It's all right to shout, shout, let it all out


May 14, 2008

Soon-to-be Hall of Famer Goose Gossage called out New York Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain for Chamberlain's exuberance after big strikeouts - the most recent example a primal scream and fist pump after striking out the Cleveland Indians' David Dellucci last week. Just two days earlier, Dellucci hit a three-run homer off Chamberlain, so it was a turnabout moment.

Chamberlain said he wasn't trying to show up Dellucci.

He made sure to look into his own dugout, not at the batter.

But Gossage contends that Chamberlain ought to be more reserved, especially because he wears Yankees pinstripes.

It's that old mind-set about how Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford and their teammates were like guys putting in another day at the office as they went about the business of crushing the American League.

Goose is off base here. While celebrations have occasionally gotten out of hand in other sports, baseball suffers from a terminal case of stoicism. A little emotion couldn't hurt, but you can be sure whenever it happens, someone who claims to be a "baseball purist" or "old-school" goes all Bowie Kuhn.

Willie Mays making basket catches; Pete Rose (pre-disgrace) running out walks; Willie Montanez picking off pop-ups like a Venus' flytrap; Al Hrabosky stomping around the mound working himself into a pitching rage.

Granted, Chamberlain's victory grunts are hardly the performance art of a Mays or Rose or Hrabosky, but they were called showboats and hot dogs according to the purists. Those were also images that fans remember.

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