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Johnny Bench: 'Bring Back The Knockdown Pitch'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Goose Gossage isn't the only Hall of Famer who isn't a fan of the showboating that's happening in today's game.

In an interview with "The Rich Eisen Show" on Monday, Cincinnati Reds legend Johnny Bench was asked about Washington Nationals MVP outfielder Bryce Harper's comments where he said in recent interview with ESPN The Magazine that baseball is "a tired sport."

"Well that's fine. Bring back the knockdown pitch and they can cheer all they want," Bench said.

He continued, "You can flip your bat because we had guys do that, there was a couple of times they would do that or they'd run the bases and they'd do it, and the next time up there was chin music. And if you want to play that, that's fine. I mean, bring back the excitement? Ok, well, bring back the brushback pitch, the knockdown pitch. That's all part of the excitement."

The former catcher said that he knows many of those that believe in the old-school way would like to see some players get knocked down for celebrating too much in the batter's box or on the basepaths.

"I know a lot of old-timers and a lot of people that watched baseball forever would love to see somebody to have a little chin music," Bench said. "And if you want to do that, fine, go ahead … flip the bat, run around the bases anyway you want, but just expect next time you come up to the plate you better be watching how much you dig into the batter's box."

Harper said in his interview that it shouldn't be frowned upon players expressing themselves.

"Baseball's tired," Harper told ESPN. "It's a tired sport, because you can't express yourself. You can't do what people in other sports do. I'm not saying baseball is, you know, boring or anything like that, but it's the excitement of the young guys who are coming into the game now who have flair."

He continued, "If a guy pumps his fist at me on the mound, I'm going to go, 'Yeah, you got me. Good for you. Hopefully I get you next time.' That's what makes the game fun. You want kids to play the game, right? What are kids playing these days? Football, basketball. Look at those players -- Steph Curry, LeBron James. It's exciting to see those players in those sports. Cam Newton -- I love the way Cam goes about it. He smiles, he laughs. It's that flair. The dramatic."

Earlier this month, Gossage, the Hall of Fame relief pitcher, made waves in New York Yankees camp over a profanity-laced interview he did with ESPN, slamming Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista.

"Bautista is a f—ing disgrace to the game," Gossage told ESPN. "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."

Then in an interview with the New York Post, he asked if "we want a bunch of Cam Newtons running around?"

"So, if no one keeps it in check, which there is no one keeping it in check, first of all, no one wants to bite the hand that fed them or the hand that feeds them today. The only liaison we had was Joe Torre. It's like Washington, D.C. Everybody starts out with good intentions. You can't beat them, join 'em," Gossage told the Post.


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