By Ernie Palladino
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Anyone who ever dealt with Goose Gossage the player knows that Goose Gossage the senior citizen is not going to go softly into that good night.
He’ll be screaming about something or other when the angels come. Why wouldn’t he? During a cantankerous pitching career highlighted by his Hall of Fame seasons as the Bronx Zoo Yankees’ closer, he tangled with teammates, the press, even George Steinbrenner himself.
It was no surprise then that the 65-year-old exploded to the local media when he found himself excluded from a guest instructor roster that included former teammates Ron Guidry and Willie Randolph.
The only thing new about that was the target. This time it was Brian Cashman, who by most accounts — but particularly ownership’s — has been a fairly smart general manager the past 20 years. But Gossage, an old-school guy if there ever was one, can’t stand his reliance on modern analytics, his planned micromanagement of his field general and his overall conduct.
Among other things, he called Cashman “a weasel” and “a (jerk)” who has the Steinbrenner family “tricked” into thinking he knows his stuff. Only he didn’t say “jerk.”
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And he added a lot of other modifiers that generally get managers and players thrown out of games.
But that’s Gossage. He has always had, shall we say, a loose hold on language and opinions.
Some of his outbursts have become the stuff of legend. Like the time in 1982 when, with the glory years of the late ’70s in the past, he turned the heat up on the press and fans for their rough treatment of Ken Griffey.
“Everybody, the way they boo Griffey and everybody else,” Gossage started. “And all you (guys) with the (stupid) pen and the (silly) tape recorder, you can (just) turn it on and take it upstairs — to the Fat Man! Okay?”
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Feel free to insert your strongest expletive for the words in parenthesis, because that’s what he really said.
Oh, he wasn’t done.
“Cause I’m (really) sick of the negative (ridiculous garbage), ya got it? Everything you guys write, the dumb (gentlepeople) in the seats read, and we hear the same (hurtful) lines. Negative (writers). No wonder you’re carrying a pad and a paper around. You’re not worth a…