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John Lackey bemoans how baseball is ‘getting really soft’


Chicago Cubs pitcher John Lackey has cultivated a reputation of having a gruff, no-nonsense personality with little patience for things that bother him. So perhaps it shouldn’t come as much a surprise that when asked about what annoys him about baseball, it’s something to do with how the modern version of baseball lacks the toughness of previous eras.

Lackey conducted an interesting Q&A recently with ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. Among the topics addressed were how he only agrees only “about 50/50” of the time when a manager pulls him and his concerns over sabermetrics potentially taking away the “human aspect” of assessing a player’s abilities.

But Lackey’s most forthright comments had to do with his perception that baseball is “getting really soft.”

What annoys you about the game of baseball? Anything?

JL: There’s a lot of things that annoy me. This game is getting really soft. You can’t even break up two, for God sakes, and you’re getting a review. When I came into the league, if you didn’t go hard into second base, one of your teammates is going to have a talk with you in the corner of the dugout. Now guys just peel off. The game is getting soft.

Lackey went on to bemoan the lack of home plate collisions due to Major League Baseball somewhat legislating it out of the game with rule changes.

“That’s part of the big leagues,” he said. “That’s what makes it different from high school or whatever. Those are the things that make this the men’s league.”

When asked if anything else bothers him about the current state of baseball, Lackey said how managers lack the authority they once enjoyed.

“There is a lot more front office meddling,” he said. “There’s more hands in the pot, I guess.”

Given his perceptible old-school mentality, Lackey’s opinions shouldn’t come as a shock. Suffice to say, the 37-year-old pitcher doesn’t share Bryce Harper’s opinion that the onus is on the current crop of players to “make baseball fun again.”

Instead, Lackey would prefer to see a return to baseball’s much tougher halcyon days of yesteryear.