Out the front windshield loomed a fog of uncertainty. When asked about his offseason schedule, the man with a detailed itinerary for seemingly every life choice was left searching for answers, void of internal clarity.
"Try to figure out how to enjoy life," Bauer answered, when asked of his offseason plans.
If he knew what he enjoyed, Bauer says he'd do it more often. For now, though, the solution isn't yet clear. It might not even be baseball. Bauer told cleveland.com in July that he "enjoyed baseball more as a kid, when it was just fun." But he's had this feeling before. In his high school years, Bauer entered his offseasons with the same sense of indecisiveness.
"I know the feeling," Bauer said. "I have to figure out a better way to handle it."
The 24-year-old has subscribed to a regimented routine in offseasons of years past. Trips to progressive training facilities such as the Texas Baseball Ranch and Driveline Baseball punctuated active winter months in which Bauer searched to find any way to improve his game. This year's search is still in flux.
"I'll obviously still be doing training and stuff, but how much and when and where and all of that stuff, I haven't really decided yet," Bauer said.
For Bauer, baseball is an experiment in engineering, akin to the quadcopter drones he enjoys building in his spare time. This season, Bauer's drone came crashing to the ground, left in bits and pieces at year's end. The copter needs repairs, but the necessary pieces aren't at Bauer's disposal, and he isn't quite sure where to find them.
When Bauer packs up his things after the conclusion of Sunday's season finale and heads home for the offseason, so begins the search for those missing parts, to repair what's broken and to capture that elusive joy.
"It's kind of a weird thing," Bauer said. "I'd like to give an answer on what I'm going to do. I just don't know what I'm going to do yet. I'll figure it out at some point."