Fortuitous timing, this, coming just hours after Bryce Harper said baseball needs to allow its players to show they’re having fun, and just about the entire world agreed with him, and it started to feel like this whole pro-celebration movement has become so obviously dominant that it’s all in opposition to a straw man. Well, that straw man is real, and he’s got a horseshoe mustache, a filthy mouth, and a deep, abiding disdain for nerds.
“Bautista is a fucking 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. [Yoenis] Cespedes, same thing.”
Hey, that’s a shitty move! An old white guy lecturing two Latin players (from two entirely different countries) about how they have a responsibility to represent an entire culture. So, eat shit, Goose—let’s just get that part out of the way.
But then Gossage launches into a tirade about computers, and steroids, and other things kids today are into, and the whole thing is just so over-the-top—I feel like we’re skirting Poe’s Law here—that it’s really hard to get too mad at him. Like, you wouldn’t get outraged at the old man who sits on his porch yelling at bluebirds for spreading chemtrails, would you?
“I’ll tell you what has happened, these guys played Rotisserie baseball at Harvard or wherever the fuck they went and they thought they figured the fucking game out. They don’t know shit.
“A bunch of fucking nerds running the game. You can’t slide into second base. You can’t take out the fucking 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 fuckers on their ass and see how they would do against pitchers in the old days.”
“Ryan Braun is a fucking 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 fucking teeth? They don’t have anyone passing the fucking torch to these people.”
He goes on like this for a while—the phrase “mother’s basement” goes sadly uninvoked—but you get the idea. Old athlete declares things were better in his day, today’s kids couldn’t hang, repeat ad nauseam. There’s questionable value in this stuff, other than as fodder for the insatiable content assembly line, and for the indisputable entertainment value of the hypocrisy—Gossage, after all, hurt his team by missing months with a torn thumb ligament after exchanging punches with Yankees teammate Cliff Johnson in the shower.
Honestly, I think the story here is a matter of degree rather than of kind. This rant was exquisite. Gossage—relatively unprompted, it appears—tore into every cranky old fart’s three favorite baseball bugbears, and did it so coarsely and so simplistically that you couldn’t have composed a better parody. This is art. I’m not even mad, I’m impressed.