TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Hall of Famer Goose Gossage has criticized Toronto star Jose Bautista and New York Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes for the way the pair celebrated home runs during the playoffs last year.
Gossage called Bautista a “disgrace to the game” during a profanity-laced interview in Tampa on Thursday.
“He’s embarrassing to all the Latin players, whoever played before him,” Gossage told ESPN. “Throwing his bat and acting like a fool, like all those guys in Toronto. Cespedes, same thing.”
Bautista memorably flipped his bat after hitting a three-run homer that gave the Blue Jays the lead in the seventh inning in Game 5 of the AL Division Series against Texas.
“He’s entitled to his opinion,” Bautista said. “I don’t agree with him whatsoever. I’ve never talked to him. I don’t know him. Whatever reason or agenda he’s on is fine with me. I’m not going to start picking a fight, let alone with a Hall of Famer.”
Gossage, a guest spring training instructor for the Yankees, made his comments before the Yankees played Toronto.
Bautista said he had no plans to reach out to Gossage.
“I don’t think it’s my job,” Bautista said. “I’m just going about my work. Showing up here to do my job, and help this team win ballgames.”
Cespedes added his own highlight bat flip after a home run during the Game 3 of the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Like I said before, whenever a pitcher strikes someone out they get to celebrate, too,” Cespedes said through a translator in Port St. Lucie. “They get their moment, revel in it. Why can’t the batters get to enjoy their success too? I’m not too worried about what anyone says about me. I just go out there and do my job. That’s all I’m going to focus on.”
Cespedes added he did not know who Gossage was, but guessed he was a pitcher based on the comments.
Mets manager Terry Collins said Cespedes and Bautista aren’t the only ones who flip their bats.
“The old-timers, that’s something that wasn’t approved of years ago,” Collins said. “Today it’s different.”