Under The Bleachers: An Older Player Thinks Things Were Better In Their Day? No Way!

Above (L-R): Former Major League Baseball right-handed relief pitcher Rich “Goose” Gossage and Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista
Under The Bleachers: An Older Player Thinks Things Were Better In Their Day? No Way!

A couple weeks back, the biggest story amongst sports talking heads was the litany of players from previous NBA generations weighing in on Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors and the incredible season they’re having.

“The Big O,” Oscar Robertson, the only man to average a triple-double over the course of an entire season, delivered the equivalent of a “kids these days” take on their play, followed by members of the record-setting Chicago Bulls following suit.

Thursday, the “things were better back in my day” take came from the baseball diamond, as Rich “Goose” Gossage went in on Jose Bautista and the Toronto Blue Jays as a whole. The former reliever called the Blue Jays right fielder “a disgrace to baseball” because he (and the rest of the Jays) are animated and emotional on the diamond, something that never would have stood back when Gossage was staring down batters from behind his massive moustache and angry eyes.

To his credit, Bautista took the high road and refused to get into a war of words with Gossage because really, what’s the point? And what’s the point of people getting fired up about this stuff to begin with?

This may come as a shocker to you, but everyone thinks everything was better back in their day. Always. Forever. No matter the subject.

Music. Movies. Life in general – always better in your heyday versus when your parents were growing up or what the next generation considers outstanding nowadays.

Now factor in the competitiveness and ego of professional athletes and it should be zero surprise that guys like Robertson and Gossage aren’t the biggest fans of the guys that are doing good things right now.

Old heads always think the league was tougher in their day and that the way they played the game was “the right way.” These revelations should rank up there with learning that water is wet.

The funny thing is that they always have some valid points – basketball has shifted to be a more open, offensive game since Robertson played; flash and swagger weren’t accepted on the baseball diamond in Gossage’s time – but where these veterans always end up coming away looking like crotchety, old “Get Off My Lawn!” types is that they never seem to give any credit where it is due or recognize the spots where they would struggle.

Because here’s the thing: everything changes and neither basketball nor baseball are the same in 2016 as they were when Robertson and Gossage put on a uniform. It’s why making cross-generational comparisons is an exercise in futility.

Too much changes, including what is acceptable and appreciated in terms of celebration and swagger, that it becomes impossible to say how a player like Wilt Chamberlain would do in today’s NBA or how Steph would do if he jumped in the DeLorean and played in the ‘50s.

Same with baseball. Same with every other sport. Same with pop culture, art, literature and so on and so forth.

So next time an old timer steps to a mic and says things were better in their day or they’re not impressed with today’s players, smile, nod and keep it moving because there is nothing new or worth arguing about being said.

Tags: Jose Bautista, Stephen Curry, Under the Bleachers

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