First off, let me apologize for the formalities of this letter, but I just can’t in good conscious refer to a grown man as Goose. Boy you’ve had a busy couple of weeks. You went from no one talking about you or remembering who you were to suddenly being a leading story on Sports Centre – North and South of the border.
So you had a few things to say about the state of baseball. You really made yourself the Donald Trump of baseball these last couple of weeks. Talking without a lot of facts to back you up, pumping up the outrage and passion while dipping your toe into racist waters. Apparently that works for old guys who haven’t really been relevant since the 1980s.
I get it, you’re old school and these young punks are ruining the game with their bat flips, multi-million dollar contracts and elaborate handshakes. In your day that kind of stuff never happened. Players had respect for the game. It was all business when you were between the lines. Oh and the nerds, let’s not forget about the nerds. Boy are they ever ruining the game with their fancy stats.
Cause I know it’s been heady couple of weeks, I just want to recap a couple of the things you had to say to ESPN (I’ve pulled a couple of the highlights for you):
“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.”
“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 fuck they went, and they thought they figured the fucking game out. They don’t know shit.
“They have been created from the top, from their computers.” “They are protecting these kids. The first thing a pitcher does when he comes off the mound is ask: ‘How many pitches do I have?’ If I had asked that fucking question, they would have said: ‘Son, get your ass out there on that mound. If you get tired, we’ll come and get you.'”
So there it is. Got it all off your chest in one shot. The grumpy musings of a Hall of Famer. We could all just move on. But I guess not. You seemed to have a bit more on your chest and felt you needed to share more of your views on how sports has changed since you were a player. It was particularly nice when you took a shot at Cam Newton for no other reason than he shows some personality in games. I’m sure there is no other reason that you don’t like him.
I’m wondering about the bat-flip though. Why were you so offended by that? Was there something in your past that it reminded you of? Did someone once hit a big home run off you and celebrate a little too much for your liking? Maybe show a bit too much emotion in a big moment? Of course not, that didn’t happen back when you played.
Oops…how did that get there?
Rich, I think it’s great that you came out of your cave last week and shared your views. But I don’t think you won any fans coming out of this. Baseball has a problem in that younger fans don’t gravitate towards it. It is seen as slow and boring in an age when people have a million entertainment options to choose from in the palm of their hand. The best thing for baseball is to have players show some emotion and maybe having fun. That’s what the bat-flip was. Yeah it pissed some people off, especially people in Texas – but who isn’t pissed when you lose?
You’ve even got one of the league’s biggest and brightest young stars Bryce Harper saying that baseball needs to be more fun. He is a 21 year old kid who is exactly the demographic that baseball needs to be marketing towards if it wants to still be relevant in 10 years. Not the crusty old man demographic that you speak for.
Also, and maybe it’s just me, but maybe you shouldn’t be talking for Latin players. Last time I checked you were a white guy from Colorado. Best not to speak about how one person’s actions embarrass an entire race of people you don’t speak to.
Thanks for taking the time to read this Rich. I know you must be busy sitting on your front porch doing your best Clint Eastwood impression, so I’ll just let you get back to that.