Goose Gossage Channels His Inner Trump
Goose Gossage has a lot of nasty things to say about Jose Bautista and other Caribbean ballplayers today, because they are a bit more exuberant than the stars were in the Goose’s day. Gossage is on the wrong side of history on this one, as Bryce Harper‘s call for more honest celebration is almost certainly going to rule the day.
Harper puts the argument, at least according to former San Francisco Chronicle writer Tim Keown, about as well as it can be put. Professionals can put up with a little celebration because true professionals can channel it back into their next match-up. You celebrate this time, but next time we’ll see. That is pretty much at the core of what successful MLB players think, since every single MLB player has to deal with failure on a regular basis.
Bat flips are common practice in the Caribbean, Japan and South Korea, and the American game won’t end if players flip their bats in MLB. There will always be a code of the day, and if somebody goes too far with the celebration, there will be HBP retaliation. It’s just that MLB is going to move toward more celebration in the future, whether the old-timers like it or not.
At home games, fans like their players to celebrate. Opponent celebration is less appreciated, but still gets the crowds worked up. Stadia full of people are much more controlled today than they were, for example, in the 1920’s or 1930’s, so a little more celebration, even in the worst of circumstances, is less likely to threaten a riot today.
I definitely think the trend is toward more professionalism in the sense that fewer injuries are better than more injuries. Fewer take-out slides and fewer home plate collisions will save a lot of expensive injuries and won’t do anything to change the game we loved playing as kids, when we weren’t allowed to get major league rough. The basic thrills of the game remain whether or not players collide at the bases or batters get beaned.