Orioles skipper shares thoughts in light of Gossage's comments
By Richard Justice
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Have baseball players really changed? Is Goose Gossage right about that? Orioles manager Buck Showalter thinks not.
"You've got to keep in mind that there are certain absolutes, and players really haven't changed as much as they act like sometime," he said Monday. "There are absolutes they buy into because they want to win."
Showalter said it's important not to get caught up in issues that have nothing to do with winning and losing.
"It's the players' game," he said. "We can't ever forget that. I look back at some pictures of myself in high school and college -- long hair, Fu Manchu mustache, high-heel shoes. My mother made my prom suit out of my sister's pattern.
"You have to keep up to date on where they are. I know the words to some songs I never would have known. It's a two-hour conversation. You adjust to the players."
Showalter was speaking when asked about Gossage's comments that he "can't stand to watch this game."
Gossage said that bat flips and postgame celebration pies shouldn't be part of the game. If he sounded like an old man jealous of players having fun and making money, well, that's how it came off.
Nor did Gossage think much of analytics. He said "nerds" were also something he didn't like.
"I don't know about that," Showalter said. "Until you've walked a mile in their shoes. I try not to talk a lot about something I haven't been involved in that much. There's things everybody in life can do better than you.
"You want to create an atmosphere where everybody feels comfortable giving their opinion and bring what they bring ... You have an analytic verify what your eyes are telling you. If you get verification of what your eyes are telling you, you feel better about it.
"We used to move guys in the Florida State League based on five at-bats and my wife's spray charts. Now we've got a thousand at-bats, and we should be smarter with it. Everybody's looking for an edge."
Gossage has attempted to walk back some of his comments, telling reporters on Friday, "I lost my mind for a minute. You are talking to an old-school guy. There are things I have a hard time with. The game taught me a long time ago, control what you can control. This is what it is and I said what I said."
Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.