Hall of Famer Gossage takes issue with Chamberlain's expressive celebration

Updated: May 14, 2008, 12:03 AM ET
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Hall of Famer Goose Gossage has some issues with New York Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain's expressive celebrations on the pitcher's mound.

[+] EnlargeJoba Chamberlain
Al Bello/Getty ImagesJoba Chamberlain let his emotions show last Thursday after striking out the Indians' David Dellucci.

"There's no place for it in the game," Gossage told reporters Monday during a tour of the Hall of Fame, according to MLB.com. "I will stand by that and I love Joba Chamberlain. I'm with him down in spring training. He's a great kid, but no one is passing the torch today. Nobody talks to them. When I broke into the big leagues, I didn't say two words all year."

Chamberlain's antics again drew attention when he celebrated after striking out the Indians' David Dellucci last Thursday. Two days earlier, Dellucci hit a game-winning pinch-hit home run off Chamberlain.

Chamberlain gave an exaggerated fist pump and hollered after fanning Dellucci to end the inning.

Chamberlain plans to remain the same on the mound.

The Yankees set-up man spoke on the phone Tuesday with Gossage.

"He called me and he said what he said," Chamberlain said before Tuesday night's game against Tampa Bay. "It's going to continue to go on, but I am not going to change."

Last Thursday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said: "That's who he is. He's not showing anyone up. He's going to show emotion. He didn't look at Dellucci. He looked into our dugout."

That's not exactly how Dellucci saw Chamberlain's celebration.

"It is what it is. If he wants to yell and scream after a strikeout, I guess that's what gets him going," Dellucci said. "It's May baseball. The home run was in a much bigger situation. I didn't dance and scream.

"If a hitter did something like that, it would be bush. It's kind of interesting how a pitcher gets away with it," he said.

"Everybody has their own opinion," Chamberlain said on Tuesday. "It is what it is. I am not going to change."

Chamberlain's antics have fueled New York talk radio commentary. Now Gossage, who starred in the late innings for the Yankees from 1978 until 1983, is weighing in.

"I'm old school, I'm sorry," Gossage told reporters, according to MLB.com. "I didn't see [Dellucci] celebrating when he hit the home run."

Gossage also told The Bergen Record that Chamberlain needs to remember what uniform he is wearing. According to Gossage, playing for the Yankees carries a different set of rules.

"That's just not the Yankee way, what Joba did. Let everyone else do that stuff, but not a Yankee," Gossage told The Record on Saturday. "What I don't understand is, the kid's got the greatest mentor in the world in Mariano [Rivera]. He's one of the leaders of the team, so you'd think it wouldn't happen on that team.

"But there's no one to pass the torch anymore, no one to teach the young kids how to act. The Mets did a lot of that [celebrating] last year, and look how it came back to haunt them."

Gossage told The Record he would never have been allowed to show emotion as Chamberlain does. His teammates would have made sure of that, Gossage said.

"I'm trying to think of what would've happened if I did what Joba did, especially if I was a rookie," he told The Record. "The veterans would've sat me down so fast, it would've never happened a second time. Truthfully, there would've never been a first time."

Joba Chamberlain's father, Harlan, who was hospitalized last month for respiratory failure from pneumonia caused by the flu, is planning to travel from his Nebraska home to see the Yankees' series at Minnesota that starts May 30.

The elder Chamberlain contracted polio when he was nine, and uses a motorized scooter.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.