Gossage clarifies comments; cites Jeter, Mo

Gossage clarifies comments; cites Jeter, Mo

TAMPA, Fla. -- Goose Gossage's controversial comments about bat flips, "nerds" and more earned the Hall of Famer a sit-down on Friday with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi, who attempted to explain their positions to the former hurler.

Gossage, a special guest instructor in Yankees camp, made some expletive-laden remarks on ESPN.com on Thursday, calling the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista "a disgrace to the game" for what he viewed as excessive celebration during last year's postseason.

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He also opined that baseball "is becoming a freaking joke" because of front offices who rely on advanced analytics, as well as the rules intended to protect players, such as a new one involving takeout slides at second base.

"Everything is good. I just kind of lost my mind there for a minute," Gossage said on Friday. "You're talking to an old-school guy, man; there are things that I have a hard time with. The game taught me a long time ago: 'Control what you can control and don't fret all the other stuff.' It's just what it is. I said what I said yesterday and that's it."

Gossage, 64, said that he understood some of the points that Cashman and Girardi made in the meeting, including the importance of advanced analytics, which the Yankees have leaned on heavily in recent seasons.

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"Analytics have been in the game a long time; I think there's just more mention of it now because every team does it," Girardi said. "Brian brought up the point about, at one point, they never wore helmets. Then they wore no flaps, then they wore a flap. It's just the evolution of sports.

"You try to be smarter, you try to keep your players on the field. That's why the game has changed somewhat, and it will continue to change. There will be adjustments."

Bautista responded on Thursday, saying, "He's entitled to his opinion. I don't agree with him whatsoever, but I'm not going to try to pick fights with people. ... I'm not going to start picking a fight, let alone with a Hall of Famer."

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Saying that he has no regrets about his remarks, Gossage pointed to retired Yankees Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera as examples of how today's players could conduct themselves.

"I was passed the torch a certain way to act. Flipping the bat was not part of it," Gossage said. "All the things I said, Bautista just came into my mind. I was asked a question and I got it off my chest. Hopefully they think about it, because nobody else is going to tell them not to do it. None of their teammates. Act like Jeter. Act like Mo. Act like a professional, that's all."

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Girardi said that he did not view the conversation as an uncomfortable one to have.

"The thing about Goose -- and I've known Goose a long time -- is he's very passionate about the game," Girardi said. "He loves the game. Goose wants to see the game always be great. We just tried to point out some things that we do and how the game has changed."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.