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Gary Sheffield: Big bat, Big mouth

Yankees star outfielder Gary Sheffield claims he was misquoted, even suggested he was outright lied about in a column that will hit the papers in the morning, which he was quoted as saying, “ I know who the leader is on the team. 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. 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”.

Gary Sheffield has been called many things by baseball pundits and fans alike, but never “leader”. There are numerous reasons one can cite as examples. This year alone, Sheffield has thrown a temper tantrum after rumors of a deal that would have sent him to the Mets for Mike Cameron. Would a leader suggest he’d make life difficult for his new team, basically telling any team interested in his services that he won’t play hard for them, “ you might as well not bother trading for me, cause you're gonna have a very unhappy player. You gonna inconvenience me, I'm gonna inconvenience every situation there .”

Yeah Gary, sounds like a candidate for Mr. Yankee to me. Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig would be proud.

Even though they weren’t mentioned by name, no doubt his comments in the interview were underhanded shots taken at Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriquez. Jeter is the definition of the word “team player”. Jeter gets the respect and admiration of teammates and the media for a reason, because he plays hard and doesn’t bitch and moan. Jeter has put his body on the line for this team throughout his career; he's encountered tougher critics than Gary Sheffield during his days as a Yankee, most notably Owner George Steinberenner. But, you don't hear about a majority of it. Why? Because Jeter wouldn’t have it that way. Jeter is more secure than that.

As far as trying to knock Rodriquez, A Rod has been the best overall player in the game for the past decade. He goes out and puts up huge numbers every year as far as we know without “accidentally” applying steroid cream to his legs. He came to the Yankees before the 2004 season and accepted a move to third base without whining about having to yield

to Jeter, who happens to play Rodriquez’s natural position at shortstop.

As usual, Sheffield wants to play the victim role. A spokeswoman for New York magazine, Serena Torrey, said: "New York magazine stands 100 percent behind Stephen Rodrick's story. The interview was audio taped." I’m sure if this becomes a bigger issue, the tapes will be released to the public. Sheffield even tried to play the race card, while trying to do damage control. If Sheffield made comments he now regrets, why not just apologize and move on? Sorry seems to be the hardest word for Sheff, he obviously prefers to play the blame game. Not surprising.

For Sheffield, it’s always been about Sheffield. Even when he was the highest paid Major Leaguer when he was with the San Diego Padres, he often ran straight to the media that he supposedly can’t stand every time he wanted to get his “woe is me’ message out to the public. Boston has “Manny being Manny”, this is just “Sheff being Sheff”. He was allegedly assured the article would be a positive piece. So, I guess Sheffield figured he could blast anyone or anything he felt necessary, but it would still be spun to put him in a positive light. Ooops!!!

Jeter and fellow “leader” Rodriquez laughed off Sheff’s comments, showing class and knowing that this situation could distract the team from the task at hand, overtaking Boston for the AL East lead and getting back into the playoffs. To them, it’s about restoring New York as perennial World Series contenders, for Sheffield it’s always been about “getting mine”. Now that his career is winding down, Sheffield figured his best way to get a ring would be to catch on with the team most likely to get there, much like guys that latched on to the LA Lakers and the Chicago Bulls during their title runs. Fortunately, most of those guys (even Dennis Rodman) knew who were the leaders of the pack.

When you put selfish guys in those kind of situations, this is what you get. But to Sheffield, that’s probably someone else’s fault too.

About the Author
John Onan is sports writer/moderator at the online players union and football contributor for

He is also available for freelance work
He can be reached at

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