So MVP Bryce Harper was featured in an ESPN the magazine article yesterday. It was about how marketable he is and how he wants to be THE MLB star and blah blah blah. Same old storyline. The charismatic best player in the game wants to be a cultural icon. But the real headline? Bryce is “tired” of baseball’s BS unwritten rules. He’s done with the stupid code.
“Baseball’s tired. It’s a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself. You can’t do what people in other sports do. Jose Fernandez is a great example. Jose Fernandez will strike you out and stare you down into the dugout and pump his fist. And if you hit a homer and pimp it? He doesn’t care. Because you got him. That’s part of the game. It’s not the old feeling — hoorah … if you pimp a homer, I’m going to hit you right in the teeth. No. If a guy pimps a homer for a game-winning shot … I mean — sorry.”
And that ladies and gentlemen, is something I can get behind. I don’t care that it’s Bryce Harper leading the charge. Hell I’d follow Alex Rodriguez in a crusade against baseball’s BS unwritten rules. The unwritten rules and the elderly owners/old timers that insist on keeping them in place have been my biggest problem with the sport for years now. The anti-bat flip propaganda. The takeout slides, retaliation pitches, and other unwritten league sanctioned rules that have existed forever. The prospect of abolishing those rules could not excite me more. And I can easily see why Bryce wants to end them. The most obvious reason being he doesn’t want some jealous pitcher hitting him in the head with a baseball. That would derail the endorsement money train pretty damn fast. But his most recent dance with the unwritten rule book happened when his teammate and notorious old school a-hole Jonathan Papelbon choked him out last season. It all happened because Bryce publicly talked about how he didn’t like a retaliation pitch Papelbon made in a game against the Orioles earlier in the season. He didn’t like it because it makes him an obvious future target. Pap didn’t like the fact that Harper took that opinion to the media. So obviously the old school handbook says players should settle such a dispute with a very public televised assault. Just insane and disgraceful behavior.
And of course in a completely unrelated, unplanned ESPN interview with Goose Gossage that dropped on the same day, Goose went on an absolute tirade in defense of the old school way.
“Bautista is a f—ing 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. Cespedes same thing.”
Well thanks for that Goose. Gossage says bat flips are a disgrace but in the 70s the old timers said the same thing about his hideous Fu Manchu. And you got to love 1) How overtly racist this tirade is 2) That current Latin players essentially come out in defense of the old school Goose position.
That’s right. Mexican-American Giants reliever Sergio Romo chimed in on Bryce Harper’s original comments saying,
“Don’t put your foot in your mouth when you’re the face of the game and you just won the MVP. I’m sorry, but just shut up.”
Jesus Christ Sergio please don’t feed into this notion that this is solely about bat flips and make it a pitchers vs. hitters debate. Before he was banished for life, Jenrry Mejia battled the mound footstomp criticism for a full season. Jose Valverde used to celebrate after a save and dealt with all the old school critics his entire career. The old school way is a crusade against anyone who is different and doesn’t follow the fundamentalist interpretation of baseball’s non-existent unwritten rule book. And if Bryce Harper plans to lead the new generation of ball players in rebellion against the tyrannical old coots like Goose, then I will call my banners and join the charge.
Other Notes: Yoenis Cespedes had a fantastic reaction to the Gossage criticism asking the reporter (through his translator) who the hell is Goose Gossage? Then adding “Is he a pitcher?” He then said,
“Whenever a pitcher strikes someone out, they get to celebrate too and have their moment and revel in it. Why can’t the batters get a chance to enjoy their success, too?”
I’m sorry Yoenis but baseball’s unwritten rules aren’t based on any modern logic. Maybe they were based on something at the time they were created, but they sure as hell don’t make sense any more. Kind of like some of the amendments in the Constitution. Speaking of the Constitution, this week former Yankee Paul O’Neill got the shout out from Donald Trump at a rally. Then Johnny Damon came out in support of Trump. We have Gossage screaming about the disgraceful behavior of Latin players and O’Neill/Damon endorsing Trump and his Mexican border wall. I must say, all these former Yankees coming out in favor of racist policies and saluting fascist presidential candidates really helps me back up some past claims I’ve made about the Yankees and their fans. If Derek Jeter shows up at a Trump rally I’m pretty sure Babe Ruth will roll over in his grave and Yankee Stadium will spontaneously implode.