Jose Bautista's first at-bat of spring training didn't go according to plan on Thursday, as the Toronto Blue Jays slugger popped out in the first inning of his team's contest against Nathan Eovaldi and the New York Yankees.
Perhaps Bautista going hitless in his first trip to the plate had something to do with comments from Hall of Fame right-hander Goose Gossage, who had some testy words for the slugger prior to game time.
"Bautista is a f---ing disgrace to the game," Gossage told ESPN's Andrew Marchand. "He's embarrassing to all the Latin players, whoever played before him. Throwing his bat and acting like a fool, like all those guys in Toronto. (Yoenis) Cespedes, same thing."
Gossage was referring to Bautista's now famous bat flip that accompanied a three-run home run in Game 5 of an incredibly hectic American League Division Series this past postseason.
After hearing of Gossage's comments, Bautista decided to focus instead on his spring debut rather than get into it with the former Yankees reliever.
"He's a great ambassador for the game," Bautista explained. "I don't agree with him. I'm disappointed that he made those comments, but I'm not going to get into it with him. I would never say anything about him, no matter what he said about me. I have too much good stuff to worry about his comments. Today is my first game (of the spring), getting ready for a new season, hopefully, we will whoop some more ass."
Gossage also expressed his dismay with the increasing reliance on people who've never played baseball in front offices across the league.
"It is a joke," Gossage exclaimed. "The game is becoming a freaking joke because of the nerds who are running it.
"A bunch of f---ing nerds running the game. You can't slide into second base. You can't take out the f---ing catcher because (Buster) Posey was in the wrong position and they are going to change all the rules. You can't pitch inside anymore. I'd like to knock some of these f---ers on their ass and see how they would do against pitchers in the old days."
Bautista's name has been a constant focus coming into spring training, as he seeks a long-term deal in the range of $30 million per season from Toronto.
The 35-year old is coming off another stellar campaign in 2015, when he hit .250/.377/.536 with 40 home runs and 114 RBIs as part of a formidable Blue Jays lineup.