have a feeling that there’s going to be some other things that I haven’t seen before that I’ll probably see this year. But at the end of the day, he was having fun out there.”