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Sheffield’s Soundoff (You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me – 2nd Edition)

Posted by Matt on June 6, 2007

sheffield.jpg recapped a recent article in GQ magazine where Detroit Tiger’s designated hitter Gary Sheffield sounded off on the topics of African-Americans in the MLB:

“I called it years ago. What I called is that you’re going to see more black faces, but there ain’t no English going to be coming out. … [It’s about] being able to tell [Latin players] what to do — being able to control them.”

You’ve got to be kidding me.

First off, there “ain’t no English going to be coming out” of your mouth either, or at least not good English. Secondly, if by telling Latin players “what to do” you mean “coachable,” then the above picture of yourself might answer a few questions for you. Sheffield went on to finish his sociological dissertation with:

“Where I’m from, you can’t control us. You might get a guy to do it that way for a while because he wants to benefit, but in the end, he is going to go back to being who he is. And that’s a person that you’re going to talk to with respect, you’re going to talk to like a man. These are the things my race demands. So, if you’re equally good as this Latin player, guess who’s going to get sent home? I know a lot of players that are home now can outplay a lot of these guys.”

I would like a laundry list of the players Sheffield is talking about that are out of work but should be in the Majors because the Cincinnati Reds are in need of some help right now come to think of it.

All jokes aside, the lack of African-Americans in the MLB has nothing to do with flamboyant attitudes or not being able to tell African-American players what to do; owners will use anyone and everyone that they think will give them a better chance at winning a title. Why do you think teams keep taking a chance on Terrell Owens? He’s an African-American and has caused problems everywhere he has been but he has undeniable talent so teams pick him up, even against better judgment. And it goes both ways as Roger Clemens dictates when and where he will pitch, as well as when he will show up with the team and when he won’t, and Clemens is white. An unprecedented and often criticized setup, the New York Yankees still obliged because Clemens has undeniable talent.

It is clear to me that Sheffield did not put much thought in to these statements as I feel there is a simple answer to the so-called epidemic Gary speaks of:

The game of basketball.

If you want to know why African-American youth are playing basketball and not baseball, and the importance of this direction of focus, read Darcy Frey’s The Last Shot. Darcy outlines the importance of basketball to inner-city youth, mainly African-Americans, as being the only way out of the projects. Impoverished African-American boys do not grow up wanting to play baseball, and even if they did they would not have a place to play it or the means to do so. Inner-cities have one amenity, a basketball court, and playing the sport does not take much in the way of personal equipment. For youth in the projects, basketball, not baseball, is the one ticket out of a life of crime and drugs.

Furthermore, in the poorest of Central American communities, baseball is to Latin youth as basketball is to African-American youth. If you don’t believe me, read the article “Beyond Words” on Los Angeles Angel of Anaheim, Vladimir Guerrero, from a 2002 edition of ESPN The Magazine where Dan Le Batard outlines it all. Vlad grew up in the Dominican Republic without running water or electricity, drinking out of puddles and using an old milk carton as a baseball glove, perfecting his hand-eye coordination with a lime and a Guava tree branch.

“‘If I hadn’t been a big leaguer, I don’t know where I’d be right now,’ Guerrero says in Spanish. ‘I don’t know how to do anything else.'” – Vladimir Guerrero

Additionally, Gary, please do not act like whitey is holding you down in the sports world. According to The Detroit News during the 2004 seasons:

Percentage of the NBA that is African-American: 76%

Percentage of the NFL that is African-American: 69%

You do not see me complaining about there not being enough Caucasians in the NBA and then blaming race as the issue. I don’t complain about the lack of Caucasians in the NBA because I know why that is: lack of talent. Suburban white youth will never care enough to, or devote enough time to, basketball as a young African-American will in the heart of the ghetto. Rich white kids play baseball, on traveling Little League teams with the best equipment and two-parent families that go to every single game while Latin kids play baseball because it is their only way out; the same reason some African-Americans in inner-cities are playing basketball, not baseball.

There are obvious answers as to why there is a declining number of African-Americans in the MLB, but to chalk it up as a racial issue between the players and the management?

You’ve got to be kidding me.


2 Responses to “Sheffield’s Soundoff (You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me – 2nd Edition)”

  1. Charlie Hustle said

    In the Page 2 article about Gary Sheffield, Jeff Pearlman calls him a “moron” around 100 times, which is funny… but this is my favorite part of the story:

    It all started in Milwaukee back in the early 1990s, when Sheffield admitted to intentionally botching plays to express his unhappiness. (As Sheffield said in the Los Angeles Times in 1992:

    “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.”

    Which reminded me of other crazy players….

    Albert Belle (in response to his house getting egged by kids)…

    “As soon as he closes the door, we hear a bombardment of egg shells on my door (1995 Halloween ‘Incident’). So I come outside and chase them. As soon as I caught up with him, I slammed on the breaks and was jumping out of the car and was going to run after him. It was raining and it was kind of mucky back there. The truck kind of skidded , or whatever, and it slid and bumped him. He fell down and as soon as he fell down, he jumped back up and started running. I feel like I was targeted. It’s a shame where people target athletes. If they would have done the same thing to my next door neighbor and had my neighbor chased them, they wouldn’t have filed a report. I made a decision five years ago to live in a community and be involved in the community, and I never expected people to harass me.” – Associated Press (January 14, 1996)

    And one of the all-time greats:
    Ron Artest (lyrics from his album “My World”)

    “I admit I used to smoke before games.”

    “Hit the liquor store at halftime.”

    “David Stern! Damn, David Stern. I gotta teach you bout the ghetto there’s some things you should learn.”

    “Matt Lauer, up on NBC. You look like a girl don’t talk to me.”

    “If you work at Mickey D’s for now, you’re doing your thing. / If you ever got suspended from the league a whole year came back puttin up numbers, you’re doin your thing, that’s me, you know I’m talkin about myself.”

    “I don’t feel insane, the world is crazy”

    … clearly baseball isn’t the only sport to have crazy people in it.

    — Charlie Hustle

  2. Matt said


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