Doc Gooden Joins JR SportBrief For Exclusive Interview

Doc Gooden spoke for more than a half hour about his upbringing, mental health, social unrest and the state of baseball, among other topics

July 16, 2020 - 9:41 am
Doc Gooden Yankees

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Former Cy Young winner and three-time World Series champion Doc Gooden dropped by CBS Sports Radio for an exclusive, wide-ranging interview in which he discussed numerous topics, including his upbringing, mental health, social unrest and the state of baseball.

Gooden, like many former players, thought Major League Baseball took a hit with its bitter – and public – return-to-play negotiations between owners and the union.

“I remember [Blake] Snell, the pitcher for the Rays, came out and said he wants his money and he’s not going to play unless he gets his money. Even if you feel that way, you can’t say that,” Gooden told JR SportBrief. “There’s so many people putting their lives on the line so they get an opportunity to play. I think a lot of times Major League Baseball [players] forget that putting on a uniform is a privilege. Guys got to be aware of that. Somebody paved the way for you to get to that point. Somebody has made sacrifices for you to get to that point.”

Gooden understands athletes wanting to get paid, but he believes they also need to see the bigger picture, especially given how many people have died of COVID-19.

“We’re all going through this together,” Gooden said. “It was really surprising to see Major League Baseball and the owners fighting about money. It wasn’t so much about how are we going to prepare the guys and how are we going to get tested? It was about money. To do that when a lot of people were losing jobs, a lot of businesses were closed down for good – for guys to do that, it was bad.”

Gooden, who won the Triple Crown with the New York Mets in 1985, is eager for the game to return. But he doesn’t think it should have taken this long.

“I love the game. I’m glad they’re giving us something. I’m glad it’s getting worked out,” he said. “I just thought maybe they should have brought an arbitrator in just for this year to work out the differences. . . . I think the game has taken a hit, unfortunately, but they still have a chance to correct that. Kudos to the players that are going out there to play. They’re risking stuff, they’re being away from their family – I know it’s a sacrifice. But at the same time, there’s so many people in America who would do anything to be in their shoes and want to play and have the opportunity. So hopefully it will all get worked out. The main thing is the health, obviously, and they get back to being the great game it once was.”

Gooden also shared his thoughts on social unrest in America. He has had a few run-ins with police, but he’s hopeful that change is coming.

“You still have some good cops out there, I do believe that,” he said. “Unfortunately, you have good and bad in everything we do. Even baseball players, we had guys in my locker room that was prejudiced, but that’s just the way it is. . . . Just imagine how bad it would be if we didn’t have any officers. At the same time, I don’t agree with a lot of stuff that’s going on. I think all that stuff has to be cleaned up, and I think we’re on the right track to clean that up. Hopefully we can stay on that same path and stay together. . . . Black and white, I think we’re all in this together and looking for some answers and trying to get this thing right.”

As for the notion that racism doesn’t exist, Gooden disagrees.

“I would say that’s not true,” he said. “Until you walked in somebody’s shoes, you can’t say that. You don’t know what somebody’s been through. Sit down and have a conversation with someone and just hear them out. You don’t have to agree with them, but hear them out, where they’re coming from, and maybe you’ll get a better understanding – because whether it’s right or wrong, you’re not in the same shoes.”