“Ball Four” author Jim Bouton fielded some questions from Blue Workhorse’s Shotgun Sprattling on a variety of topics not limited to changes in sports media and the advent of pitch counts (“I pitched 249 innings in 1963, 271 in 1964, and in 1965, my arm was completely dead”). On the subject of differences between the modern game and baseball of Bouton’s era, the righthander is less enthused about the current product (“I wish the players today were more respectful of the game, more humble…not so into themselves”_
“When Mickey Mantle hit a home run, he put his head down and ran around the bases as fast as he could so as to not show up the pitcher, went in the dugout, and sat down. Now, a guy hits a home run, oh my goodness, his hands go up in the air, he’s going around the bases, he just found a cure for cancer you’d think. He takes his time. He’s pointing to the sky. He’s kissing jewelry. Gets to the guys in the dugout, he takes a big bow. Then he goes in to sit down. Then he has to come out for a curtain call…and this is all in the second inning!
“I don’t know who these guys think they are. They’re just baseball players, and home runs have been hit before. I don’t like the over-inflated thoughts of themselves that you have with today’s athletes. There’s just no humility what-so-ever; no self-awareness; no modesty. There’s just no respect for the game or the opposing team. If they did that in my day, the next time up, he’d be on his ass. Believe me, he wouldn’t be doing that any more.”