DUNEDIN, Fla. -- When Marcus Stroman left during the Blue Jays' 2-1, 10-inning win against the Red Sox on Friday, he immediately went into the clubhouse and put on a T-shirt commemorating Jose Bautista's bat flip from the 2015 American League Division Series.
The message was clear: He was giving a full endorsement to his star teammate one day after Hall of Famer Goose Gossage called Bautista a "disgrace" to the game for his behavior on the field. Stroman pitches with as much emotion as anyone in baseball and he wants those types of actions encouraged instead of criticized.
"That's my brother, man. That's my guy," Stroman said. "I'll back him up about anything. He's one of my role models. He's one of my mentors. He's taken me under his wing from day one. I see what he does on and off the field, how he trains, how he goes about his business.
"He goes about it professionally, and he works harder than anybody in the league. I'm a huge fan of Joey Bats, and I think you just have to adapt with the times. That's what it comes down to."
Stroman also had nothing but nice things to say about Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who on Thursday described a need for baseball players to freely express themselves. Stroman said he exchanged text messages with Harper the previous night to show his support.
Toronto's likely Opening Day starter -- although the Blue Jays are not expected to make that official for at least another few days -- believes everybody brings their own personalities to the sport. Some guys show a lot of outward emotion, and others are more reserved, but there is room for everybody.
For his part, Stroman won't take offense if someone admires or celebrates a home run, and he also believes hitters should not get upset if he pumps his fist after a crucial strikeout. The game is meant to be fun, and to suggest everybody should react the same way would be turning human beings into robots. Stroman wants no part of that.
"Everybody is not the same. Everybody is not cookie cutter. People go about their business differently," said Stroman, who tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Red Sox on Friday afternoon. "Some guys are emotional, some guys aren't, but it's not a bad thing if guys are emotional. They show a little bit of emotion. That's not bad. We put in a ton of work, so we are allowed to show emotion out there on the field, so I will back that every single day."