Legendary Major League Baseball reliever Goose Gossage is joining the chorus of people who believe bat flips and analytics are evil and have no place in the sport.
Speaking to ESPN.com's Andrew Marchand, Gossage singled out Toronto Blue Jays star Jose Bautista as being bad for baseball: "Bautista is a f--king disgrace to the game. He's embarrassing to all the Latin players, whoever played before him. Throwing his bat and acting like a fool, like all those guys in Toronto. [Yoenis] Cespedes, same thing."
Bautista became an Internet sensation in October when he flipped his bat after blasting a three-run homer in Game 5 of the American League Division Series against Texas. It was an expression of his excitement at putting his team ahead in a win-or-go-home game, but Gossage evidently thinks he was showing up his opponents.
Bautista took to Twitter to offer what seemed to be a response to Gossage:
Jose Bautista @JoeyBats19
"If you ain't got no haters you ain't poppin'..." Rico Richie3/11/2016, 12:25:48 AM
Gossage's vitriol wasn't used all on Bautista. The Hall of Famer took aim at advanced analytics and most of the people who run MLB teams:
The game is becoming a freaking joke because of the nerds who are running it. I'll tell you what has happened, these guys played rotisserie baseball at Harvard or wherever the f--- they went and they thought they figured the f---ing game out. They don't know s---.
A bunch of f---ing nerds running the game. You can't slide into second base. You can't take out the f---ing catcher because [Buster] Posey was in the wrong position and they are going to change all the rules. You can't pitch inside anymore. I'd like to knock some of these f---ers on their ass and see how they would do against pitchers in the old days.
Let's ignore for a minute that pitchers today are throwing harder than they ever have to focus on another part of Gossage's discussion. When did having more information about players become a bad thing?
That's what advanced analytics and sabermetrics really is, just a way of evaluating talent. Andrelton Simmons can't hit, yet he's a star in 2016 because everyone can see his defensive metrics at shortstop over the last three years blow every other player at the position out of the water.
The one good and fair point Gossage made in between looking like Grandpa Simpson yelling at a cloud is calling Milwaukee fans out for giving Ryan Braun a standing ovation: "Ryan Braun is a f--king steroid user. He gets a standing ovation on Opening Day in Milwaukee. How do you explain that to your kid after throwing people under the bus and lying through his f--king teeth? They don't have anyone passing the f--king torch to these people."
It's ironic that Gossage's comments came out on the same day Tim Keown of ESPN The Magazine published an article in which Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper talked about wanting more personality in the game:
You can't do what people in other sports do. I'm not saying baseball is, you know, boring or anything like that, but it's the excitement of the young guys who are coming into the game now who have flair. If that's Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom or Manny Machado or Joc Pederson or Andrew McCutchen or Yasiel Puig—there's so many guys in the game now who are so much fun.
There's always going to be a divide, for whatever reason, between players from previous generations and today's athletes. Even a megastar from a different sport, like Stephen Curry, faces criticism from Oscar Robertson because the game is played differently today than it was decades ago.
Gossage is certainly allowed to have his own opinions, but there doesn't have to be this constant bickering about how baseball is played and run now because teams know and understand more things today than they did when he was playing.