Rich Gossage is at Yankees spring training again this year. And again, as he has many times in the past, he went off on modern baseball, coddled pitchers, rich players, the good old days when men like him were tough and how today’s young breed has been ruined by it all.
It’s nothing new, of course. But at this point, you may be surprised to hear, I don’t hold a bit of it against him. He’s 65 years-old and has been retired for 23 years. He’s a man whose views on all of this stuff are well known and it’d be just as silly for us to point and gawk at those views for a fourth or fifth time as it would be for us to expect him to change his mind about it all. For all but the rarest breed of man, the stuff you believe at 65 is not going to change all that much.
I’m posting about it, though. Not to draw attention to his views, but to draw attention to the interview in which they came. They’re posted at NJ.com, which printed the actual transcript of the interview of Gossage by reporter Randy Miller. If you go read it, look more closely at the questions than the answers.
It’s starts off fine, with Miller asking Gossage about what he thinks of Aroldis Chapman returning to the Yankees. Gossage, to be clear, is the first to broach the subject of modern closers and pitcher usage, calling Chapman a “one-inning guy.” Fine, we know he feels that way. It’s a non-sequitur that one might expect Gossage to take.
But it’s also one which Miller then pursues to a questionable degree, setting up questions on a tee that are clearly calculated to get Gossage going on those well-worn topics. Stuff like “You were a three-inning guy, right?” “Do you miss the old days?” “Do you think pitchers are being babied nowadays?” etc. etc. Anyone who has paid a lick of attention over the past couple of years knows exactly what Gossage is going to say about those things.
Which makes me question the intent of the interview and the manner in which it was presented at NJ.com. The conversation itself is fine. It’s one that occurs between old timer special instructors and members of the media almost every day at spring training. But it’s also one that, if real news isn’t involved, gets put in the reporter’s back pocket. Here, however, it seems calculated to create a “YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT GOOSE GOSSAGE SAID!” piece.
We’re all in the clicks business, so I get the impulse, but given how many times this same territory has been covered — and how we know, with 100% certainty, that it will result in a lot of blog posts, tweets and various digital content slamming Gossage as a dinosaur with no filter — it strikes me as borderline mockery. I know Gossage is a big boy and that, if he didn’t want that kind of coverage he could politely avoid those topics. But there’s a pretty good sense that he’s not wired that way so maybe people should lay off of him, both because what results is not really newsworthy, but because getting those quotes serves to diminish a guy who has taken a lot of lumps in the past few years.
I’m not trying to be too hard on Miller here, as he has a job to do. But at some point this is like bear-baiting. I know Gossage has brought a lot of this stuff on himself in the past couple of years — and I suspect that, maybe, he just doesn’t care — but he’s a Hall of Famer and a human being at at some point it strikes me that laying off of that stuff with him is the right thing to do.