Friday, March 11, 2016

Today's Get Off My Lawn! Moment

... brought to you by Goose Gossage, former Yankees reliever and (apparently) perpetually crotchety old man.

Gossage, it seems, doesn't like anything about baseball these days. Too many (bleeping) nerds with their bleeping bleep-bleep computer models. Too many pitch counts. Too much coddling second basemen, who, by God, should have to risk season-ending injuries trying to turn the double-play, because homicidal sliding is just part of the game, man.

Oh, and by the way? Celebrating home runs is bush league. It's embarrassing. It's not part of the Code, dammit.

A few thoughts on all this.

1. The Code is stupid.

Always has been. If I jack one off you, I'm celebrating. If you don't like it, throw a better pitch next time. Don't be a candy you-know-what and throw at my head. Throw a better pitch and ring me up.

And if you do?

Hey. Celebrate all you want. Pump your fist. Get fired up. The fans like that, and baseball needs more of it.

So says Bryce Harper, anyway, in a new profile from ESPN The Magazine.

"If a guy pumps his fist at me on the mound, I'm going to go, 'Yeah, you got me'," he told writer Tim Keown. "Good for you. Hopefully I get you next time.' That's what makes the game fun. You want kids to play the game, right? What are kids playing these days? Football, basketball. Look at those players -- Steph Curry, LeBron James. It's exciting to see those players in those sports. Cam Newton -- I love the way Cam goes about it. He smiles, he laughs. It's that flair. The dramatic."

2. Computers are a thing now.

Sorry, Goose. They are. There's something called the internet now. You should really check it out sometime. It's got a lot of really brain-rotting stuff on it, but it's got some cool stuff, too.

Like, you know, that Bryce Harper profile.

3. Players aren't just players anymore. They're investments.

So, yeah, teams are going to protect them, Goose. They're going to pass rules protecting second basemen and catchers. They're going to put guys on pitch counts -- even though you might be right about that part of it. There's a fairly intelligent theory out there that putting guys on pitch counts and sitting them down for the playoffs when they reach seasonal counts (See: Stephen Strasburg) might actually be contributing to them breaking down rather than preventing it.

I don't know if there's anything to that. But it sure does seem pitchers are more fragile than they used to be. And maybe that's because they're throwing too little, not too much. At any length, the pitch counts don't seem to be helping very much.

So, maybe you're right about that one, Goose.

But the rest of it?

Hey. The kids are always gonna cut across your lawn on the way to wherever. Deal with it.

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