Oh, to be aYankee fan. You have an owner committed to winning, you’ve had the privilege of watching a true professional play Shortstop (Jeter), Center (Bernie), Relief (Mo), Catcher (Jorge) and in bygone years, Rightfield (O’Neill), Third Base (Brosius), First Base (Tino and Donnie) and a truly classy manager (Torre).
Now, you watch the aged and infirmed try to pitch every 5th day (Unit), you get the psychological mess that is A-Rod at third and the very bitter and always entertaining Gary Sheffield in Right. I mean, the man is a great quote. He was made for New York…but it’s time to say goodbye to at least one headache.
For the last 3 seasons (ok 2 seasons), we have had one of the most dangerous right-handed hitters in the game. I have friends who are Sox fans, who swear they feel he will put a hole in the Monster when he is up. I don’t disagree that he is a great talent, but his ego knows no bounds and his mouth might be bigger.
Let’s reflect on some of Gary’s more endearing sentiments:
From the New Yorker, 8/15/2005
“I know who the leader is on the team,” he says as he scratches his cartoon-villain mustache. “I ain’t going to say who it is, but I know who it is. I know who the team feeds off. I know who the opposing team comes in knowing they have to defend to stop the Yankees.” (sounds eerily similar to A-Rod’s Esquire rants)
followed by this gem:
“I know this. The people don’t know. Why? The media don’t want them to know. They want to promote two players in a positive light, and everyone else is garbage.”
All that in the first 2 paragraphs. Enjoy the rest:
L.A. Times, 12/20/2001
“Of the top five players in the game, I’m going to be right there with them, or somewhere close,” Sheffield said. “So why would you trade somebody that’s going to give you consistent numbers?”
L.A. Times, 2/21/2002
“I always wanted to play for the Braves, I always wanted to be with an organization that knows about winning, but I never let myself think about it because I didn’t want to be disappointed,” Sheffield said. “When you play this game long enough, you know that things that you want to happen usually don’t happen, so I just tried to forget about it. Then [agent] Scott [Boras] told me about the deal and I knew I needed this.
“I just didn’t want to be with the Dodgers anymore because of everything. One of the things I told my wife [DeLeon], when we heard all the [off-season trade] rumors, was that I didn’t know what was going to happen but I just didn’t want to play for an organization that did the things they did. I don’t have any bitter moments or memories, I’m where I want to be, but I just didn’t want to be there.”
L.A. Times, 10/30/2001
“When I hired Scott, Scott made it known to them I won’t ask for anything else, and they know I want to be here,” said Sheffield, who has returned to his off-season home in St. Petersburg, Fla. “I don’t want anybody to do anything for me. I just want to be here and help this team win. That’s why I came here in the first place–to win.
“I’m just going to go out there and play like I always do. As far as [Boras] going to them and asking for a [new] contract, that’s not going to happen.
“They don’t have to worry about that because that’s not what this is about. I just want to be able to put down roots here and feel comfortable. That’s what I’ve wanted my whole career.”
And now the latest salvo of a “team player”, someone you want in the foxhole with you, for 162 games:
When asked about Bobby Abreu, Sheffield said, “He’s a good player, but like I say, you can draw it up any kind of way. He ain’t me. And that’s the bottom line. I understand them having to make this move for the remainder of the season, but to sit here and I’m leaving because of it, I always was told you leave because someone is better than you. I don’t think that’s the case here.”
New York Times, 11/9/2006
“I’ve done more for the Yankees than he will ever do,” Sheffield said of Abreu. “When you lose your spot on a team, it should be because the other guy is better than you, but that’s not the case here. Why was I not given a chance to compete for the right-field job?”
Asked if life with the Yankees had been everything he might have expected, Sheffield answered flatly: “I will tell you that not everything is rosy in Yankeeland. It’s all a facade — it ain’t real.”
Sheffield was soon talking about Alex Rodriguez, who endured a tumultuous season. Sheffield said he was disappointed with the way “nobody on the team ever goes to bat for the guy.”
“When you have a teammate under fire like that, why would you keep your distance and just let people keep taking shots at him?” Sheffield said. “If it was anybody else, their teammates would have stood up for them.”
Asked if Derek Jeter, the Yankees’ captain, could have done more to help Rodriguez down the stretch of the season, Sheffield said: “I’m not naming names, it is what it is, but it tells you a lot about the situation here. I like Alex, but we have different personalities. He doesn’t fight back because he wants everyone to like him, but that doesn’t work here. I will not let anyone take shots at me like that.”
New York Post, 11/9/2006
Sheffield acknowledged he was Alex Rodriguez’s sounding board last season. Asked who would take his place, he answered, “Nobody,” a seeming shot at Derek Jeter and other team leaders.
“You all better get ready,” Sheffield said. “There’s nobody.”
Wow, the man is certainly a chatter-box. I will definitely miss his violent swing and itsy-bitsy mustache (too bad nobody asked how he did shaved it so sm all), but his attitude and his ego have got to go.
Let’s hope the lockerroom is a better place and his “replacement” (Abreu) is better than Sheff gives him credit.