Math has taken over baseball. Hall of Fame pitcher Rich "Goose" Gossage despises it.
Goose, as the retired reliever is commonly known, let loose on the state of the game during an interview with ESPN on Thursday. The former New York Yankees great was working with the team's current players at a spring training facility in Florida.
The 64-year-old Gossage showed plenty of pepper, as well as vinegar, in an expletive-laden rant against front-office executives who have flashy degrees but never played big-league baseball.
"The game is becoming a freaking joke because of the nerds who are running it," Gossage tells ESPN. "I'll tell you what has happened, these guys played rotisserie baseball at Harvard or wherever the (f-bomb) they went, and they thought they figured the (f-bomb)ing game out."
Gossage's tirade is a direct assault on the analytical approach that has taken over baseball since the Oakland A's used it to build successful teams on the cheap in the early 2000s. The concept took off after Michael Lewis' book "Moneyball: The Art of Winning An Unfair Game" brought it to the mainstream. Now, teams are built by spreadsheets rather than on instincts about how hard a pitcher can throw or far a hitter can smash the ball.
Gossage, a nine-time All-Star who played for 21 seasons and had 310 saves, obviously doesn't buy it. The hurler, known for his thick mustache and gruff persona, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Gossage might have been taking a thinly veiled shot at Matt Klentak, an analytics whiz who was hired last year as the general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies at age 35. His only on-diamond baseball experience was as captain of his baseball team at Dartmouth College, where he got a degree in economics.
Or maybe he was taking aim at Los Angeles Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi, 39, an economist who received degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley. Zaidi decided to get into baseball after reading "Moneyball" and eventually got a job with the Oakland A's working under GM Billy Beane.
"A bunch of (f-bomb)ing nerds running the game," Gossage told ESPN. "You can't slide into second base. You can't take out the (f-bomb)ing catcher... You can't pitch inside anymore.
"I'd like to knock some of these (f-bomb)ers on their ass and see how they would do against pitchers in the old days," he added.