Goose Gossage clarifies his statements… sort of

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Hall of Famer Rich “Goose” Gossage caused a stir on Thursday, offering heated criticisms of Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista and the trend “nerds” taking front office jobs in baseball. Looking to clarify what he meant, Gossage went on Sportsnet’s Tim & Sid, but he didn’t budge on any of his statements and then made a few more curious claims.

First, he was asked if he stood by calling Bautista “a f—ing disgrace to the game” and claiming that Bautista was “embarrassing all the Latin players”. To that, Gossage said, “The only thing I will back up on is I was not singling out. I was doing an interview that I had just kind of went off on the whole game. And part of it is the lack of respect for the opposition. I was taught as a young player, do not show up the enemy. […] Don’t show anybody up is the basic bottom line.” Later, he added, “I singled out Bautista only because the thought of him flipping his bat and all the antics that were going on by the Jays, it seemed out of control and unnecessary.”

Gossage was also asked if he wanted to apologize for using abrasive language. He responded, “No. Why? You can’t take an F-word?”

Gossage seemed particularly concerned with the behavior of major leaguers rubbing off on kids. “Now you see kids in the Little League World Series act like little turds.” Further on in the interview, he said, “Look at the debates on TV, look at this mess. Would you let your kids act like that? Hell no, you wouldn’t. You’d kick your kids in the ass if they acted like that.”

Speaking about how the game is played today, Gossage doesn’t think he could have pitched today. “I couldn’t have pitched today. I pitched up to get them out, in the strike zone. Balls that I got out in front of with my body, and my arm was lagging a little bit, that ended up being a great purpose pitch because it was right at their head. But they expected it because they didn’t quite know where my ball was going and neither did I.”

Which, wow. “They expected it because they didn’t quite know where my ball was going and neither did I.” I mean, that’s some logic right there.

Gossage recalled pitching to Ron Cey in the 1981 World Series. “I hit Ron Cey in the head in 1981 in the World Series in Dodger Stadium. I thought I killed him. I didn’t mean to throw the ball in there, it got away from me. But I was pitching in, on the inner half.”

Finally, Gossage covered post-game celebrations which involve throwing a shaving cream pie in someone’s face, usually the face of the player who delivered a game-winning hit. Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, in particular, is known for this. Gossage said, “If I see another pie in somebody’s face, I’m going to break my own TV. Act like a professional.”

Tim & Sid gave Gossage an opportunity to make his points more clearly and to take back some of the unnecessary language he used, but the Hall of Famer stuck to his guns and then some. He made no secret that he doesn’t enjoy the game anymore, and that’s sad to hear. Baseball is great and arguably as good as it has ever been. Technology and stats have, in this one writer’s opinion, enhanced the enjoyment of the game manyfold and it’s disappointing to see people willingly allow themselves to be left behind rather than adapt.

Elsewhere, Jose Bautista responded to the criticism indirectly on Twitter:

Josh Donaldson replied:

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.