TAMPA, Fla. -- Jose Bautista completely disagrees with the controversial remarks that Goose Gossage made Thursday morning, but he's also not about to get into a war of words with the Hall of Fame pitcher.
Gossage called Bautista a "disgrace" to the game in an expletive-laden rant to ESPN. The comments took aim at Bautista's bat flip during last year's American League Division Series against the Rangers, and Gossage said Toronto's star player was "acting like a fool."
"He's entitled to his opinion," said Bautista, who made his spring debut in Thursday's 11-4 win over the Yankees and went 0-for-2 with a hit by pitch. "I don't agree with him whatsoever, but I'm not going to try to pick fights with people.
"They say what's on their mind, if he had a reason to believe that, I would love to hear that, but I've never talked with him, I don't know him. Whatever reason or agenda he is on, fine with me. I'm not going to start picking a fight, let alone with a Hall of Famer."
Gossage's comments came out on the same day that Nationals star player Bryce Harper spoke out about the mentality in baseball that suggests emotions should not be displayed on the field. Harper's take came several hours before Gossage's quotes were revealed to the public, but they were appropriately timed as the so called "old school" baseball mentality clashes with a new-age approach.
• Harper: Let ballplayers show a little flair
Harper certainly can relate to the criticism Bautista has received over the years, because he is also a player who wears emotions on his sleeve. There are some people who don't agree, but Harper certainly isn't going to apologize for his stance, and neither is Bautista.
"You can't do what people in other sports do. I'm not saying baseball is, you know, boring or anything like that, but it's the excitement of the young guys who are coming into the game now who have flair. If that's Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom or Manny Machado or Joc Pederson or Andrew McCutchen or Yasiel Puig -- there's so many guys in the game now who are so much fun.
"Jose Fernandez is a great example. Jose Fernandez will strike you out and stare you down into the dugout and pump his fist. And if you hit a homer and pimp it? He doesn't care. Because you got him. That's part of the game. It's not the old feeling -- hoorah ... if you pimp a homer, I'm going to hit you right in the teeth. No. If a guy pimps a homer for a game-winning shot ... I mean -- sorry."
The timing of Harper's comments were coincidental, but they serve to back up Bautista's approach to the game. Unsurprisingly, when Bautista was asked for his take on Harper's opinion, he gave him a full endorsement.
"I think it should play a role in every sport, actually everything you do in life," Bautista said of emotion. "It's kind of hard to just go about everything, especially exciting things, and just sit there with a poker face like nothing is happening. I don't even think that's in human nature. You're supposed to react. You're supposed to be emotional.
"That's how you stay in tune with being a human. If not, you turn into something else. If you do it enough, you'll become numb to all of the different sensations you're supposed to be feeling and all your reactions when stuff happens around you. Those are stimuli; you're supposed to respond. That's human nature. Some people are very good at keeping it down, and others are more in tune with that and use that energy to propel them to get into a higher level of focus and competition. I'm like that, I'm sure Bryce is like that, and I think he's 100 percent right with his comments."