Former New York Yankees closer Goose Gossage, right, despite being known for his strong personality, said players like Jose Bautista and Yoenis Cespedes are an embarrassment.
PORT ST. LUCIE — Yoenis Cespedes and Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista were among those Goose Gossage brushed back in a wide-ranging interview on Thursday from Yankees camp.
The Mets outfielder essentially responded by saying, “Who?”
Gossage called Bautista a “f—ing disgrace to the game” and “embarrassing to all the Latin players, whoever came before him” for “throwing his bat and acting a like a fool” following a home-run swing in the playoffs last October.
The Hall of Fame reliever then added, “Cespedes, same thing.”
When asked about the comments after departing the Mets’ 7-2 win Thursday over St. Louis, Cespedes said that he had never even had heard of Gossage until the quotes were relayed to them.
“Is he a pitcher?” Cespedes said through interpreter Melissa Rodriguez. “Like I’ve said before, whenever a pitcher strikes someone out, they get to celebrate, too. They get to have their moment and revel in it, so why can’t the batters get a chance to enjoy their success, too?
“But I’m not too worried about what anyone says about me. I just go out and do my job. I don’t think about (flipping the bat), it just comes in the moment when you’re playing.”
Cespedes emphatically chucked his bat after blasting a three-run homer against Dodgers reliever Alex Wood in Game 3 of the NL division series last October.
Bautista topped Cespedes’ toss a few days later with an even more pronounced bat flip following a three-run blast in Game 5 of the AL division series.
Gossage similarly disapproved of Jose Bautista’s bat flip during Game 5 of the ALDS.
“I’m not going to respond to that,” Mets manager Terry Collins said of Gossage’s comments, before he was asked if such celebrations are now simply part of the game. “It is today. It’s not just one or two guys. There are several guys you see it happen to, but to the old-timers, it’s something that wasn’t approved of years ago and today it’s different.”
The 64-year-old Gossage, in Yankees camp as a guest instructor, played for the Bombers from 1978-83 and in 1989 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008. He brawled with backup Yankees catcher Cliff Johnson in the shower in April 1979, missing more than two months with a thumb injury.
The ever-opinionated nine-time All-Star also slammed the sabermetrics and analytics trends that have become so prevalent in baseball front offices in the ESPN interview.
“It is a joke. The game is becoming a freaking joke because of the nerds who are running it,” Gossage said. “A bunch of f—ing nerds running the game.
Gossage, seen here during the 2014 Yankees Old Timers Day, said that baseball ‘nerds’ are ruining the game.
“You can’t slide into second base. You can’t take out the f—ing catcher because (San Francisco’s 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.”
Before the Blue Jays faced the Yankees in Tampa, Bautista told ESPN that Gossage is “a great ambassador for the game,” but disagreed with the Hall of Famer’s take.
“I’m disappointed that he made those comments, but I’m not going to get into it with him,” Bautista said. “I would never say anything about him, no matter what he said about me. I have too much good stuff to worry about his comments.”
Gossage also took aim at Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun.
“Ryan Braun is a f—ing 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—ing teeth?” Gossage said. “They don’t have anyone passing the f—ing torch to these people.
“If I had acted like that, you don’t go in that f—ing dugout. There are going to be 20 f—ing guys waiting for you.”
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