Friday, March 16, 2007

Gary Sheffield: Civil Rights Hero. Leader of Men.

Let's break down Gary Sheffield's recent Page 2 interview FJM-style:

Alipour: From the feedback you've gotten, what is shaping up to be the most controversial revelation in the book?

Sheffield: I think it's actually my departure from the Yankees. People think I'm bitter and angry that I left, but I was just talking about the conditions of what went on.

When I think of Gary Sheffield, "bitter and angry" are the last adjectives that come to mind. He has a blissful serenity to the way he goes about his business. I think he might be the Dalai Lama in disguise.

Of course he's not bitter and angry...he got a huge contract extension from the Tigers, which is what he was after the whole time.

But I've played for teams that were family-oriented organizations. They made you feel like family. The Yankees are strictly a business. Baseball is your life and everything else is secondary.

Gary Sheffield is nothing if not a family man. I bet his family has loved living in seven different cities over the past 16 years, because Papa either leaves for more money elsewhere, or makes himself persona non grata until he's essentially forced out. Sheff's love for his family knows no bounds.

Alipour: You assign some blame to Joe Torre for the Yankees' quick ouster …

Sheffield: No, one thing I did not do is "blame." I might've said what's on my mind, but I don't blame anyone.

Alipour: Well, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but in the book, you criticize Torre …

Sheffield: See, that's not blaming. You show me where I blamed him.


Alipour: As time went on, you sought what you call "The Calmness." Have you finally found that calmness?

Sheffield: I found it. That's the thing. If you have that in you, nothing can trigger you. I might have dealt with things differently when I was, like, 25, but when I go through something now, I look at the source and deal with it accordingly.

Fuck, man, when I was 25, if Joe Torre had dared...nay, if he had even considered batting me 8th, I would have beaten the side of his face in with a bat like Al Capone. Now I just demand a trade, complain to the media all winter, and sob myself to sleep with a pint of Chubby Hubby. Whole new Sheff.

Alipour: You've got a reputation for expressing the brutal truth, so now that you've found The Calmness, do you have any specific regrets as a mature, calm adult?

Sheffield: Not at all. Because the rage was in me, and if it wasn't for the rage, then I wouldn't know how to be calm. They feed off of each other. Just like when Malcolm X fed off Martin Luther King. They needed each other.

For the record, Gary Sheffield just compared two of his imaginary personality traits to civil rights heroes. Sheff isn't just Malcolm or Martin, he's both, all rolled into one.

Alipour: In the book, you blamed race for some management decisions -- like when the Brewers moved you to third base so Billy Spiers could play your preferred position of shortstop...

Gary Sheffield made 12 errors in 70 games as a shortstop in 1989. Fucking racist Brewers. Why does Whitey want to "make outs" and "win baseball games"? Huh?

Alipour: But while working out with Bonds after the 2001 season, you wrote that you received some cream from his trainer Greg Anderson -- which you applied to some busted stitches -- and you also took some vitamins from Bonds, who got them from Anderson, who got them from BALCO head Victor Conte. Later, you made a check out to BALCO, linking you to this scandal forever. For the record, were those substances -- the vitamins and cream -- tainted? And if not, how can you be sure?

Sheffield: I know they weren't tainted. Tell me how rubbing something on me will make you feel any different? That's the most preposterous thing I've ever heard. Tell me this: Have you ever gone to a store and had a steroid-based cream put on you?

Alipour: Can't say that I have.

Sheffield: OK then, so are you on steroids?

Alipour: No.

Gary Sheffield has just blown my mind. Did you see that he just did there? He's like F. Lee Bailey, Perry Mason and Arnie Becker combined, but way more peaceful.

Alipour: What's the one thing you want readers to take away from this book?

Sheffield: That they'd see I'm a sincere person, a likable person, and if they got to know me, they'd like me. No doubt about it.

Some quotes from the likable Gary Sheffield:

  • "The Brewers brought out the hate in me. I was a crazy man. . . . I hated everything about the place. If the official scorer gave me an error, I didn't think was an error, I'd say, 'OK, here's a real error,' and I'd throw the next ball into the stands on purpose.' "
  • "It don't make a difference who it is. If I didn't choose to go there, things are gonna have to change about my whole situation, contract, years, everything. Other than that, 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 is. I mean, the only reason I'm playing is 'cause I wanna play for the Yankees."
  • "Only two, three pitchers have helped me out. The rest have been girls. They won't throw at anybody if you paid them. I've been thrown at in every park I've played in."
  • "Barry told me what I have to do to finish my career as a Hall of Famer. I want to end my career with the Atlanta Braves and be a Hall of Famer with the Atlanta Braves."