Goose Gossage was a great relief pitcher, earning his way into the Hall of Fame with his tenacity and fierce desire to win. However, over the last few years, Goose has become the old man in your neighborhood yelling “get off my lawn” at every child and calling the police about every loud noise being made by neighbors.
The Yankees (and other teams) have a long standing tradition of bringing many great Yankees from the past to Spring Training as “advisors” such as Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, and many others, including Goose Gossage. These players don’t really have a job; they are there to tell stories and provide advice to the young players. Many of these players will also be surrounded by reporters and they are all asked their thoughts on the game today and the players of today.
This is where Goose gets into trouble every year. In years past, Goose has ripped the all-time great Mariano Rivera because “Mariano only pitched one inning at a time,” he has ripped players like Jose Bautista for being a “disgrace to the game,” and has said that “baseball has been ruined by nerds.”
This season, Goose was not invited to Spring Training. And reporters, being reporters, hunted Goose down and asked him about not being invited. Goose, as has become the norm, voiced his displeasure with Yankees GM Brian Cashman and said that he wasn’t a fan, using language that isn’t really fit to print.
Goose as a player was a legend. I am a huge fan of Goose the pitcher (and even have a signed baseball from him). However, it is not 1978 anymore. The game has drastically changed over the years. The game is run by “nerds” because with all the money being spent on players, teams want to ensure they are getting the most value for their money. Players are no longer the stodgy players they were in Goose’s time – they celebrate every little accomplishment (some celebrations I have no issue with, other times I think it’s a little over the top). The role of the relief pitcher (and especially closers) has changed and it has been changed for many years – they are no longer multi-inning pitchers brought in during a tough situation; they are getting paid to get three outs and end the game.
While the opinions of the old-timers like Goose Gossage and Joe Morgan do have a place and can help us all understand how the game has changed, many of these players’ opinions simply are out of place today and talk about a game that no longer exists. I beg all reporters, ask these players what it was like to play at their time or against players in their day, do not ask them about the game today or the players of today.
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