Cespedes likes to have fun, is flamboyant, and plays the game with a sense of enthusiasm and excitement. He can be lackadaisical, but he plays hard and with tremendous instinct. Some of the defensive plays he’s made are just short of miraculous.
You can call Goose old-school, but he’s mostly stubborn and probably teed off these days seeing so many of these guys hitting home runs and celebrating when in his day they would have hit the dirt twice their next times up and hesitated about charging the mound against a guy with that look and that mustache.
Maybe the Goose went after Bryce Harper, a 23 year old white Mormon, because he too seems to play with a flair for the game that to most of us with an objective view seems like pure joy at being on the field, wanting to win, wanting to cut the guts out of his opponents, and is as old school in his pursuit of fly balls as the great Pete Reiser who ran into so many cement walls he destroyed his career.
It’s doubtful old Goose is a racist, but he needs to realize that half the players in today’s big leagues are Latinos from all over the map—Dominicans, Venezuelans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, etc, etc.—and these are mostly dirt poor kids suddenly making tons of money in a strange country where we as Americans do not recognize their customs, their lack of inhibitions, nor their shock at the stoical behavior handed down by the baseball gods for over 100 years here in America, where Cubans have been banned for well over 50 years.
The Japanese and Korean players now in the big leagues seldom show emotion, a reflection of their culture and an adoption of our baseball culture.
But Latinos are just different. They seem to love playing the game more than us Americans, white or black. They strike me as kids who would play 12 months out of the year if owners of their contracts here in America didn’t stop them. Latin countries have produced some of the most breath-taking shortstops in a generation, a passel of Ozzie Smiths and Omar Vizquels, clones as slick and smooth and acrobatic as anybody holding down that position ever.
Of note: the two most valuable players for the Kansas City Royals’ World Series run were Latinos, shortstop Alcides Escobar, and catcher Salvador Perez, two gems as modest and humble as anybody in the league.
The Goose should just savor the game and overlook the antics of a few hotshots and cease griping.
All this talk about how the average baseball fan is 56 years old and baseball is losing young people and trying to please young people so they will become baseball fans is a waste of time. It’s not about the game—it’s about a generation glued to cell phones and ear-buds with the attention span of hummingbirds. These kids are hooked on technology from the get-go and even if they like baseball they are ill-equipped to play it, much less watch it.
These kids need instant gratification 24/7 and grow bored and restless when things slow down. Then they turn to those little things they poke at with their fingers. It’s as bad as drug addiction. Take away these little pads and they’ll go crying to mother. They are needy. They need to email or twitter to avoid looking and seeing and thinking and getting involved.
You want this crew to become baseball fans? Baseball is a game of leisure and patience and dogged strategy and ultimate observation for the kind of junkie who buys in. The games are too slow? Bullshit. The games are supposed to be show. If you’re home, watching a game on TV, work a crossword or read a magazine or novel between pitching exchanges or commercials. Drink a beer. Smoke a cigar.
If you’re at the game, before you is a cornucopia to savor. Study how one individual player conducts himself both as a performer and person throughout the game. Years back, I went to a game to observe St. Louis shortstop Gary Templeton, a kid with a future as a Hall of Famer. But instantly I observed his attitude-- nonchalant and uninvolved as if to be asleep; and, furthermore, the facial expression and body English of a spoiled sour all star who was doing you a favor to play the game.
I was immediately disappointed, and Templeton never did fill his potential, and his career petered out.
Watching a baseball game is like sitting at a sidewalk café at a very busy intersection in Paris, sipping and smoking, with cafes across the street and people coming and going—so much stuff going on, obvious and subtle (including fan behavior) that one should never be bored, but instead constantly amused and entertained.
Taking a cell phone or I pad to a baseball game is a desecration.