In today’s roundtable the first two questions deal with two MLB people… an ex-player and a present-day player… who were very vocal and opinionated in the last week about Baseball and the people involved with Baseball… Goose Gossage and Bryce Harper. Interestingly enough they both touched upon the same topic but from very different perspectives and almost diametrically in opposition to one another in their perspectives.
Check out the crew’s thoughts on these two people and more… right here and now…
1) An ESPN media-person asked Hall of Famer Goose Gossage about the Yankees’ closer Aroldis Chapman and before you could say tell us how you really feel…
He went off on a rant that included, among many others, these words… “A bunch of fucking nerds running the game. You can’t slide into second base. You can’t take out the fucking catcher because 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.”
AND… “Bautista is a fucking 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. Cespedes, same thing.”
What’s your opinion on Gossage’s rant?
Archie: Just a little over the top in his language, but, spot on for us old timers as to the “traditions” and unspoken rules of the game. I absolutely HATE anyone putting their own status higher than the team or the game, no matter how talented they are, by bringing their “butt hurt” feelings into play and crying about they “can’t be themselves”. I ask you, “What the hell is being yourself got to do with NOT being a professional?” THIS my friends is the ultimate goal that all Professional Athletes should strive to achieve.
I don’t mind an occasional Fist Pump after a key strike out from a pitcher. I don’t mind an occasional bat flip from a batter. But, My God, don’t do it in a manner that directly “shows up” the opponent EVERY TIME you achieve it.
And, it also matters as to the “how” you do it as well. If a pitcher “fist pumps” he should be looking toward his dugout or the catcher, NOT the batter. And, in turn, when a batter smacks a dinger he should not be looking at the pitcher when he flips the bat. The “walking to first after a dinger”… not accepted; Run Forest Run. Crossing the pitcher’s mound after making an out while going back to your dugout; not accepted; go around. All the other little traditional “unwritten rules” of baseball is what makes the game so great. We have heard accusations of teams stealing signs and that is a NO-NO. Okay, only if you get caught, right?
Dan: I agree with some points on what Gossage had to say with regards to some of the rules & pitchers. While I understand the rules are for safety purposes, leave these rules alone. Breaking up double plays and barreling over the catcher is part of the game in my opinion. And, having pitch counts is a measure that was enacted because of these large contracts invested in pitchers. When a pitcher has thrown 100 pitches, he’s usually taken out, regardless, if he’s tired or not.
The points in which I disagree are how he has a problem with who’s in the front office. I have no problem with those people. They look at statistics. They look at more metrics than just scouts. Ex-players can have biases. If, you have someone with no biases, and, is, statistically, more intelligent with regards to numbers, etc, then it makes sense to have these “nerds” running baseball.
Another disagreement I have is how he doesn’t seem to want anybody to celebrate. Texas had a tantrum and acted completely childish after Bautista’s bat-flip in the post-season. There was nothing wrong with what he did. It’s post-season baseball, let the player have fun. He just hit a monster home run. He can celebrate. Just like Felix Hernandez can fist pump after striking someone out. Just like what Pedro Martinez used to do and many other pitchers have. I’m sure Gossage has celebrated before. Why such harsh comments? Completely unnecessary in my opinion.
Earl: It’s such an old man get off of my lawn kind of rant. I kind of hate that from ex-athletes who get all caught up in the “back in my day” rant. I mean, we all kind of hold nostalgia for our day, but, you got to move on. Your day is over. So to hear Goose ranting and cursing like some mad man got plenty of eye rolls from me. It’s like chill grandpa!
Also, that thing about Bautista is ridiculous. That man just hit the most important home run his franchise had in over 20 years when he flipped the bat. The last time the Jays, and Canada in general, had a moment like that was when Joe Carter crushed the World Series winner in 1993. So, yeah if you put that in context then you got to say Gossage is a damn fool.
And, while I accept that players today do tend to let out their emotions in a more demonstrative manner, I also don’t like a lot of the extreme bat flipping/tossing, standing at the plate and admiring your homer, and, taking a half an hour to circle the bases. Same goes for the pitchers… going crazy on the mound because you got a damn strikeout every damn time is way over the top. And, pointing at the batter like I’ve seen some do? Uhuh.
If, a player wants to give a shout, a fist pump I got no problem with that. A little bat flip… fine.
So, I understand where Gossage is coming form … to a point.
Like I said in my first sentence change is coming in Baseball and I can accept it. It doesn’t have to be over night but it will come whether we oldsters like it or not. Try and adapt and change along with it. What Gossage did was very insulting and very disrespectful. You got a point of view? Fine. But, to be downright disrespectful in how you present it? I got a problem with that.
Steve: He played in a different era, and, times have changed. In his day, safety was not really a big concern of the game, but with all of the concussions and serious injuries that players sustain during their career, and, even after their career is over, you have to play it safe.
As for the show boating? Who really cares? I mean if you have a problem with it, then don’t give up a home run.
MLB does have to look at safety first, so I honestly think that Gossage was out of line for saying that. I’m not saying he is wrong, but he shouldn’t have said it.
2) In another ESPN feature Bryce Harper called baseball a “tired sport” because players can’t express themselves without getting the third degree. Some excerpts from the ESPN feature were… “Baseball’s tired. It’s a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself. You can’t do what people in other sports do.”
And… “Jose Fernandez is a great example. Jose Fernandez will strike you out and stare you down into the dugout and pump his fist. And if you hit a homer and pimp it? He doesn’t care. Because you got him. That’s part of the game…. (and)… “If a guy pumps his fist at me on the mound, I’m going to go, ‘Yeah, you got me. Good for you. Hopefully I get you next time.’ That’s what makes the game fun. You want kids to play the game, right? What are kids playing these days? Football, basketball. Look at those players– Steph Curry, LeBron James. It’s exciting to see those players in those sports. Cam Newton… I love the way Cam goes about it. He smiles, he laughs. It’s that flair. The dramatic.”
What’s your opinion on Harper’s view of the game?
Archie: If, Bryce Harper finds the game tired and boring, then go find another line of work. I disagree whole heartedly that players can’t be themselves in today’s game. They are not the first to pump their fist or flip a bat, but, they are however the first to bitch about it IF someone else takes exception to it. I mean, IF you flip your bat and then get plunked on your next AB, you have several options, most of which will get you DQ’d and fined. Likewise, IF, you pump your fist and the batter charges you, you have several options as well. The bottom line however is this, NO matter which of the two you did or did not do; Own it. Accept the outcome. DON’T Bitch about the game. Bryce’s comments were not very outlandish by no means. However, don’t push the point to kids that “Hey kids, you can play baseball and be a dick all at the same time.” Find an outlet that does both, placates his ambitious attitude toward the self-sucking ice-cream cone and present a Professional mentorship philosophy towards those kids he is trying to encourage into the game.
Baseball has had its limelight players with huge endorsement contracts. However, all the Roid hype from some of their stars has tainted the waters for large industry to take a chance on anyone to be their poster hero. That is why Football and Basketball are drawing all the attention today.
Dan: He has a very solid point. I remember back when Prince Fielder was still on the Brewers and Craig Counsell was a player. Fielder hit a walk-off against the Giants and when he jumped on home plate, everybody surrounding home plate fell to the ground like bowling pins. The Giants had a HUGE problem with it, including a problem with Fielder for what seemed like the rest of the season and a little into the next season. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
In the NFL, you see players celebrate all the time. You can easily tell they’re having fun with what they’re doing. The same goes for the NBA. You can easily tell these players are having fun and showing off flashy dunks, passes, etc. In the MLB, you can’t always tell. And, with how other players are with their “unwritten rules” they don’t allow these players to express themselves and have fun.
Why not? Just have fun. You don’t have to be all serious like you’re in church. Enjoy what you do. Celebrate. If you strike someone out, pump your fist. Don’t stand there and hit the Quan, just pump your fist or something and move along. Moderation, but, you can have fun and show you’re having fun. Otherwise, why are you playing?
Earl: I agree with Bryce on this. It’s not like I want to see baseball players celebrate the routine and go over the top like how some football players do, but, I wouldn’t mind seeing a little bit more flair in baseball. The game is very boring and I’ve admitted several times that I barely can watch a game although I follow the sport.
A little bit more celebration and attitude might not be a bad thing.
Why not? While it is a big time money sport/business and this is their job and some players do need to act like they been there before, still… it is a game and it should be fun and if a player gets a little caught up in the moment… what the hell have some damn fun… celebrate a little.
I was a pitcher and when I threw and someone took me deep, I tipped my cap to them, but, when I struck him out the next at bat, you better believe I was pumped and stared him down. Most other players just smiled and tipped their cap to me. It is part of the game, and, game being the key word. It’s supposed to be fun.
3 Tim Lincecum has been in private workouts getting ready to showcase himself to various interested teams… who is your favorite to eventually sign Lincecum?
Archie: IF I were John Hart for a day I would sign Timmy IF the price were right. The Braves currently have ONE legit starter for this season and Lincecum could be a serviceable starter to get them through this season.
There would not be HIGH Ace-Like expectations and Timmy could showcase whether or not he still has what it takes.
Dan: Right now, I’ve heard rumors that Miami, PIttsburgh, Kansas City and San Diego are all pursuing Lincecum. There were also rumors that Royals’ scouts were escorted out, but, others have reported that they left because it was unproductive.
I think the favorite to sign him would be Miami. He can come out of the bullpen and bolster their bullpen a little bit, that is, if, he can recover some of the form that he had when he won the Cy Young Awards.
Earl: I’m going with the San Diego Padres, only because I figure they are familiar enough with seeing Lincecum pitch and the Padres have nothing to lose. There’s little out there on Lincecum, and I don’t see a contending team taking a chance, but, the Padres have already shown a history of gambling and making big moves and bringing in a familiar name likely on the cheap seems to be a move they would make.
Joe: Eveything I’m reading is pointing to San Diego Padres signing Lincecum and unless another team steps up, most probably because of an injury to a pitcher (either starter or reliever) he probably goes to the Padres.
Steve: I’m sure someone will sign him to a minor league contract. I could see the Giants resigning him to a minor league deal. He is still an ok pitcher and showed signs of dominance over the past two years. Will he ever return to the freak form? I doubt it. But someone will pick him up; I say the Giants.
4) Various computer projections as well as some “experts” say the Kansas City Royals will finish in the middle of the AL Central division… why no love/respect for the two-years-in-a-row appearances in the World Series team and the reigning World Series champs?
Archie: Why? Because they are not “Sexy” or “Flashy” enough for the media. They run their operations kind of old school in my opinion and it is getting to the point that no one expects anything from those teams.
The Indians rotation is a strikeout machine from number one to number five. The Royals just have a middle of the road team.
They can certainly make a push, nobody is denying that. But, nobody is predicting that they will from what I see except a couple people.
Earl: First of all my apologies for blanking on the Royals last week in the roundtable. When we asked the question about where the Cleveland Indians can finish in the AL Central, I gave the division to Detroit without even remembering the Royals. Yes, I completely forgot about the reigning World Series Champions. My fault. Maybe I’m still salty about how they dispatched the Blue Jays AND Mets last season. Probably I am still salty.
Anyway, I’m not sure why the Royals are being underestimated. I still think the Tigers win the Central but I don’t see the Royals as some middle of the pack division team.
Joe: I’m not sure why the Royals don’t get any love except for the one fact that they are com puter programs making the predictions and can’t take into consideration, things like heart, desire, team play, etc… all very human qualities.
Thank goodness sports has yet to be reduced to just a bunch of bits and bytes and still has to actually be played on a field (or court) by real flesh and blood human beings.
Steve: It’s simple, they have no one that is flashy and they don’t have a legitimate superstar. The media doesn’t care about the Kansas City Royals. Last year they were projected to win 80 games and won the World Series. This year I think it is below that.
I think the Royals are going to win the Central and make another run at the World Series. Not saying that they will win it, but, they will be competitive.
5) CBSSports.com has been pointing out that “Its only spring training but the Baltimore Orioles are 1-10.”
Is this a case of… “Yes, it is only spring training “or should the Orioles be concerned?
Archie: It is sort of contradictory and mind melting, but, I do NOT put a lot of stock into all the games won during spring training, but, I DO believe there is a reason a team loses a lot of games during spring ball. Like in this case, Baltimore has the lowest BA as a team for spring ball but they counter that with the highest team ERA….that my friends will lose you many games in the spring, summer and fall.
And, yes, the O’s should be VERY concerned if they don’t start turning that around in the next week or two. Bad play and even worse stats will consume a club house quickly and their season could be over before the end of April if they are not careful.
Dan: It’s only spring training. I’m crossing sports, but remember the 0-16 Lions? They went 4-0 in the pre-season. These games count for nothing and are meaningless. I take their win-loss records as nothing.
Not even with a grain of salt.
I think it’s too early to bury the Baltimore Orioles. Far too early.
Joe: While its not ever a good sign to go 1-10 and while I don’t predict the playoffs for the Orioles, still and all, yes, it is only Sping Training and when the season is for real I expect the Oriloes will be in the thick of the AL East.
Just not in the playoffs when the regular season comes to an end.
Steve: No, the preseason means nothing when it comes to wins and losses, this is about getting your guys ready. I would rather see them struggle and find their groove when it doesn’t matter, than to start struggling in the regular season.
The Orioles have nothing to worry about having a poor record in the preseason.
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