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05/12/08 7:47 PM ET
Goose not a fan of Joba's celebrations
Soon-to-be Hall of Famer: 'There's no place for it in the game'
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- As one of the game's dominant relief pitchers, Rich "Goose" Gossage was known for his intimidating demeanor and mean-looking fastball. His opinions on the state of the game don't vary from that approach, especially for present Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain, of whom he says: cut out the antics on the mound. "There's no place for it in the game," Gossage, who'll be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer, said Monday about last week's Chamberlain celebration on the mound. "I will stand by that and I love Joba Chamberlain. I'm with him down in Spring Training. He's a great kid, but no one is passing the torch today. Nobody talks to them. When I broke into the big leagues, I didn't say two words all year." Last Tuesday, Chamberlain surrendered a three-run, eighth-inning homer to Cleveland's David Dellucci. Two days later, as Chamberlain retired the Indians on 13 pitches to protect a three-run lead in the eighth, he celebrated after punching out Dellucci, drawing the ire of the Indians' outfielder. Gossage agreed with Dellucci. "I'm old school, I'm sorry," Gossage said. "I didn't see [Dellucci] celebrating when he hit the home run." About Mariners first baseman Rich Sexson, who had his suspension reduced from six games to five for charging Texas left-hander Kason Gabbard, whose pitch came in high, though over the plate, Gossage said: "Sexson should have been suspended for a month, not the five days or so he got. That pitch wasn't even close." Gossage added that another Yankees reliever, Kyle Farnsworth, shouldn't have been suspended for throwing a warning pitch behind Boston's Manny Ramirez last month in a game at Yankee Stadium. Ramirez had been hot in two early April series against Yankees pitching, before Farnsworth issued what was construed by Major League Baseball's disciplinarians as a warning. He was suspended for three games, a sentence that was reduced to one. "It used to be part of the game and isn't part of the game anymore," Gossage said about backing a hitter off the plate. "It just goes into this whole thing of protecting hitters. And money has controlled that. They wanted to put more offense in the game by design. And to me, they've gone completely out of their minds. I hate to see that history of the game changed and being manipulated." Gossage played with the Yankees from 1978-83, then again for a brief encore in 1989, and is one of the guest coaches invited to Tampa, Fla., during Spring Training. He played for 10 teams, including a season in Japan, but will be inducted into the Hall on July 27 wearing a Yankees cap. Along the way, Gossage was a setup reliever in Oakland (1992-93) for friend and fellow Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley. Gossage said he was appalled even back then by Eckersley's penchant to point at hitters from the mound after striking them out. "Eckersley used to do it all the time, and it used to bother me even then," Gossage said. "The only thing with Eckersley is that he pitched only one inning and he usually didn't have to go back out there. I remember one instance in the playoffs against the Blue Jays when Eck came on in the eighth. He punched out somebody to end it, and he really gave it the old pump fist. I looked over at their bench and they just jumped up. He had to go back out there in the ninth and they ended up beating us." Gossage said his motto as a player was "to let sleeping dogs lie." He said during 22 seasons that he only hit three batters intentionally: Ron Gant, Andres Galarraga and Al Bumbry. When asked why that trio, he said: "Because they had it coming."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.