While a free agent last month, v33-year-old reliever Adam Ottavino disparaged Babe Ruth, the Yankees’ beloved Hall of Famer who helped New York win four World Series titles and seven American League pennants from 1920 to 1934 while transforming the sport with home runs.

“I had an argument with a coach in Triple-A about Babe Ruth’s effectiveness in today’s game,” Ottavino told MLB.com’s Statcast podcast. “And this was like 10 years ago. I said, ‘Look, Babe Ruth, with that swing, swinging that bat, I got him hitting a buck-40 with eight homers.’

“And he’s like, ‘Are you nuts? Babe Ruth would hit .370 with 60 homers.’ And I’m like, ‘I would strike Babe Ruth out every time.’ I’m not trying to disrespect him, rest in peace, shout out to Babe Ruth. But it was a different game. I mean, the guy ate hot dogs and drank beer and did whatever he did, and it was just a different game.”

“I was surprised that it went so viral,” Ottavino said during a conference call Friday.

“But I saw when they put the quote out of context out there why people would get so upset. I mean certainly I probably used a bad example of the point I was trying to make: the evolution of the pitching in baseball over baseball history. And Babe Ruth’s probably a name that I shouldn’t have used in this example. But I’ve got a lot of flak for it, mostly funny stuff, like my uncle telling me that he can’t go anywhere without hearing about it, things like that. But I meant no disrespect. I’m a huge baseball historian and love the game, and it’s not even something that can be proven anyway, so I find it a little funny.”

Of course he’s apologizing now that he’s on the Yankees. Had he not been, I’m pretty sure he’d still be running his mouth about striking out the Babe. 

Some people you just don’t touch, and Babe Ruth is one of them. 

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