Baseball Hall of Famer Rich “Goose” Gossage went on an epic rant on the state of baseball this week.
It’s ironic with the ultimate nerd event going on now in Boston — the MIT Sloan Sports Sports Analytics Conference — that Gossage threw high heat at the baseball people who value analytics over scouting.
“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—.”
In an ESPN magazine story the Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper said: “Baseball is a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself. 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.”
Well the Goose is old school and does not like the antics of some players, especially Blue Jays slugger Jose Bat-Flip Bautista. “Bautista is a f—ing disgrace to the game,” Gossage told ESPN. “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.”
I agree with Gossage that baseball has handed over it’s soul to the stat nerds. It has taken a lot of the fun of out the game, especially for kids. When I was younger, the only stats that mattered were home runs, RBI’s batting average, wins and ERA. Now you have all these sabermetric alphabet soup stats that the average baseball fan has no idea what they mean.
Baseball has morphed into a boring calculus class instead of the game many of loved as a kid.
And with that in mind, Goose is wrong about players showing their emotion on the field. I like when a player flips his bat and struts after hitting a big home run. I like when the pitcher pumps his fist when he gets a big strike out. Football, basketball and hockey players get to show emotion on their fields of play. Why not baseball?
Don’t give me that baseball has the unwritten rules. That’s bullshit and should have gone the way of the Edsel. If baseball wants to recapture the young sports fans, they need to let their stars be themselves on the field.
Despite what Goose Gossage has to say.